Street Fight
Monte Carlo 2018
Monaco Grand Prix
Massa in good shape, but unlikely to race this year
Massa in good shape, but unlikely to race this year
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Sep 2009   |  7:39 pm GMT  |  69 comments

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.

Massa -  back in 2010. Photo: Darren Heath

Massa - back in 2010. Photo: Darren Heath

“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.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

It’s official, Fisi is in the 2nd F60 for the remainder of 2009.

Intersting quote from Vijay Mallya as well:

“Furthermore the agreement will secure Giancarlo’s long-term future with Ferrari and it would be incorrect to jeopardise this”

Long-term future with Ferrari? Is Fisi to be their new test driver? Are Ferrari hedging their bets in case Massa isn’t fit next year and they don’t find out until they’ve announced their line-up..?? I’m sure James will pick up on it when he writes about it.


Gidday, I’m pleased to get the feeling that there is strong support for Kimi from you guys! My belief is that Kimi is equally gifted as Hamilton, and given a fair chance (car design, team backing, and an engineer who can analize Kimi’s requirements and transfer them to the team/car) he can be at the front of the grid on regular bassis. I like his personallity, but meybe because he dose’nt crawl to the team for special treatment, his comunication suffers. Anyway I wish him well and a long F1 career!!!

Regards, PK.


You all should talk with Jacky Eeckelaert (Kimi’s first F1 engineer) and developed this years Brawn GP…

Best drivers on grid are Kimi, Ham, Alonso and Vettel…no massa! He needs to much support.

Kimi is for him the quickest of all…He said that after Kimi’s first test with Sauber that Schumi came to him and said…He’s very very very quick…where you find him??


Hi James

Massa is missed and we all look forward to his return next year. As for this year, its hard not to get the feeling that we have entered into a tallest dwarf competition. Being a world champion really means entry into a very exclusive club. In the last 20 years I can only think of 2 drivers that maybe snuck in (Hill and Villeneuve). Whoever wins the championship this year has failed to put on the performance of a worthy world champion. While Vettel has the talent to be a WC he is still a bit to green and as a result makes too many errors. Button’s performance relative to RB has really gone down post Silverstone. JB, RB and MW – have all failed to put on the performances of a deserving WC this year. This years champion will certainly not be one of the greats.



The championship, like a football season is spread by a number of months and whoever has the most points wins. Yes, JB, SV,RB & MW are faltering, but that only makes me want to whatch more. Think back to 2003 & 2004 when Michael wone at a canter, we were then being told that “F1 is boring”, now we have competition, we start asking if the winner of the WDC is worthy. Had JB’s form continued, I suspect you would be saying that F1 is too predictable. None of these guys are next Schumacher,Senna or Prost, but let them have their day in the sun.

Paige Michael-Shetley

Firstly, the driver with the most points at the end of the season is the worthy champion. Period.

Secondly,. why do people always denigrate Damon Hill? He was a bloody good driver. Sure, he won the championship in the best car on the grid, but name a champion who didn’t? He almost won a race in a bloody Arrows, and he did win a race in a bloody Jordan. He was second only to Schumacher in the wet during his time. Hill stepped up to the plate and led Williams for three great years after Senna’s death, which was an event that very well could have destroyed the team. Williams made a monumental mistake by dumping him and giving Villeneuve number one status, and it’s no coincidence that they were never the same after Hill left. (Of course, Adrian Newey left as well, but still.)


Good point double-barrel guy. Hill was often unfairly criticised for being an average driver in a great car, but his best drives were up there with the sport’s true greats – Suzuka ’94, a terrific drive in the wet where he outraced the rain meister, Japan ’96 where he was peerless under immense pressure pre-race, Hungary ’97 where he led in a car that no business being anywhere near the front and Spa ’98, where he kept his head where all around him were losing theirs. Frentzen’s woeful displays in ’97 showed how wrong Williams were to ditch him.


I think that’s a valid point – and I love the analogy – but F1 has always thrown up such years from time to time, either between ‘eras’ or when the greats stumble. Looking back, quite a few of the single champions fall into this category. The winner, though, is the man leading at the end.


The feeling amongst a certain section of F1 fans is that Santander’s money is gifting Alonso the seat at Ferrari. F1 is a sport but is an extremely expensive sport at that one. Its technology and resource driven and one needs strong financial backing to be successful. Santander joined McLaren when Alonso arrived, but I don’t think it would be fair to say that the lure of Santander’s money compelled McLaren to hire Alonso. The deal between Alonso and McLaren was done at the end of 2005, when he became the youngest WDC. Alonso is great, great driver, but as I have always maintained that Kimi is in the same league as well. Ferrari should look for a rational move and keep Kimi and Alonso. Kimi doesn’t play politics (like the Hamiltons did in 2007) and Alonso will never get to say that the team is favouring Kimi (as he did in 2007 with Hamilton). It will be a great contest, a fair and square one. They both respect each other, are world champions, have different personalities which don’t conflict and know racing better than anybody else on the grid.

Coming back to Santander topic I mentioned earlier, it is bit saddening to think that money is influencing the move for Alonso. For one, Alonso is driver which any team would want because of his driving and his talent. Second, there is certain sense of corruption when money is mixed with sports. A sport should not be equated in terms of money or business. Sports are driven by passion, the pursuit of perfection in the craft and displaying physical and mental prowess of humans at their best levels.


Don’t forget leadership in all of this. A team needs a strong leader in the cockpit. Ferrari had a great leader for many years and it’s that as much as his consistency at a high level which the team is looking for from Alonso, in my view.



Could you see Alonso sharing #1 status with Kimi at Ferrari?, I’m not too sure about that one! Renault have from the outside, always appeared to favour a #1 & #2 driver system and this is when Fernando operates best. Ferrari appear to trying to be even-handed with their drivers, but they just looked more of a solid unit in the Schumacher days, when Michael was the leader. Alonso needs a quick partner like a hole in the head, so I can’t see Kimi being a good fit for the team as a whole. However I do think that Alonso would take Ferrari to another level.


I completely agree with you James. When I mentioned ‘talent’, I meant to include this as well. Thanks for explicitly mentioning it in your reply.

However, my only concern is how Massa and Alonso will gel. Massa,in the beginning of the season made comments elevating himself to the status of a team leader. He said that since Kimi is not very social and enthusiastic, the team looks up to him for inspiration. He feels like a team leader. I think he didn’t fet a response from Kimi because Kimi doesn’t care about such things. However, I am not quite sure Alonso will let this go by just as a harmless comment.

And also, now with Alonso in the picture, I am sure Massa will feel a bit threatened towards his status in the team. From the outside, though Massa seems like a nice person, he seems a bit arrogant and conceited in his disposition. Maybe you could share with us what you think on this particular point.

There could be disruptions in Ferrari with Massa and Alonso, though not to the scale we witnessed during 2007 in McLaren; Alonso would have learnt from that experience and should tailor his attitude and outward disposition to be able to manage the situation. But at the core of the situation, it will not be as synergistic as it would be if Alonso and Kimi are paired.


I think Alonso will instantly intimidate Massa…. Whereas now I think you are correct that the team is more or less built aroudn Massa and Kimi is ok with that.


Stefano said today they would announce the driver for Monza… Today is almost done in Italy… Wonder what is going on?


It’s a tough call…

I would keep Massa and keep Kimi for the next year… then hook Alonso in 2011… otherwise the Sanatander money will be going to buy out Kimi’s contract?

Badoer is a nice guy but is wasting constructors points so i would get Liuzzi in, Fisi would be being a bit of a git to swap cars for a few races and then return in my opinion… but being Italian… I can see the pull would be amazing if it is indeed there?


I think Kimi and Massa both lose out with this news…. Raikkonen because he is losing his seat to Alonso and with almost no doubt the team will now be Alonso’s, especially with Massa most likely not being as fast as before… remember a tenth of a sesond off can drop you 2 or 3 spots on the grid, it does not take a lot. then all wil say “see how great FA is, Kimi could never do this to Massa”

The problem for Massa is that the team treated him and Kimi equal if not a little pro Massa, that will most likely be gone when Alonso arrives. I am sure Massa would prefer Kimi there to keep the show even and get him extra attention.

Lest we forget, Santander is set to bring 10’s of millions per year to Ferrari and that is something neither Massa or Kimi can do sponsor wise.


Yes but Massa has been a Ferrari memeber for 10 years, that counts for more than any contract and money.

With the more “support” to Massa- who was provided with 3 different frame chassis after Hungary, RAIKKONEN. who was FASTER MASSA.


He’s a racer, and if he makes a full recovery he’ll be back and he’ll be fast.

Miraculous returns that immediately spring to mind.

Hakkinen,Lauda,Sheene and Doohan.

I doubt Massa has lost any bottle because of this incident.

One of the biggest positives for Felipe is that he says he doesn’t remember being hit.

I hope he’s the 2010 champ..along side Kimi.

…and Ferrari smoke all who get in their way.


I’ve got a feeling that Ferrari are trying to get Alonso in Massa’s seat now.

They couldn’t exactly move him over and then push him out for Interlagos. I hope so anyway. 🙂


Keeping Massa or not does seem a tough decision at the moment. In an expensive business like F1, I fear the decision will not be in Massa’s favour, but Kubica’s.

How about Kubica and Alonso pair in Ferrari next year?

Surely Mclaren need to find a better pilot to replace Heikki if they wanted to fight for the constructor’s championship as well.



Why on earth would you add Kubica to the mix? That woudl mean they have 4 drivers signed for 2010! Then you have to pay off Kimi and Massa…. that is CRAZY…..


As for Kubica, I believe that ‘hamilton fan’ may have read on the Internet that yesterday La Gazetta Dello Sport wrote that Robert will be driving in Ferrari for the rest of this season.

Ferrari is, according to the paper, desperate to end the season in front of McLaren + have a good result on Monza in the first place. Kubica is in his own way ‘half-italian’ (remember his helmet during last year’s Italian GP?) and, what was even written by JA himself, is ranked very high by Fiat/Ferrari management.


This is becoming more of a farce with each passing race. As a devoted Ferrari fan im astonished that the team dont seem to know what they are doing, who is racing in the next race let alone next season.

Its all a bit amateurish…Massa (like Schumi) with his accident has become a favourite of the team and very much a part of the Ferrari family. I dont see them letting him go to be honest. My prediction is Fisi will race until the rest of the season and Alonso will be announced as a Ferrari driver at Monza.

Alonso & Massa for 2010.


After a low speed motorcycle accident a few years back (not wearing a helmet), I had pressure buildup due to blood clotting that required emergency surgery. I underwent the same type of surgery that Massa underwent earlier, followed by a second one to put in a titanium plate to fix the missing parts of the skull.

Ever since, I’ve never “felt” exactly the same as before. To add to this, I had an epileptic attack that doctors said can potentially happen anytime after they’ve had to fix a person’s brain/skull. Since then, I’ve been on anti-epiletic drugs that ensure that my brain is no longer as trigger-happy as it used to be.

I hope this isn’t the case for Massa, but in all likelihood, it would probably be the same for him too, in which case there’s no way he can ever race in his life without risking an attack. All the best to Massa for a speedy recovery.


IMO if it were the same for Massa as you… Ferrari would be dragging this out…they are firm on what is going on.


I don’t mind Massa, but if and when he does come back racing, there is absolutely no way in the world he is going to be the same driver.

When you take a big hit, you always lose a bit of your aggression.

Massa took a god damned spring to his skull, and honestly, I really can’t think of a worse thing that could happen, and it’d rattle the best of drivers.

I do hope he comes back, but he is never going to be the same.

And as for the Kimi, Alonso, and now even Kubica talk, perhaps Ferrari are just trying to buy out all the best drivers so that the relatively mediocre ones are left, and presto, easy championship victories.


I’ve always kinda theorised that Hakkinen was possibly TOO aggressive before his accident. He had massive speed, great talent but had more than his share of shunts.

You could say he had aggression to spare and that his ordeal tempered it to just the right level (a race-winning car helped too).

Driver-wise, Ferrari possibly have an embarrassment of riches for next year (Alonso(?)/Kimi/Massa). How ironic that they’re in the exact opposite situation as things stand right now, striggling to get their hands on a fast and reliable stopgap…


Go say all of this to Michael Schumacher, Mika Haikkinen and Niki Lauda, see what they tell you.


Shcumacher never got hurt bad.. he had a broken leg.. Hakkinen almost died and so did lauda…. By the way.. Hakkinen was not good for about 4 years after the wreck… He was my favorite but he only got to the top when DC moved over to let him win in Ausie and from then on out he was at the top…. Look at his ’05 not so great


It’s true, he won’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean worse. Hakkinen wasn’t the same – he was better. 😉


The important thing is for Felipe to get well. But, whoever Ferrari puts into that car for the rest of the season, at least get them the greatest amount of relevant practice before hand. The next GP2 round is at Monza on the same weekend. Put Liuzzi (or whomever, even Badoer if they let him) into that event. The rules say that you can’t test in-season. There’s nothing that says you can’t race.

See my posts under the “Badoer talks up his Monza chances” section to see how this can work.


Well, it is really up to the bosses in Ferrari to make a rational decision or an emotional one for the remaining races and more importantly, the driver line up for next year.


This is really good news. Felipe Massa’s health is more important than either Ferrari’s 2nd car or his own desire to drive at Interlagos. Hopefully, the latter issue can be put to bed once and for all and Massa can fully recover prior to a proper fitness and testing programme in readiness for 2010.

I sincerely hope Ferrari stick by Massa, as he has proved one of the most talented( if flawed), dignified and sporting drivers in F1 and I wish him all the best for the future.


name me a driver that is 100% perfect, and don’t say Alonso because thats just an insult to the sport.

Massa is 10times the driver and man Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso are.


I suppose Jim Clark came as close as anyone but no, none of them are perfect!

Some drivers, though, seem to have days when, for whatever reason, their on-track flaws are more apparent or appear to recur. In Massa’s case, these are offset a majority when he is very good indeed and others when he is simply outstanding. I guess if any driver was to reach perfection, it would only be after gaining the experience to deal with every eventuality and then be short-lived as age, etc, caught up!


Just wondering which one isn’t flawed?


Very well said Werewolf. I have a ton of respect for the racing prowess of Hamilton, Alonso, Kimi, etc. But I actually like Massa, he is a good racer and a good, nice person. And he has more than proven he is a match for any of the current top drivers. If he never wins a WDC it will be a shame, because I see him as a far greater asset to the sport than Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton.


Felipe Massa is very lucky to be alive. I saw a picture published somewhere and his face looks in pretty bad shape. We was very close to at least loose one eye. If he is racing next year and doing just fine it will be like a miracle.


James….. Why not extend Massa’s contract to keep him calm, let Kimi and Alonso race next year and if all is well in 2011 he comes back on the other car with Alonso?


Red Kimi, things move on so quickly in F1. It is interesting that Ferrari has thrown down a marker that Massa will be 100% fit again at the start of next season. That implies that they will give him one of the two seats. This is very much the human side of Domenicali and it suggest to me that they have decided their drivers for next year.



having had their fingers burned already with premature announcements about a return after injury [Schumacher], and likewise race pace after a long lay off [Badoer], would it not be better for Domenicali to wise Kimi’s wise motto, “Let us wait and see” ?


The is no point in Felipe rushing back and taking a risk to drive in Brazil. I know his home fans will miss him but his health is more important.


Believe it or not,it seems talks are in place also with Kubica as possible Ferrari driver for next races.


I wish him all the best. However no one knows how fit, how fast and how determined he will be. He is going to be a big questionmark for Ferrari for next year whatever they say to the public for PR reasons.


What a shame, i was really looking forward to Interlagos.


With all due to respect to Massa, and hoping he makes a full recovery, I think Ferrari should call time on his contract. To me, it seems clear that Ferrari have been spending a lot of time helping him out stretching back to the middle of last year, he just isnt as good as Kimi. Since the accident, notice how much Kimi has improved? I see this as no coinscidence. Kimi is getting the right level of support that he should be getting compared with before.

Kimi and Alonso would be an awesome pairing, to the level that Senna and Prost was. Still have my fingers firmly crossed for Massa though


I agree 100%. Hamilton and Alonso never have to worry about their teammates, the car is geared towards them as well as the race strategy, their teammates get what is left. Look how great Kimi has done with this horrible car when things are geared for him.

Alonso will go to Ferrari with true #1 status and Massa will never be the same and fans and pundits alike will say.. “see how great Alonso is, he is crushing Massa”


I’m fully expecting Massa to leave Alonso in his dust. Alonso is a great, great driver, but there is only two drivers on the grid today with the same raw pace as Felipe. One is Lewis Hamilton, the other is finnish and dresses in red every race weekend.

Alonso, complete as he might be, is not at the same level.


Some facts:

Massa was 6-3 up on races before Massa’s injury. Raikonen has now completed 3 more races due to Massa’s misfortune and that is the only reason it is now 6-6… Though if Massa was in a hospital bed with an engine, he still may have beaten Kimi (that last bit wasn’t exactly fact)

Is Kimi doing better or is his lack of cometative team-mate just making him appear to be doing better with the improved car (yes, Kimi has had a few decent races since Hungary but I think it’s clear that development can be a factor of that.

Look at 2008. I’m a Hamilton fan however Massa deserved the championship last year, look at the failures and team mistakes that had nothing to do with Massa.

Oh dear. I do worry that I am watching a different sport sometimes!


I submitted my reply before finishing… but to add, I think Massa will have lost his mojo from the accident in Hungary, and I reckon he just wont be the same driver.


Do you know of any F-1 drivers who lost their mojo after suffering a near fatal accident? I know Hakkinen did not, Lauda did not.


Karl Wendlinger? Tipped to be one of the greats until his big Monaco crash.


Karl Wendlinger. But we’re not in the same territory. Losing his mojo is a senseless debate based on…. erm, nothing.

As for suggesting Massa only did so well last year because he needs “bucketloads of help” – I thought this was a team sport? Massa himself personified the very definition of team by refusing to criticise the “fuel pipe down the pit-lane” debacle which ultimately cost him the Championship. So I think it’s fair to say both team and driver gave a hell of a lot last year.


I agree, F1 drivers don’t usually lose their mojo even after serious accidents. I hope Felipe is no exception in this. One thing that might influence his approach to racing, however, is that he is (as far as I know) also becoming a father this fall. Could a near fatal accident together with becoming a father make him a bit more careful, and hence slower, driver? I hope not.


Yes I totally agree with you James. After that accident I think any driver would not be the same anymore. Kimi and Alonso would be a perfect pairing, because Kimi does not care who his teammate is. Next year Ferrari should have a better car, then we can see how these two former world champions stack up in the same car.


Raikkonen and Massa are very different drivers and individuals with different strengths and weaknesses; and both have suffered accordingly. In my opinion, to equate the former’s fall from grace with (alleged) favouritism towards the latter is more than a little speculative. It could just as easily be argued that Raikkonen’s welcome return to form has been influenced by a need to secure a drive (at Ferrari or elsewhere) next year.


“Massa did so well because he needs bucket loads of help.”

All modern F1 drivers need bucket loads of help! It’s a team sport, and it’s hugely important to be able to motivate and make use of the talented people surrounding you. This was one of the most important ingredients in Schumachers genius, and a big part of his success.

In my view, Kimi has not reached his potential in terms of results in the sport. The main reason is that he seems to lack the ability or the willingness to really get a team behind him – and to make full use of the resources his team has to offer.

Unless he addresses this part of his game he will always be a flawed package in my opinion. Raw pace and talent is essential but it’s only a part of being a great f1 driver.


Remember Hakkinen? Not much to write about, until an accident that nearly killed him. Then, 2 world championships.

As for calling time on Massa’s contract – you did watch F1 in 2008? He lost the championship by 1 point and was exceptionally sporting about it.

I’m always amazed by the views expressed on the comments on this blog. They seem to bear to no resemblance to the injuries sustained by the protagonists (always getting into the car next week, rather than next year) and no resemblance to the acheivements of the same (2nd by 1 point but apparently not worthy of a drive!). Incredible. Just incredible.


I did watch 2008, and from around Monaco onwards, it seems painfully obvious that the team did all the could so he could win some races, leaving Kimi hung out to dry, effectively.

Massa did so well because he needs bucket loads of help. Although it is a team sport, people also complain that they want more focus on the drivers. Massa hasn’t got as much talent as the “top” drivers (i.e. Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Kubica).

I was gutted that Massa didn’t win last year, but as a long Ferrari fan, and a fan of Kimi, I’m disappointed as well that Massa stuffed up with all the help he was given (even by the Belgium result which was gifted to him)


Wow I thought this was James Allen’s reply for a while there!! I was gobsmacked until I realised you were called James too!

I can understand your point about Ferrari possibly giving more support to Felipe than Kimi, but I suspect Kimi is the least “needy” driver on the grid. As for “spending time helping…. back to the middle of last year” – did you miss Massa’s season last year?? It was an absolute classic and I for one think he deserved every point, podium and win he got. If Ferrari did “invest” time in him, they got their return many times over.

Get fit and get back on the grid Felipe – the sport is poorer without you.


“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”.

Liuzzi is now the obvious replacement for Massa – pays off Force India’s little debt to Ferrari, and gives him a chance to do himself a bit of good, especially useful if Fisi is going to be given another year (which he deserves) with the team.

Question : Are Ferrari now really 100% (not 99% but 101%) sure that Massa will be back next year, so they can try to find a place in another team for Kimi ? I guess we will know by what happens next.

Isn’t it exciting ?

Top Tags