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Massa opposed to salary cap

FELIPE Massa is against cutting Formula One drivers' salaries in an effort to save money during the global financial downturn, Ferrari's Brazilian driver said yesterday.

Formula One teams and the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) have agreed a package of measures, including a ban on testing during the season and affordable engines for independent teams, to slash outgoings from this season.

A salary cap for drivers has not yet been suggested but shedding staff may be on the agenda for all teams.

"For sure I'm not happy if they cut my salary," last season's runner-up told a news conference at Ferrari's ski retreat in Italy.

"We just need to work hard because in Formula One we know we have a lot of engineers and people. First we have to look at areas where we can cut the money, not kicking people out. This is a priority."

Honda has pulled out of Formula One because of the global economic crisis and is running out of time to find a buyer for its team ahead of the season-opening grand prix in Australia on March 29.

Massa, who lost the world title last year to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by a point, said new rules this year could make the season wide open.

Cars have new aerodynamic designs to boost overtaking, slick tires have returned and the kinetic energy recover system (KERS) will take time for drivers to get used to.

"Everyone starts from zero. Maybe Lewis will be the main competitor, maybe not," he said. "When so many things change, it may change. Some teams could go backwards, big teams could start well. It's difficult to say. But McLaren, BMW and Renault will be competitive."

Despite finishing second last year, Massa has been given car No. 4 by the FIA for this season while teammate Kimi Raikkonen has No. 3 despite the 2007 world champion having a disappointing campaign last year.

Massa tried to play down the significance but was a little aggrieved.

"It means nothing, numbers are just numbers but maybe the FIA has made a mistake," he said. "It doesn't make a difference. It's important we both have good cars."

Renault's double world champion Fernando Alonso has been continually linked with a move to Ferrari in the media.

Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport has said a secret deal has been agreed for the Spaniard to join in 2011 after Raikkonen and teammate Felipe Massa's current contracts run out.

"I have a contract for this year and next. I don't worry about speculation. I don't have pressure from the outside," Raikkonen said.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali, who affectionately said the shy Raikkonen "lived on his own planet," would not be drawn on the reports.


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