Ferrari gearing up for first Massa test 05 Oct 2009
Felipe Massa has taken another step towards his Formula One comeback after Ferrari won approval from the FIA for him to test in an older car. Massa fractured his skull in a qualifying crash at Julys Hungarian Grand Prix and is now back in training ahead of his planned return at next Marchs season-opening Bahrain race.
Massa, who got back behind the wheel of a kart in Sao Paulo last week, will be at Ferraris Maranello base from Monday to use the teams F1 simulator in anticipation of a possible test in a 2007-spec machine, which would be carried out by medical representatives rather than Ferrari.
FIA stewards have decided such a test would not breach the current regulations, as long as the car uses no 2009 components and runs on GP2 tyres. Michael Schumacher used a similar set-up with a customer-owned Ferrari F2007 when he was preparing for his anticipated comeback earlier in the year.
No date has yet been confirmed for the test and Ferrari have played down speculation that Massa could return to competition this season. They have not completely ruled out a comeback at the final round in Abu Dhabi, but the Brazilian would have to pass a strict FIA medical for that to even be considered.
Massa was replaced by Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer at the European and Belgian Grands Prix, before the team signed Giancarlo Fisichella from Force India for the subsequent races. Fisichella is to be retained as third driver next season, when Massa will partner new team mate Fernando Alonso.