Against all the odds, Felipe Massa lurched back from the brink in the latter stages of 2012 to save not only his Ferrari seat but also arguably his Formula 1 career.
For much of last season it had appeared a question of when and not if the affable Brazilian's stay at Maranello would be ended after a miserable start to the year piled pressure on his shoulders like never before.
But, as they had loyally done in all of his previous six seasons at the team, Ferrari's management remained steadfast behind Massa despite frenzied speculation over possible replacements. The driver ultimately rewarded them with a strong end to the season, which helped Ferrari beat McLaren to second place in the Constructors' Championship.
It means the now 31-year-old will continue to occupy to occupy one of F1's two most famous, and revered, cockpits for an eighth straight season, extending a relationship with Ferrari which stretches right back to his very first steps at the top level.
A very wet-behind-the-ears Massa initially joined the F1 grid with Ferrari's long-time engine customers Sauber in 2002 but his fast-but-erratic style failed to impress more often than not.
After a year spent at Ferrari finishing school in a test role, a more rounded Brazilian was loaned back to Sauber for two further seasons before his big chance came in 2006 when Jean Todt chose him to succeed Rubens Barrichello as Michael Schumacher's team-mate.
The Brazilian performed more than admirably after a slow start to the season and was soon challenging the title-chasing Schumacher in both qualifying and races. He claimed two victories - in Turkey and Brazil - with the latter seeing him become the first Brazilian since Ayrton Senna to win the Sao Paulo race.
Schumacher's first retirement was followed by the arrival of the similarly high-profile Kimi Raikkonen for 2007 and while the Finn clinched that year's title, in 2008 it was Massa who emerged as Ferrari's number one driver.
Overcoming a poor start to the year, he emerged in the hunt for a first crown at the season-ending Brazilian GP and was only denied when Lewis Hamilton made ground on a dramatic final lap.
The Brazilian began 2009 in disappointing fashion with Ferrari off the pace but his season ended during qualifying for the Hungarian GP when he was hit on the helmet by a spring that had broken loose from Barrichello's car, knocking him unconscious and sending him hurtling into the barriers.
With Massa's life hanging in the balance, he was taken to a Budapest hospital for emergency surgery having suffered skull fractures.
Massa was placed in a medically induced coma as doctors waited for the swelling to subside before he was finally able to leave hospital 10 days after the accident. He came back in steady fashion in 2010 but was forced to play a supporting role alongside new team-mate Fernando Alonso, culminating in the infamous 'Fernando is faster than you' message in Germany, where he meekly handed over the lead.
Massa continued with Ferrari in 2011 but slipped even further into Alonso's shadow, failing to reach the podium all season and making contact with Hamilton no fewer than six times, resulting in some lurid headlines.
His start to 2012 proved similarly depressing, particularly in Malaysia where he finished 15th while Alonso won the race from Ferrari's young protégé Sergio Perez.
At that stage, replacement mid-season even seemed a possibility. However, despite scoring a mere 11 points in the opening eight rounds, Massa gradually got to grips with the F2012 and from Hungary onwards he finished in the points at every race.
His long-awaited return to the podium in Japan was the result which signalled that Ferrari would renew his contract for another year and his campaign - which included 'taking one for the team' when Ferrari took a tactical gearbox penalty on his car to aid Alonso in Austin - finished on a high when he finished an emotional third on home soil in Brazil.
The prevailing thought is that 2013 will merely prove a stay of execution, but Massa has been written off more than once before.