Felipe Massa says he will have to produce better performances to keep his place at Ferrari for another year.
“The results will decide whether I stay here or move teams,” he told Autosport.
So far this year Massa has scored 61 points to Alonso’s 133. However he believes he can still retain his place at the team.
“The possibility to stay is there, but the most important thing is the results,” he said. “I’m happy with the way I’m driving in terms of pace – in qualifying and race pace.”
Massa’s performances have not compared favourably with those of other drivers in top teams. From 2010 to 2012 he scored less than half of team mate Fernando Alonso’s points tally – 48.8%. In comparison Mark Webber scored two-thirds of Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel’s points during the same period.
Massa, who has driven for Ferrari since 2006, is yet to win a race since returning from injury at the beginning of 2010 – though he was ordered to give up a win to Alonso in Germany that year.
His future has been a persistent source of speculation due to his wavering performances, which improved at the end of last season but tailed off early this year. He suffered two high-speed crashes in Monaco and spun out of the German Grand Prix after just three laps.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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