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Massa to test 2007 F1 car, planning Abu Dhabi comeback?
Massa to test 2007 F1 car, planning Abu Dhabi comeback?
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Oct 2009   |  10:40 am GMT  |  59 comments

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.

Massa: Ready for Alonso (Photo: Ferrari)

Massa: Ready for Alonso (Photo: Ferrari)

Ferrari say that he will go on the simulator in the factory, to test out his reactions and get back into the swing of things.

“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.”

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Massa is going to test a GP2 car tommorrow, probably the championship winning Art car, at jerez.


While he certainly wasn’t robbed the title by Piquet in Singapore, it’s hard to argue that had that Piquet not happened, that the ensuing pitlane disaster would have definitely happened.

No one will ever know, but just a few mg’s less adrenalin in one Ferrari man’s finger could have changed the entire complexion of the 2008 title race.

Massa did nothing wrong, that’s for sure. And while it may seem a little rude to be casting questions on Hamilton’s 2008 title, it’s hardly as bad as McLaren’s 2007 cool fuel effort against Raikkonen.


Speculation is perhaps the one most critical parts of the F1 business model.

But I think one of the biggest myth in F1 is the whole idea of No1 driver and No2 driver concept.

Its all down to the driver’s performance. If Alonso can take half a second off Massa in 70% of the races, he will get the same status as MS did and Massa have to give way on the occasions that he is leading.

If not, it will be the same as Kimi vs Massa.

It was Rubens who engineered this idea of “contractually” being No2 in order to protect his stock and job. And media took the opportunity portray certain things in certain ways for political reasons.

Think about this – if Rubens can do a better job then a 7 seven time world champion consistently, why would a team kill this potential, when there is a lot of money and results to gain?

On top of that, why would a team make a quicker driver slower during qualifying sessions, IF he is consistent enough?

So I am convince that everything will be decided on the track, not in the contracts.

James, what can you share with us and please do correct me if I am wrong. Thanks


Austria 2002 perhaps?


That is called “team orders” which is a privilege you get once you prove that you are a lot better than your teammate.

Team orders are part of Formula 1, David Couthard, Massa, Kimi, Fisi, they all had to let their teammates pass them at some point not just Rubens.

If you are a team boss, responsible for hundreds of employees and millions of dollars, you can’t afford to let second driver takes points off the first driver.

Don’t hate the players hate the game.


With first Schumacher, and now Massa’s attempts to get back into race fitness being in the news, I often wonder exactly how racers keep their race fitness up, especially considering the in-season testing ban (particularly the neck muscles which reportedly are hard to exercise properly outside of an F1 car).

James, other than the obvious “dry-land” training exercises and racing simulators, can you shed a bit of light on how what the racers do to stay race-fit and keep their driving skills sharp between races?


Karting is popular, of course


well, Karting to F1, it is like playing badminton for keeping on shape as a tennis player.


I love this video, look at alonso at 016.

They are really going to fight each other, but in a healthy way i think.

Check it out james!!!!


I don’t get it. No one even looks at each other. What are supposed to see here?




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…

love to hear the end of that sentence James. Williams are the FOTA ‘troublemakers’ aren’t they? And they are now the annointed ones as they have stuck witht the governing body over issues recently.


Hi James,

Don’t you think the restricted testing period will hurt Alonso in his preparations at Ferrari?

I think he will enough time to meet the team, engineers, get acqauinted with the procedures and processes at Ferrari etc.

But, having said that, he will have very less time with the Ferrari car and understand its characteristics. The 2010 car is a very similiar beast to the 2009 car as far as the aerodynamics are concerned and Massa already has a full season of testing and have season of racing as experience under his belt.

Fisichella is one of his comments mentioned how the Ferrari is a difficult car to drive and that it “behaves very differently under-braking because of KERS.”

We are not sure if we have KERS next year or not but in your opinion do you think the reduced testing time hampers Alonso’s prep and if so to what extent in comparison to his team-mate?


It won’t help, that’s for sure


There was no German GP in 2007. It was called the European GP as a result of legal action from Hockenheim who owned the rights to the German GP name.

I think.


2 hot heads both in a ferrari next season. I don’t think ferrari will be able to handle it. The 2 raging bulls. Ferrari had best paint their car a different colour next season. Alot of things will get thrown, alot of temper tantrums and it will end up giving Mclaren the championship.


With Alonso’s entry to the team only a few months away, im sure Massa wants to get back into the team to ‘mark his territory’ in order to gain a small psychological upper hand. Neither Massa OR Alonso is above such little games, whereas Kimi really didnt care. It’ll be interesting to see the Massa/Alonso rivalry develop on AND off the track in the coming months…


I have a feeling that a lot of people (including Fernando) are going to be very surprised by Massa in the next 12 months.

My initial reaction to Alonso going to Ferrari was one of disgust as I feel he has been to close to too many scandals to be as lily white as he makes out, but that said I think the race between Ferrari team mates next year is going to be fa more interesting than the the Mclarens, even if Kimi does go back there.


FA has been as close to scandals as LH has. Do you remember that burden of McLaren spying Ferrari? LH choose not to speak, which was an option but didn’t meant that LH was out of the plot or benefited by it. Do you remember LH’s recent lying to stewards, this very season? By the way, was Schumi behaviour a candid one when being an activ pilot? Why then do you think FA has lost the right to go to any team that chooses him because of his driving excellence? And, as Ferrari seems to think, I don’t think he is really problematic but in the desires of the British semiyellow Press.


You are correct, other drivers have been close to scandals as well but I was commenting on my own feelings towards Teflonso becoming a Ferrari driver, he is of course entitled to drive for whoever he wants to and who wants him, but it doesn’t mean I have to like the guy, does it?

As for Lewis well, he’s a good driver and has shown this season that he has what it takes to become a great driver in my eyes.

The greatest champions are the ones who show class in defeat as well as victory and Schuey (on most occasions) was also very good loser, yes there were black spots on his career just like Senna, Prost and most of the recent ‘greats’ does it make them less great? probably but we still raise them up over the heard don’t we


Massa used to be one of my favourite drivers but, over the years, he seems to be getting a little too big for his little boots. Like you say, perhaps it’s due to frustration due to being out of action, but he seems to be mouthing off about a lot of things recently and, though I don’t necessarily subscribe to the rule that you earn the right to do so by winning titles, he does seem to talk like a multi-title winner and not a driver who has contended for a title – albeit valiantly – just once.


Massa’s recent comments may be indicative that he isn’t entirely recovered yet, an injury to the part of the brain similar to what he sustained may result in some difficulty with emotional control i.e. he might be more short-fused and irritable than usual for the short-term.

Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond took a similar hit when he crashed that jet dragster and he alluded to that recently.

James, is Prof. Sid Watkins helping out on Massa’s case?


I think Massa’s comments were borne more out of frustration than anything to do with the injury. He’s on the sidelines through no fault of his own and not able to do what he loves.

And Hammond was in hospital for 5 weeks, as opposed to Massa’s 9 days.


James, about FA becoming the number one driver at Ferrari. How much influence does Rob Smedley have in the team, can he put his foot down and make sure his driver Massa’s gets equal treatment, would he leave if team orders came into play against Massa?


Alonso is’nt the number one driver


Yeh i know he’s not, well not yet … But with the talk of needing a schumi type leader i.e. someone can can get a team around him, i’m just wondering if Rob Smedley has enough clout to keep it equal. Though reading some of James new answers i see Sandanter are about to do big bank deals in Brazil, so how knows.


F1 is an unforgiving business and an awful lot is at stake. Surely Ferrari made a mistake by dropping Kimi instead of Massa. The right decision is to employ 2 world champions and not 1 world champion and 1 wannabe.

However it’s a human decision.

On the other hand I bet that Alonso will clearly be the number one. Massa is only excellent as a number two.


Might not be a good idea as he might struggle in the car like Fisi and Kimi might be extra motivated to prove a point. So it seems not much upside to returning early might as well rest up and wait for the season to end then pound around all you want during the tests? I think he will be quite evenly matched with Alonso but won’t be one dominating the other either way like some suggests .. or hopes..


Hi James, I was wondering after reading about Massa’s test at other site, it says that pre-season testing will start next February and with the first race of the new season is as usual in March. So after the ban of in-season testing, the winter testing got slashed by 2 months (out December and January)? Can you confirm it?

Thanks in advance and is always pleasure reading you.


That is correct. It seems nuts doens’t it? But the teams do not want to go back to having separate test teams and any more testing than that would put too much strain on the race mechanics.


Does this apply on the new teams as well??

It’s crazy enough for the established teams, who seem to have little hope to acclimatize any potential new drivers as things stand, but it sounds ultra-bonkers when it comes to whole-new teams!!


haha, I totally agree 🙂

– yes, we are new here, and we did massive 2 weeks of testing with our car.

– you mean this new car?

– no, I mean with any F1 car, ever!

it’s really amazing that someone should be expected to be ready after only a month of testing when they are about to put their very first F1 car on the grid.


Massa’s desire for an early return at Abu Dhabi is understandable but, to me, the risks seem to outweigh the benefits. Aside from the health and recovery issues, only a competitive weekend would really suffice because anything else will lead to endless public speculation about whether or not he is still capable, which will just add more pressure and fuel possible self doubts.

Testing older cars as part of the recuperation makes perfect sense, as does going to the final races in order to make the point to Alonso that Ferrari is ‘my team’ but save the racing return until full fitness has been achieved and a proper winter’s preparation undertaken.


I think Massa has definitely moved out of the shadows of his former team mates and now rates as one of the best drivers in f1. I also think he’ll give Alonso a run for his money. I also hope Massa waits until next season to return, there’s no need to rush, his seats safe!


I wouldn’t hold my breath about the apology. Also why rush to return? As you said before, James, F1 can be unforgiving if his return is premature and he doesn’t deliver in AbuD.

For me that magnificent red car will still look magnificent next year but to be honest, without the Iceman in it the appeal will diminish a little. I’m already trying to see the world in a silvery haze with a bit of peachy red on the margin.

James do you know whether KR’s move to McLaren is now 100% certain?


Not 100% certain. He’s put a price to them and they are talking about it


James, is money a big factor? I was assuming that if he just wanted more dough he could simply ask for something outrageous from Toyota ..


I think Kimi has already stated that he wants to be in a competitive car if he is to stay in F1 next year, that leaves only Brawn and McLaren (the two drivers at Red Bull are confirmed for next year). Toyota may be willing to splurge on him, but they seem to be perennial underachievers…


what about the possibility of kimi to brawn? it’s a long shot but it’s quite a good match although i’m not quite sure if brawn could afford kimi’s ice cream, err i mean price tag.


hello, James.

A price? as in money? or other conditions?

do you know which other teams Kimi is talking to?


Is that the reason (negotiating price) Mr Whitmarsh has changed his statement slightly on next years driver issue? Or Hamiltons working hard trying to keep Kimi away?

Paige Michael-Shetley

I think salary might be a part. Something else that could be an issue is Raikkonen’s personal freedom, which as we all know is very important to him.


It will very interesting to see how Alonso and Massa square up next year. A few scanarios come to mind. The first is – will Massa’s clear expectation that a ruling is necessary on the Singapore ’08 result, which he sees robbed him of his WC, be held against Alonso personally or not, if that doesn’t happen? He’s very popular within Ferrari, and one wonders if he will use that to his advantage in 2010? Has Alonso being shrewd enough to learn from his error at Mclaren by not securing No 1 status in Ferrari, and secured that position? Schumie has been instrumantal in getting FA into Ferrari, and his deal from ’96 secured an unquestioned No 1 status. Has Schumie advised Ferrari to manage FA in the same way they did him or not? Schumie, we all know has a soft spot for Massa, having nurtured Fillipe to his race winning form. Bottom line is, Ferrari want desperately to get back to winning ways, so one would expect them to give FA that crucial No 1 status, seeing he is a 2 time WC.

James, what is your understanding of FA’s status in the 2010 Ferrari line up?


You buy into Shcumacher’s PR lines? he said the same about Kimi but behind the scenes he finally admits Massa is number 1.

If anything Schumacher could care less about Kimi or Alonso. Towing the partly line here.


I asked Domenicali that question and he said they are equals. There is no No 1 status in Ferrari


Dear James,

Many people are thrilled by the signing of Alonso and the more than possible comeback of Massa.

Ferrari is still trying to convince both FOTA and FIA to have a third car next year, which they want for Schumacher. Does anybody know the exact reasos why they are pushing so hard for this?, with the prospect of 26 to 28 (not confirmed) cars in the grid next year, how is possible they want to expanded to i don`t know 30 to 36 maybe?.

There has to be something going on that have not made the light yet, maybe 2 or 3 teams will not make it and Ferrari is making the ground to ensure they have MS next year.

Ferrari won`t be pushing if MS would`nt have the desire to make a comebakc, i think…

Your thoughts?

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

James, Luca DM when asked this question several years ago concerning Rubens and MS replied – there is a No. 1a and No. 1b !!!


…and we all know what they say is not always what happens.


They lie! It was like no number status with Kimi, and obviously we know that Massa was n1, the races after incident shows all.


I think people from any walk of life can really admire this man.

Every time he’s put down, he just gets back up fighting. Hopefully this is the last time.

Theres a title to win!!!!!!!!!

Forza Felipe!!


Dont get carried away,Alonso and Santander

billions will not let him win the championship


His history with the team will not allow that to happen.

Schumacher, Smedley and most importantly Massa will not allow that to happen.

Forza Massa


what do you mean don’t get carried away.

Massa has been a Ferrari driver for 10 years, that worth more than any sponser.


Don’t forget that Santander is about to do a deal in Brazil which will create a huge superbank. Brazil is an important country to Santander


If Massa is unaffected by the injury I think he is going to be a though team mate for Alonso, a lot tougher than everyone is expecting!

On the German GP 2007, review the footage from the air and it is clear: Alonso was at the very edge of the track with no room at all left, he was in front of Massa and Massa could clearly see him, Massa turns his car into the side of Alonso’s McLaren. It is not a racing incident, it is a ram, done in the realisation that Alonso had the better of him.


Ofcourse this is why trouble is brewing at Ferrari, but to be fair Massa knew Alonso is not cool headed either, intimidating him would result in Alonso loosing his cool as usual. Both are latin they know their temperaments very well.

Massa is more clever than Alonso is in these matters, and with Michael backing Massa, Alonso will be lucky to have any equal status at all in that team.

All the recent words of support from Shumacher for alonso being one of his choices is just PR nonsense the same he said for Kimi and then later tells Massa is number 1.


“… Alonso loosing his cool as usual”

Fernando Alonso loosing his cool driving? As usual?

Are we speaking of the same Alonso?


Yes we are talking about the same Alonso, perhaps your Alonso is the one version-ed up in the Spanish press?

Pick your flavor but the point remains

1) Alonso used the stepnygate as a tool for blackmail.

2) Alonso claimed Renault were not supporting his title bid and were more in favor of securing the constructors title in 2006.

3) Alonso answering questions in a moody manner whenever Fisichella took victory.

4) Alonso discontent in Trulli having an equal or better performance in 2004.

Point is regardless of golden boy hamilton’s apparent favored status leverage within the team and Alonso’s innocence in 2007, the fact remains he cant stand competition. He doesnt like getting beaten.

There is such a thing as humility and grace in defeat, Alonso has never shown it. There is no reason to expect it to change. Its a character aspect its hard to change it will never change. So when Massa beats him? All hell breaks loose. Wait and watch. If anyone thinks Massa is anything of a slow coach they are in for a rude awakening. That plus his enormous support and closeness within the team Alonso will start making his frustrations known no matter what he claims about having learned or having understood how to deal with it etc etc. Its all good for the press but in practice its much harder.

He didnt change after 2004, he didnt change after 2006, he didnt change in 2007, so why will he change in 2010?


True. The start at barcelona that very same year was also a bit on the edge with FM turning into FA and driving him off. But as he says, life goes on. I don’t think they bear any grudges going into 2010. May the best man win.

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