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Massa passes crucial medical tests
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Massa passes crucial medical tests
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Oct 2009   |  5:45 am GMT  |  18 comments

Felipe Massa came through the first day of medical tests in Paris yesterday, with the doctors confirming that his eyesight has not be affected by the accident he suffered in July when he was hit in the forehead with a 700 gramme metal spring.

“Today Felipe Massa started a series of neurological and ophthalmological exams by the FIA at the Pitié Salpetrière hospital in Paris, ” announced Ferrari, “Part of the Brazilian driver’s recovery programme after the accident in Budapest on 25 July. Today’s exams ended at 7:30pm and will restart tomorrow afternoon. The first outcomes are positive: especially the ophthalmological exam confirmed that Felipe, who arrived with his personal doctor Dino Altmann, has recovered the functions of his left eye by 100%.

The medical tests continued on Saturday and Massa was given the all clear on the neurological side. He has been cleared to get back behind the wheel again.

Massa answers fans' questions (Photo: Ferrari)

Massa answers fans' questions (Photo: Ferrari)


The way is now clear for him to test out his body’s reaction to being back in a Formula 1 car again and on Monday he will drive the F2007 Ferrari at Fiorano, with further tests at Mugello in the offing. It is now up to Massa himself and Ferrari whether he races again this season.

Massa has already admitted that his chances of taking part in the final race in Abu Dhabi are very small, but he is going through the rehabilitation process nevertheless. He accepts that, despite his desperation to get back to competition, racing when not fully fit again carries reputational risks which are not necessary at this stage.

Even if he does not race at the end of this he will have given Ferrari confidence that he can return at 100% next season and he will have gone through a crucial exercise in getting his feet back under the table before the arrival of Fernando Alonso.

“I hope that I’ll be back soon, but I also know that the best thing is that I’m coming back 100% at the start of the next season,” Felipe wrote in a live webchat on the Ferrari website on Thursday. “My dream would be to race in Abu Dhabi, but the possibility is really, really low…”

Asked about having Alonso as a team mate he replied, “I’m sure that with Alonso we’ll form a great team and we’ll work together very well. The goal will be very simple: winning,”

I asked McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh the other day what advice he would give Ferrari on how to manage Alonso and he said with a huge grin, “As long as he’s winning I’m sure everything will be fine…”

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18 Comments
  1. James Smith says:

    The comment from Whitmarsh made me chuckle.

    I think we’re going to see sparks fly next year between Massa / Alonso.

    I also cant help but be impressed by the way Ferrari stage manage everything, with Massa dressed in red in every photo!

  2. jose says:

    Good news for the fans, not so good for alonso. Massa coming back at 100%, will give fernando some headaches during the first races, mostly in qualifying. Alonso’s weakest point, and massa’s strongest, even though he says that this last two years made him a better qualifier. we’ll see if he is right.
    Interesting witmarsh coment. but alonso is a little wiser than in 2007, and he will manage the situation better at ferrari, he was too young during the mclaren years. I am sure the mclaren years, at least tought him that.

  3. Buck says:

    I’ve been a Ferrari fan as long as I’ve been an F1 fan; when I was a kid just becoming aware of F1, Gilles Villeneuve was shredding it up in a Ferrari.

    At the time Ferrari was SEX. The brand simply oozed sexiness. Everything they did was sexy, because they did it in exotic style. Sexy red cars, the aura of Italian passion, and the hell-bent-for-leather reputation of their drivers like Villeneuve and Lauda.

    And then…….Schumacher arrived. True, Schumi gave Ferrari a lot of wins, but it was rarely sexy. Schumi was a great racer, but sexy? Forget it. Schumacher is as sexy as granny underpants. With the exception of his proclivities towards stretching or even breaking the rules, Michael was always too workman-like.

    Never the less, Ferrari somehow decided that winning equated sexiness, no matter how un-stylish a manner in which it was achieved. So Schumi thrived. What a bore Ferrari and F1 in general was in the Schumi era to us who were drawn to Ferrari and F1 for it’s raw passion and sex appeal. TOTALLY UNSEXY. Many of us F1 and Ferrari fans were glad to see that robot finally go.

    Räikkönen was to be the next generation of old-school sexy Ferrari stars to stoke the imagination of Ferrari fans, an anti-hero that is as slow to open up personally as he is fast on the track. Many of us Ferrari fans hoped Kimi was going to usher in a new age of Ferrari sexiness that mirrored the old legends of old, and put the dull Schumacher years, no matter how successful, in the rear mirror for good.

    But alas, times have changed too much. To most F1 business people, the romantic ideal of the lone wolf strapping himself into a car, perhaps to send himself to his death in an attempt to win a race or find some sort of personal salvation is long gone.

    What has replaced this is an era dominated by dullard racers who calculate every moment so thoroughly that there is little room for the wild abandon of days gone past. There is simply too much (namely money) at stake. And here we fans all naively thought auto racers are the ultimate gamblers.

    So is it such a surprise that Kimi is being replaced by Alonso? Despite being one of the purely fastest racers to ever sit in a Formula 1 car, Kimi will never totally fit into the new corporate F1 paradigm. He simply thinks too much about his time behind the wheel, and not near enough about his time in front of the cameras. And so we have been witness to the embarrassing public spectacle of an exciting world champion being prematurely set aside to make room for another Schumi style robot.

    In this regard, Alonso will not disappoint. He’s a good racer but an even better polished media professional. But will he make Ferrari look sexy? Hardly. Snore. Pass the Viagra.

    Now that Räikkönen is gone, I guess I am now officially an ex-Ferrari fan. I will look for my sexiness elsewhere.

    1. Janet says:

      Excellent Mate!!!! Loved it…..

    2. Silverstoned says:

      Good one. My sentiments almost exactly. Bye beautiful wonderful red, it’s back to slinky silver from here on..

    3. Chris says:

      I said the same thing a couple of articles ago but some dude shot me down in flames [mod]. I’m glad to see that someone thinks the same thing I do about Kimi and the Ferrari brand. Not so sexy anymore.

    4. Drex says:

      Your article is really intersting.
      I have been having similar thoughts, but along different lines.

      Mine was what kind of Ferrari driver is a real Ferrari Pilot or legend.
      Is Ferrari emotion or is winning everything?? During the last years of Enzo Ferrari the team were not so strong but full of emotion especially Bergers 1-2 after his death at Monza.

      Is Michael Schumacher a real Ferrari legend?? Winning at all cost, determined to simply win??
      Yes.
      But is he a traditional Ferrari Pilot. Is he emotion, with the heart, Alesi, Pironi…

      I would say no, that falls to Felipe Massa.

      1. Buck says:

        Massa definitely has some Brazilian passion, but let’s not forget he is still Schumacher’s protégé.

    5. A. N. Other says:

      To “Buck” :

      Sir, this is the best post I’ve ever read on this blog’s
      comments section. All the rest of the posts pale in
      comparison, though there have been many fine posts.

      How sad and pathetic that Ferrari have overlooked what is the very essence of what makes a Ferrari a Ferrari. Perhaps that’s because for several decades now, a Ferrari has been nothing more than the high-end offering of FIAT. I’ve heard
      several old-line Ferrari mechanics share this opinion, in case you might believe it’s merely my own.

      Enzo himself should be rattling his own bones over how far things at Ferrari have strayed from what matters in one of the few great sports on earth.

      I for one hope with great passion that Kimi returns to show Ferrari the way home, both literally and figuratively.

    6. C Lin says:

      Great post Buck!
      One of the BEST I have read in this blog.
      Thumbs up!

      1. Rory H says:

        i’m with you buck!

    7. Martin Collyer says:

      A bit late perhaps, but I want to join in the congrats to you Buck, you have got it spot-on.

    8. Mario says:

      I agree to everything you said. Ferrari nowadays is nothing more than a brand polishing institution. What only matters to Ferrari is it’s NAME and the money it makes. No one mentions the word “sport” anymore, and even if they do they no longer remember what it means. A fearless knight, riding a tireless horse, winning trophies in a straight fight (I am slightly exaggerating here) is very much a thing of the past.
      And that is the image more or less through the whole of F1. So, you are leaving Ferrari and…? Where do you go?

  4. Mark A. Stephens says:

    Looking forward to Felipe back in the car, I was on the chat the other night and it was good to see Felipe responding to us Tifosi and all of our millions of questions! IMHO Ferrari will do very good this coming year and I am quite sure Felipe and Fernando will get along like brothers. I just wish Felipe could come back this season before the break!

  5. Richard says:

    Buck, don’t think Ferrari will miss you.

    1. Buck says:

      Ha ha. You’re probably right. But then again, how many more people is there out there like me who are going to turn their backs on Ferrari. Can they afford to lose them too?

  6. Darren says:

    James,how highly do you rate mass.And how do you think he will do against Alonso.

  7. vicweir says:

    Re. Whitmarsh’s comment that all will be well at Ferrari as long as Alonso is winning, I really can’t understand how anyone can see FA as merely a robot for the publicity department!! My memories of 2007 are anything but that.

    But additionly, Whitmarsh, presumably wilfully, disregards the pleasantries with which other World Champions have greeted rivals into the team camp! It’s against all F1 nature.

    I am surprised that Ferrari have dumped Raikkonen in favour of Massa and not at all confident that the latter will be the happy bunny so many seem to think he is.

    And Fernando? The on- track swerves towards the pit desk when angry with the team, the removal of doors from hinges (if true), dancing on the bonnet (which mr Ecclestone et al found “undignified” as well as a health & safety hazard, if you can believe it!), furious scowls from behind dark glasses at the media, card tricks, a double world champion.What else can you ask for? And sexy? Well,you should have been reading the Renault F1 blogs over the past two years.

    I am sorry we won’t see Kimi and Fernando in the same team – that would have been something special.

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