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F1 NEWS 

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali promises to protect Felipe Massa from pressure surrounding tough 2012

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheim, 2012Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has promised to protect Felipe Massa from any pressure surrounding his tough 2012 season.

The Brazilian has endured a torrid campaign so far, languishing 14th in the standings, 131 points behind his team-mate and the world championship leader Fernando Alonso.

Massa's future has been the subject of intense speculation, which increased two weeks ago when Mark Webber admitted that he had spoken with Ferrari before deciding to renew his contract with Red Bull for 2012.

But after another race to forget for Massa in Germany, where he came home 12th after a first lap accident, Domenicali said that the team was still fully behind its number two driver.

"We want to support Felipe 100 per cent," he said. "We want to express that we are all together as a team and a family at the moment.

"In Silverstone we saw Felipe was close to Fernando, so that's why we need to believe in the fact that Felipe can do the right job for the team.

"That is why we have always said there is no pressure. We want him to realise that he is a part of us, and we will protect him in all conditions. And I am sure that he will give back what the team is giving him."

When asked if the speculation surrounding his future could be playing a part in Massa's troubled season, Domenicali said that Ferrari would not hurry to resolve the matter.

"We said from the beginning that we have no rush," he said. "It doesn't change our approach. Now is not the time to discuss the future."

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