Felipe Massa makes Ferrari test return in Maranello (Pictures & video)

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Felipe Massa's eye injury was still visible as he made his F1 test return
Felipe Massa's eye injury was still visible as he made his F1 test return

Today, 79 days after his horrific crash in qualifying at the Hungaroring, Felipe Massa got back behind the wheel of a Ferrari. He said:

The moment I got into the car it was exactly like before the accident, as if nothing had happened. It was important to demonstrate to the people who work with me, that nothing has changed, that I can be competitive and that I can contribute to what will be the new car and to next year?s fight for the title.

See below from pictures and video from Massa’s return to Ferrari.

Stefano Domenicali, Piero Ferrari, Jean Alesi and, of course, race engineer Rob Smedley were among those on hand to greet Massa on his return.

The Brazilian driver drove a Ferrari F2007 fitted with GP2-style slick tyres – a similar specification to that used by Michael Schumacher while planning his return to take Massa’s place which was, of course, aborted.

Felipe Massa Ferrari test return video

Felipe Massa Ferrari test return pictures

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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83 comments on “Felipe Massa makes Ferrari test return in Maranello (Pictures & video)”

  1. It’s great to see Massa back in an F1 car, even with the dodgy music.

    1. It is a victory for Massa and it is fantastic that he’s back on track and looking good.

      But it will be just as important a day when he takes to the track with a full field of F1 cars – he can’t have a repeat of his accident when he’s the only car on the track right? So whilst this is a great piece of info with regards to his health, that first 2010 test session that he takes part in will be critical too.

      I look forward to watching a 100% well Felipe Massa at Bahrain next year.

      1. I don`t get that comment. So we can only tell how good he is now, if there are springs bouncing about on the track ?

    2. I think we’re going to see sparks fly next year between Massa / Alonso.

      I also cant help but be impressed by the way Ferrari stage manage everything, with Massa dressed in red in every photo!

      1. Wow ..That’s a very good news, I hope they will win in future races.

        He is one of the idolized racers in this age.

        Good luck. . . .

    3. well done felipe……see you 2010 and your going to need to be as good as before because your in for 1 hell of a battle.

  2. Congrats to Massa.
    But what was up with the music? If there was going to be music I expected it to be a bit more, you know, heroic or something. lol
    Can’t wait to see Massa kick Alo’s but next year.

    1. Dream on Brian(Lara). I like Massa and its good to see him back but as far as kicking Alonso, you would need to see it outside the track

      1. Massa to me was a driver who simply drove with the heart and passion for his team and country. Those were his only attributes.

        He can now add determination, guts, bravery and courage.

    2. Good news for the fans, not so good for alonso. Massa coming back at 100%, will give fernando some headaches during the first races, mostly in qualifying. Alonso’s weakest point, and massa’s strongest, even though he says that this last two years made him a better qualifier. we’ll see if he is right.
      Interesting witmarsh coment. but alonso is a little wiser than in 2007, and he will manage the situation better at ferrari, he was too young during the mclaren years. I am sure the mclaren years, at least tought him that.

      1. ramesh Sathiah
        13th October 2009, 7:15

        I guess that photos is an old one.. that eye does not look too good!

        1. Which one? These pictures are all from yesterday (12th).

    3. I just hope he shows Alonso his tail light next year, I really want to see Alonso throw more toys out of him pram.

  3. Very happy to see him back behind the wheel. A few weeks ago I was convinced that the crash was game over for Felipe’s career. I was very wrong, it would seem!

    Hope he is allowed a few more tests over the winter before pre-season testing starts in February.

    1. That’s brilliant news! I’m delighted for Felipe.

      I felt he conducted himself with admirable dignity and sportsmanship when he must have felt crushing disappointment losing the title to Lewis Hamilton at the final race of last year. I’m sure that this must have played a part in Ferrari’s loyalty to him.

      I’m a hospital neuroradiographer, so I know what a fantastic recovery Massa is making. I’m very pleased that he is recovering so well from his injuries , and that he will have the opportunity to try again next year.

      1. I’m with Paul H-E. Massa was impressive in the way he dealt with the disappointment of last season.

        A touch with mortality can slow a driver. Mind you, it is probably the better alternative to what we have seen before, when after surviving a serious crash it seems as if they feel they are immortal.

        He is in for a testing season next year and my worry is not so much that he might use the accident as an excuse for poor performance as that others might.

        There is not room in Ferrari, nor any team for that matter, for two massive egos and if ever there was a chance of a positive partnership between F1 drivers then I can’t help but think this is it. I wonder, though, if there is room for two drivers of equal ability.

        For me he was the revelation of 2008, a driver I completely misjudged. I would love him to prove just how wrong I was in 2010.

        1. You are right, a touch of mortality can definitely slow a driver (that’s particularly true of Barrichello in the mid-90’s), so I’m very keen to see what happens next year with Felipe.

          It would be great to see him fully recovered not just physically but in terms of confidence. And Alonso’s presence surely will make his life a bit more difficult at Ferrari (although he will surely have most of Ferrari’s support at least initially), with argueably the paddock’s best driver today as his teammate instead of a dominated Kimi Raikkonen. We shall see.

    2. Mark A. Stephens
      13th October 2009, 7:01

      Looking forward to Felipe back in the car, I was on the chat the other night and it was good to see Felipe responding to us Tifosi and all of our millions of questions! IMHO Ferrari will do very good this coming year and I am quite sure Felipe and Fernando will get along like brothers. I just wish Felipe could come back this season before the break!

    3. So is this test delay really happening for all the drivers that switch teams or are new in F1? No testing at all until February? Considering that we have some utterly new teams and probably some more rookies? On we go with the non-sense…

      1. I wouldn t be surprised if we see next year mssa even stronger.And i think that ferrari will have the strongest pair of drivers.Now the question is who will partner hamilton?Button?too soft.Barrichello is too risky with his mouth..rosberg? maybe but if he listen wisely to his father,then he won t.hamilton preferential treatment is not a dream and the only one who can take the job is raikkonen.maclaren would do well to revue their 1 driver policy if they want to compet with ferrari next year.I hope that kimi will go to maclaren,i can t wait to see raikkonen shaking baby hamilton.

      2. Testing is only forbidden until the end of the last round of the championship and after that they can test as much as they like.

  4. I just cant get over how good that car looks with slick tires…

    1. What great news for Massa and the sport as a whole,
      fantastic to hear his confidence has been restored!
      It is only a shame that due to current F1 regulations
      force drivers to test in seasons previous cars! Could
      This itself be considered a safety issue?

    2. Why is he still testing the F2007, there is no need to risk anything now, as he has enough to recover till the first tests in 2010

      1. Because the best thing to do after what has happened is to get straight back out there. Do you want him to just do nothing until the 2010 car is ready ?

    3. Nice to see Massa welcomed home by the team boss especially as he came back from Japan,shows what genuine regard they have for Massa.Very different to how Lauda was treated in 1976 after his accident !
      Lets hope he can get back up to speed as soon as possible.

      1. The ferrari team changed a lot since 1975. Now it is a more human enviroment, better for massa, less exciting for the fans.
        The recovery of massa is nothing if you compare it to niki’s. Quite probably the most impressive come back in the history of the sport.

    4. Well now it just shows what a brave man Massa is and how sensible of Ferrari not to allow him to race again this season. Good luck to the lad, I wish him success next year in his competing with Alonso.Should be a good season for Ferrari with such a strong team especially with a back up driver in Fissi.

  5. Rob Smedley looks very, very, very happy!!!!!

    1. so happy
      “i’ve got my boy backk!”

      1. so happy
        “i’ve got my boy backk!”

        Oh, yeah. Very different from this serious/sad one holding the PIT BOARD

        1. Welcome back Massa. 2010 is gonna be fantastic for Ferrari. They will have a fantastic set of drivers for their cars.

    2. The Sri Lankan
      13th October 2009, 0:27

      why of course…he got his Felipe Baby back!

      1. There really is no need for him to come back now. Fisi should be able to finally deliver some points in final (2) race(s), he might even be the safer bet right now.

    3. It’s such a wonderful comeback story so far, I really hope he can finish it in style by winning the championship next year. :D

      1. i hope he comes back 100% fit. He is the type of driver that doesn’t look for excuses. Always wants to race, rain or dry. He was real competition to schumacher in 2006, and he might push alonso, like hamilton did in 2007.
        A real racer, button has something to learn from this guy.

  6. Glad to see Felipe Baby back :D, bet Rob Smedley is too.

    Shame that the car’s dont look like that anymore, they were an eye saw compares to this years…

    1. Massa hasn’t developed a shock of grey hair close to the injury, has he? Or do my eyes deceive me?

      Sounds very positive, couldn’t hope for better so far.

      It’ll be interesting to see the dynamic between him and Alonso next year. I read his most recent comments about Singapore last year and he specifically mentions FA and the injustice of the Spaniard being allowed keep the victory…

    2. I cannot see Massa surviving beyond 2010 with Ferrari myself. Alonso will eat him up and spit him out.

      1. they said the same when Kimi came to Ferrari and look who is losing his job now..

    3. I am glad he is doing well…. However, when I see those pictures of him and think of what he has been through it amazes me they dumped Kimi not knowing what they have with Massa. I can only imagine they want MS to drive if Massa can’t rather than Kimi which is also odd to me.

      1. Best of luck to Felipe Massa for his return to an F1 cockpit today in the F2007 Thumbs Up

        I hope today is enough to confirm he’s 100% back on track for next season. This would be great for Massa and his family, but also for the F1 driver market. I can’t help but think that the delays on the Raikkonen to McLaren deal are down to worries at Ferrari that Massa might not be able to race next year. Massa putting in some fast laps in the F2007 and being given a clear bill of health afterwards is what I want to see right now.

        Good luck! Grin

  7. wow… that car is beautiful. So much better looking than this years car.

    1. Like it or not the accident will always be attached to him if he is slower than Alonso next year, ppl will say that the accident has affected him somehow.

      1. This also strikes me as sensible thinking. I can see why the F2007 is being done now rather than (say) in January, but starting afresh in 2010 means that Felipe can concentrate on being his absolute best when the new season comes.

        Best wishes to Felipe.

        1. All the best to Felipe, but I think it will be twice as hard to win the championship now Alonso is on board. Being Kimi’s team mate for last 3 seasons brought the best out of him, hopefully he can do the same with Alonso. Any news on Kimi? My reckoning is Mclaren or Brawn.

    2. Any idea if this was the same F2007 that Schumi tested earlier in the year?

      If so, it would be interesting to compare lap times….. Wink

  8. Anyone else notice the dark bags under Felipe’s eyes, not dissimilar to what Richard Hammond sported in the months immideately after his accident?

    1. Good on him; that’s an amazing achievement regardless of whether he’s competitive next year or not.

      1. An excellent and pragmatic decision for all concerned: Massa, Ferrari and us, too, as any judgement of Massa will be much more meaningful next March.

        I am really looking forward to seeing how he shapes up against Alonso. Prior to Hungary, I would have said without a doubt that he would sometimes (how often?) be faster but Alonso’s consistency and relentlessness, in and out the cockpit, will be formidable indeed.

      2. Do you think that there is a driver out there who has an exit clause with the team he will currently sign with?

        e.g. Kubica signs with Renault but has an exit clause that if Felipe is found not fit, he can make the switch? Offcourse such a clause can only be based on a Kubica-Ferrari agreement that comes into action at that time.

  9. Bet he’ll be back better than ever. Great to see him.

    The car looks stunning. Please please please give us them back. They look like fighter jets on wheels.

    1. A private test in less than ideal conditions with no chance of racing again this season. Why? If he is not fully fit to race, then surely, following such serious head injuries, any test in an F1 car at speed is an unacceptable risk; should the unthinkable happen again. Better to be fully fit and get into next year’s machinery in January instead of today’s publicity stunt.

    2. I’m glad he wont race until next season. Have always liked Massa, he had that little bit of crazy when racing, you never knew what he would do next. And I really like that in a racer.

      Although he mellowed under Schumacher, he’s a very likeable character with passion and aggression.

      As you said, if he came back and had a poor race, it would only lead to doubts and more questions, whereas now he can rest and prepare.

      Good news, and good to see him recovering well.

      1. Both Massa and Alonso cut their teeth as testers and it undoubtedly helped them along. I think the FIA should “sponsor” a few open test days through the season and at least allow the younger drivers. How much would it really cost? Maybe dedicate a Wednesday on before a few of the European races.

        Perhaps smaller bottles of Champagne on the podium to compensate for the costs?

  10. This is one determined guy. Say what you want, he is gonna be in the race for the WC next year.

    1. This is the best news F1 could get!!!! Hooray for Massa being okay.

      1. He’ll start next year 100% fit, and we’ll see if it’s enough to beat alonso.
        Have you heard the coment Adrian campos made about hamilton in the spanish press?
        i think the fia should punish him in some way, for lack of respect to a fellow pilot.
        This anti-hamilton culture that has being created in spain, it’s getting out of hand.

  11. I would say he has a little fire in those eyes.

    1. It’s great to hear that Felipe is back in an F1 car. A big victory and I’m sure it will make him more determined than ever to deliver his true potential – and given how he’s developed as an F1 driver from his early Sauber days to beating both Schumacher and Raikonnen in the same car, I think the next couple of seasons will be very interesting indeed.

      1. That is a shame, from a drivers point of view we want to get back in the car as soon as possible and get “it” behind you, and not sit a winter wondering, testing is different than a race, it is easy to understand why he wanted one race.

    2. Okay, I’ll give Ferrari the benefit of the doubt regarding the decision to remove Raikkonen in order to accommodate Alonso as a means of achieving better overall long-term results. One thing, however, is abundantly clear, Alonso is joining Ferrari under circumstances very distinct to those when Schumacher joined them. Therefore, as great as a driver Alonso may be, he must not be overestimated at the same time.

  12. “The Brazilian driver drove a Ferrari F2007 fitted with GP2-style slick tyres – a similar specification to that used by Michael Schumacher while planning his return to take Massa’s place which was, of course, aborted.”

    It would be nice to be able to compare their lap times.

    1. “He has proved that he will be back at 100% next season.”

      It’s a bit premature to say that, is it not? It was hardly a ‘heat of batle’ situation.

      I wish him all the best though.

    2. I think it´s the best decision for Felipe, there was nothing to gain and possibly some risks.

      He has 4 months before February to workout and be fited. He´s place at Ferrari is garanteed so no need to risk.

  13. Great video!! I think the music has been removed?

    It’s fabulous to see Massa back behind a F1 wheel, thank God his health seems to be in good shape.. Wish him all the best in the 2010 season, this just might be the push he needs to win the championship..

    Can’t wait to see how Massa and Alonso will get along..

    1. Bravissimo Felipe!

      1. I hope he makes it back, for obvious reasons. But the noises about Schumacher wanting to return for a season or two won’t go away, and if Massa isn’t up to the job, I can’t see Fisichella, even if he is the team’s official reserve driver for 2010, getting the nod over Michael. The prospect of Alonso v Schumacher v Hamilton v Raikkonen v Vettel v Webber v Button V Rosberg is one to be relished.

  14. Paige Michael-Shetley
    13th October 2009, 6:51

    I really hope that i’m wrong but I can’t see Massa coming back as the same racer that he was after a serious accident where lets face it 10 years ago probably would have killed him. He’s also just about to become a Dad and that changes your whole outlook on everything, Just ask Mika Hakkinan. 2 world championships,had his fare share of accidents, becomes a dad and then without warning parks his car before each corner and walks it round so Mclaren got on the phone to Kimi.
    I really do hope I’m wrong but can’t help but think Ferrari have Kubica as the first name in the rollerdex if things don’t work out.

    1. Hakkinen told Dennis before the 2001 season that he planned to take a hiatus in 2002. He said he wanted to win the US and British Grands Prix, since he hadn’t won them before, and he did just that. The hiatus in 2002 became a retirement.

      I think it’s clear that Kubica wants the Ferrari drive. He’s said openly many times that his goal is to drive for Ferrari. Reportedly, he and Ferrari also talked about him filling in for Massa this year. So the two are clearly “in touch.”

      On top of it all, Kubica is also only guaranteed for a year at Renault, according to some reports. Conveniently, Massa’s contract expires after 2010. Clearly, he’s got his eye on Massa’s seat.

      But clearly, the guy who Ferrari, McLaren, and everyone else REALLY wants is Vettel. There was a report on PlanetF1 around the time that Vettel extended with Red Bull that Ferrari, McLaren, Brawn, and Toyota all approached him with an offer for a race seat starting in 2011.

    2. Hakkinen suffered a similar skull injury when he crashed in Adelaide in 1995. I think he recovered pretty well from that with his two WDC’s a few years later.

  15. I’ve been a Ferrari fan as long as I’ve been an F1 fan; when I was a kid just becoming aware of F1, Gilles Villeneuve was shredding it up in a Ferrari.

    At the time Ferrari was SEX. The brand simply oozed sexiness. Everything they did was sexy, because they did it in exotic style. Sexy red cars, the aura of Italian passion, and the hell-bent-for-leather reputation of their drivers like Villeneuve and Lauda.

    And then…….Schumacher arrived. True, Schumi gave Ferrari a lot of wins, but it was rarely sexy. Schumi was a great racer, but sexy? Forget it. Schumacher is as sexy as granny underpants. With the exception of his proclivities towards stretching or even breaking the rules, Michael was always too workman-like.

    Never the less, Ferrari somehow decided that winning equated sexiness, no matter how un-stylish a manner in which it was achieved. So Schumi thrived. What a bore Ferrari and F1 in general was in the Schumi era to us who were drawn to Ferrari and F1 for it’s raw passion and sex appeal. TOTALLY UNSEXY. Many of us F1 and Ferrari fans were glad to see that robot finally go.

    Räikkönen was to be the next generation of old-school sexy Ferrari stars to stoke the imagination of Ferrari fans, an anti-hero that is as slow to open up personally as he is fast on the track. Many of us Ferrari fans hoped Kimi was going to usher in a new age of Ferrari sexiness that mirrored the old legends of old, and put the dull Schumacher years, no matter how successful, in the rear mirror for good.

    But alas, times have changed too much. To most F1 business people, the romantic ideal of the lone wolf strapping himself into a car, perhaps to send himself to his death in an attempt to win a race or find some sort of personal salvation is long gone.

    What has replaced this is an era dominated by dullard racers who calculate every moment so thoroughly that there is little room for the wild abandon of days gone past. There is simply too much (namely money) at stake. And here we fans all naively thought auto racers are the ultimate gamblers.

    So is it such a surprise that Kimi is being replaced by Alonso? Despite being one of the purely fastest racers to ever sit in a Formula 1 car, Kimi will never totally fit into the new corporate F1 paradigm. He simply thinks too much about his time behind the wheel, and not near enough about his time in front of the cameras. And so we have been witness to the embarrassing public spectacle of an exciting world champion being prematurely set aside to make room for another Schumi style robot.

    In this regard, Alonso will not disappoint. He’s a good racer but an even better polished media professional. But will he make Ferrari look sexy? Hardly. Snore. Pass the Viagra.

    Now that Räikkönen is gone, I guess I am now officially an ex-Ferrari fan. I will look for my sexiness elsewhere.

  16. Keith,how highly do you rate mass.And how do you think he will do against Alonso.

  17. First: I think Alonso will have the same problem beating Massa in qualifying as Kimi had. The brazilian is very very fast.

    Second: It would be stupid let Massa race this season. What if there would be another crash? Ferrari would have serious problems defend the decision let him race if Massa get another serious head injury.

    Third:I like Felipe and am glad he’s going to be able to return to the grid, I’m also glad he’s being sensible and waiting until 2010 whenhe can be sure he’s fully healed and fully race fit.

    Fourth:I really do wish he’d stop saying that the championship was “stolen” from him due to Singapore though. Yes the events of that race probably did rob him of the win. But what no-one can know is how the following races would have panned out…

  18. Is it me or is Massa’s eye still… swollen? Or is that permanent? I recall he had some very recent plastic surgery done in that area so maybe it’s the temporary result of that?

  19. They welcome back an average driver who got lucky and let go a champion, a fighter.

    Ferrari is run by clowns who are way too emotional in their decisions.

    1. Dude, you seriously haven’t been watching F1 the last couple of years. I believe Massa was ahead of Kimi the last couple of years up until the accident. Kimi was suppose to come in and dominate but that didn’t happen did it. So why keep an overpaid driver who was consistently outperformed by his teammate? Also, why keep Kimi when there is a chance of having Schumi in case Massa needs more time? I would take a retired Schumi over Kimi anyday. Kimi should go to McLaren so that we can get confirmation that his days in F1 are numbered when Hamilton beats him!!

  20. I agree with Cabby about the points Massa (but I think Kimi would beat Lewis if he was on top form) or w.e it is that makes Kimi spectacular).
    Very, very good to see Felipe back in a car. Thank you very much for the pictures! Love the one of him and Rob. C’mon Felipe beat Fernando and take the title! :)

  21. good to see hes healthy

  22. damn that car looked good. at 0:07 just check out how cool the F2007 looks.

  23. Great to see Massa back. Abu Dhabi, why not? Schuberth needs to get him their first “Felipe” model helmet. Call it the FM2, newly reinforced around the face and eyes no less. Was Kimi or Schu present during the test? When was the last time a spring fell off of a modern GP car? What a freak accident. Let’s look forward to the Latin connection at Ferrari next year.

  24. Felipe is a brave driver. Can’t wait for Felipe to produce another year like 2008 fighting till the last corner. Brilliant Driver.
    I am hoping for great fight between Fernando and Felipe for the 2010 WC.

  25. Wow, so many comments are identical to the ones on James Allen’s blog – looks like a lot of overlap between readership. Though that shouldn’t be a surprise I guess.

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