Felipe Massa says he heads into the winter feeling more optimistic about his future in wake of his strong end to the season.
The Brazilian managed to turn his 2012 completely around from mid-season onwards and earn a one-year contract renewal at Ferrari just months after speculation had suggested he was almost certain to lose his long-held seat for 2013.
And Massa, who capped a 10-race points-finishing sequence with a podium at his home season-ending grand prix at Interlagos, has now admitted that in the early phase of the season he spent too much time worrying about whether or not his deal would be extended.
"In the first half of the year, I was worried about renewing my contract," he said.
"I did not think that Ferrari would really wait right to the end of the summer before deciding on the driver line-up for next year. It's true that ever since I've been at Maranello, there have always been rumours about me: already in my first year there was a list of drivers who were supposed to take my place and it was the same this year, with a lot of names and plenty of speculation.
"At the start, I paid too much attention to these things, but then, in August, I told myself I should only think about racing and having fun and so I began to really drive, to have the right feeling with the car and to drive as quickly as I know how."
Although the rumour mill over his future is likely to swing back in action once again after the early races of 2013, Massa insists he is feeling confident about his own career and the direction Ferrari is going in in general.
"Now I feel very strong and the results were there to see in the last nine races: so I am optimistic for the future, mine and Ferrari's," he added.