Felipe Massa says that he got a thumbs up from his visit to top motor sport doctor Steve Olvey in Florida this weekend. He is to be allowed to resume training after a small medical procedure in the next few days. But a statement from Ferrari suggests that he will be training for a return in 2010, not this season.
“I’m very happy with the outcome of the exams,” Massa said. “After the small surgery that I will have done in the next few days I can finally start working out a little in the gym to get back in form, and then I can start some kart training.
“When will I be back on a Formula One track? Let’s take one step at a time. Right now I’m just focused on starting physical activity again, which is already a big step forward.”
As far as I know the operation he needs is to replace a section of the frontal lobe of his skull, on the left side above his eyebrow, about two inches by an inch, which was removed when he had his original surgery. It is apparently quite a simple procedure, to replace it with a carbon plate or similar, but there is a mandatory 20 day recovery period afterwards.
Although Massa is not saying when he expects to be driving again, one of the main purposes of his visit was to establish a date, so that Ferrari can make a decision on what it does driver-wise for the remainder of this season and next. Team boss Stefano Domenicali said on Sunday that he would be announcing his plans in three days, which is tomorrow (Wednesday).
The tone of Ferrari’s reaction to today’s news implies that they do not expect to see Massa in a car again this season, “Obviously, the results of examination has been warmly welcomed in Maranello, in the sense that the team can count on Felipe 100% for the start of next season,” it said.
Today’s development makes it more likely that the team will now call on the services of Spa pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella, with Tonio Liuzzi stepping up to a race seat at Force India.