More is beginning to emerge about the comeback plan of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian arrives in Italy tomorrow for two weeks of physical training, evaluation and preparation.
“Our main target is to make sure that everything is okay from the physical point of view,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali. “We asked the FIA to make sure that there is no breach of the sporting and testing regulations. This gave us clearance to do the test. We will do it in Fiorano in a 2007 car, with GP2 tyres.”
This is the same as Michael Schumacher used for his physical evaluation test in July which ruled him out of contention for a comeback. Ferrari say that there is no point even asking the other teams for permission to test a 2009 car, as there is some friction at the moment between
Domenicali says that the tests are to see how Massa’s body reacts to being in an F1 car again. He says Massa will definitely not race in Brazil and classes Abu Dhabi “unlikely”.
“The main target is Bahrain (2010),” he said.
Keen to learn more about how Massa himself views these tests, I have spoken to my Brazilian colleagues and there is one in particular who is very well informed on Massa’s movements and plans.
He tells me that Massa is keen to race in Abu Dhabi. He will travel to Paris after the run on the simulator where he will be checked over by doctors, presumably Jean Todt’s friend Professor Gerard Saillant. if he gives him the all clear and the test in the 2007 car is okay, then Massa intends to ask Ferrari to let him race at Abu Dhabi.
He would still need to pass the FIA medical tests drivers returning from injury must go through.
My Brazilian colleague tells me that Massa is in very good shape, he had no brain trauma and his eyesight is 100%.
Judging from reaction to his comments about being ‘robbed’ of the championship due to the the Singapore crash scandal, and his harsh words for Piquet, he has lost a bit of sympathy, but perhaps this just shows his frustration at sitting on the sidelines, while F1 goes on.
He is a great competitor and it would be a very positive end to the season were he to get back into the cockpit of an F1 car.
Meanwhile there has been a lot of interest in how Massa will get on with his new team mate Fernando Alonso, given that the pair had a blazing row after the German Grand Prix in 2007. Asked how things stand now between them after that incident Massa said,
“Life is like that. Sometimes you can argue with someone and then the person apologises and life goes on. There is no problem at all.”