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Ferrari rule out 2009 comeback for Massa 12 Oct 2009

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2009.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 21 June 2009 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2009.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 24 July 2009

Although he is scheduled to get back behind the wheel of a 2007-spec Formula One car at Fiorano on Monday morning, Ferrari have confirmed that driver Felipe Massa will not return to competition this season.

Massa, who fractured his skull in a qualifying crash at July’s Hungarian Grand Prix, underwent a medical in Paris on Friday and Saturday, which established that he is fit enough to return to the test track. However, the Italian team don’t want to rush the Brazilian’s return to the Formula One grid.

“At the Fiorano track, Felipe Massa will get back behind the wheel of a Formula One car,” said a statement released by Ferrari. “This is in no way a proper test session and looking at the stopwatch will not be on the agenda. There will be plenty of time for that in 2010, when, alongside Fernando Alonso, he will begin development work of the new single-seater. It is simply an opportunity for Felipe to renew his acquaintance with his natural environment, namely the race track.

“It is significant but in no way does it signify a return to competition in the near future. In fact, based on a previously taken decision and after an informal medical examination in Paris a few days ago, which proved rather positive, but not enough to endorse a return to competition in the next two months, Felipe and the team want to proceed gradually and without any hurry to recover as well as possible from the effects of the accident.

“Therefore talk of a proper return to Formula One can wait until the start of the 2010 season and only at that time will the medical checks be carried out, as required by the FIA in order to allow someone who has been injured to return to racing.”

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 Alonso.