News emerged this afternoon that Felipe Massa has signed a contract with Ferrari for 2013. This announcement had been expected, due to a combination of other developments in the driver market, and a general improvement in Massa's performances of late.
I am pleased at this decision for several reasons, not least because Massa always comes across as a decent fellow, and he has toiled admirably and without complaint to improve his displays as this season has progressed. Despite intense speculation linking several other drivers with a place alongside Fernando Alonso next season, the interest in those potential replacements from Ferrari themselves seemed lukewarm at best, if it indeed truly existed in the first place.
The list of credible candidates to occupy the number two seat at Maranello was hardly overwhelming, in all honesty, after interest in Sergio Perez cooled and he opted for McLaren. Of those linked, who could be guaranteed to perform the allotted task with the same expertise as Massa? Better to retain that stability and continuity, rather than take a risk.
Of course, the fact that Massa's contract is for 2013 only will strengthen the talk of Sebastian Vettel joining the team for the following season, although that particular story may still have some distance to travel, who knows?