Ferrari added to the pressure on Felipe Massa on Monday by highlighting how poorly the Brazilian has performed this season and making clear that they expected him to shift up a gear in Monaco next week. Massa has not been on the Formula One podium since 2010 and has scored just two points from five races this season. The 2008 season overall runner-up collected a drive-through penalty in Spain on Sunday and ended up 15th.
Massa's Spanish team-mate Fernando Alonso won in Malaysia, finished second at his home race in Barcelona and is level with Red Bull's double world champion Sebastian Vettel at the top of the standings with 61 points. Ferrari's official website compared their relative performances at the same stage in 2011 and 2010.
"Fernando has always maintained a very high level (67 points and second place in 2010, 51 and fifth place last year) while Felipe's drop off has made itself felt," it said. "The Brazilian had picked up 49 points two years ago and 24 the following year, while so far this season he has just two. In Montmelo (Barcelona), Felipe was very unlucky, both in the race and in qualifying, but everyone, he more than anyone, is expecting a change of gear starting right away with the Monaco Grand Prix," added the website.
Massa has not been on the Formula One podium since 2010 and has scored just two points from five races this season.
Massa lives in Monaco, which hosts the sixth round of the season. He has never won in the principality, with third place in 2007 and 2008 his best results there. Alonso won with Renault and McLaren in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
"We expect Felipe to react and fight back after this unlucky weekend, starting in Monaco," team boss Stefano Domenicali said after Sunday's race. "We absolutely need his points to also fight for the constructors' title."
Ferrari are fourth overall, 21 points behind third-placed Lotus and 46 adrift of champions Red Bull, after starting the season with a car whose performance was some way off their rivals' pace.
Domenicali spoke also of the inspirational example of Manchester City's Italian manager Roberto Mancini, whose club won the Premier League title with two stoppage-time goals on Sunday. "You always have to believe you can do it, even when the evidence has you believe the contrary," he said. "Last night I watched the replay of the football matches involving the two Manchester sides and saw the determination with which Roberto Mancini continued to exhort his guys even when the situation seemed lost. It was an example for everyone involved in sport."