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Ferrari president: We'll challenge for the title next year
Luca di Montezemolo believes Felipe Massa’s return to form will mean trouble for McLaren, Mercedes and champions Red Bull.

FELIPE MASSA’S REVIVAL towards the end of 2012 could set Ferrari up for next season’s Formula One world championship, according to president Luca di Montezemolo.

Massa was under the pump for most of the this year as he struggled for points but picked up seven top-six finishes in the last nine grands prix of the 2012 F1 season.

Despite rumours throughout the season that Ferrari would replace Massa, the 31-year-old Brazilian signed a new contract in October and helped the Italian team claim second in the F1 constructors’ championship, which earned him praise from di Montezemolo.

“I don’t know where you went in the first part of the year but I am very pleased you came back,” di Montezemolo said to Massa during his speech at Ferrari’s Christmas party.

“It meant we were able to finish ahead of major teams in the constructors’ classification but it is also important for next year.”

Massa agreed with Ferrari’s president that his improvement towards the end of this year will help him launch into 2013.

“The second part (of this season) was very different,” Massa said.

“I was more competitive and I managed to get back to the way I was before. Now I am more motivated than ever.

“The second part of the season was like a training session for next year.”

Di Montezemolo also challenged his team’s staff to provide a much-better car to Fernando Alonso and Massa in 2013.

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Ferrari’s drivers were widely considered to be driving an inferior machine to that of Red Bull and Mercedes during this year’s F1 campaign.

“In 2013 the aim, not just for me but for all of you, is to immediately have a car that’s capable of winning,” di Montezemolo said.

“We must all do a little bit more to achieve that but without losing any of the plus points we demonstrated this year, starting with reliability.

“We can be pleased with the improvements we have made on the strategy front, at the pit stops and in our race preparation and we must maintain these strong points next year.”

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