Formula 1

Ferrari driver denies being second to Fernando Alonso

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Massa believes he is on an equal footing with Fernando Alonso (©GettyImages)
Massa believes he is on an equal footing with Fernando Alonso (©GettyImages).

Felipe Massa has denied ever signing for Ferrari to be a number two in the team as he prepares for his final races with the team.

Brought in to replace Rubens Barrichello in 2006, Massa played second fiddle to Michael Schumacher in his first year before having a more equal footing with Kimi Raikkonen.

However, with the arrival of Fernando Alonso the Brazilian seemingly slipped back into the back-up role for the Spaniard.

Recently it emerged that such contracts dictating a clear 'number 1' and 'number 2' had existed with Nelson Piquet deemed the first driver at Lotus with Saturo Nakajimi his understudy as it were, the Japanese even signed a code of conduct.

While that was back in the 1980's Massa denied such a contract was given to him at Ferrari believing those kind of contracts were now not used in F1.

"There are provisions (in the contracts) for you to serve the team, and not do anything that goes against what the team wants," he is quoted as saying on motorsport.com.

"But I think that is a clause in every driver's contract," added Massa, who has lost his seat at Ferrari for 2014 to former teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

"I never had any clause in any contract defining who is the first or the second driver," he said.

The Brazilian, who has been gaining sponsorship for a drive in 2014, is being linked with drives at Lotus and Sauber where he would certainly be guaranteed at least an equal footing.

One driver who could have replaced him is promising young Frenchman Jules Bianchi. The 24-year-old has impressed in his first F1 season and has now been confirmed as a Marussia driver for 2014.

Bianchi, who is a product of Ferrari's young driver program, has easily out-paced his British team-mate Max Chilton and with Ferrari coming on board as engine supplier a new contract was expected.

Marussia team boss John Booth has described working with Bianchi as a "great pleasure" adding: "He rose to the challenge of his debut season exceptionally well and since that time has clearly demonstrated his ability and potential.

Booth confirmed the announcement of who will partner Bianchi will be made later in the season with young McLaren prodigy Kevin Magnussen being mentioned as a possible Chilton replacement.

The 20-year-old has followed the same route as Lewis Hamilton and is on course to claim the well-respected Formula Renault 3.5 series title beating other F1 hopefuls such as Antonio Felix da Costa.

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Formula 1
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