Only two months after blocking Michael Schumacher from getting behind the wheel of Ferrari's current F60 due to the in-season testing ban – in preparation for the multiple world champion's ultimately abortive top flight comeback – Williams has revealed no objective to Felipe Massa returning to an F1 cockpit as the Brazilian continues his convalescence from serious injury.
Ferrari had asked FIA stewards for special dispensation for Massa to test a two-year-old F2007 at Fiorano in Italy on Monday of next week (12 October), and at Suzuka over the weekend of the Japanese Grand Prix that request was granted. That means that eleven weeks on from the terrifying high-speed Hungaroring qualifying accident that left the 2008 world championship runner-up with a fractured skull and head and eye injuries, the São Paulista can now begin the final crucial phase of his recovery – driving.
“I would like to wish Felipe well with his return to an F1 car next week,” commented Sir Frank Williams in a statement. “It is a tribute to the safety standards of F1 today, and of course to Felipe's characteristic determination and drive, that he is making his return so soon. I hope that the test proves a successful step in his rehabilitation.”
Massa has travelled to Ferrari's Maranello headquarters this week to undertake a number of tests on the Scuderia's
simulator, and in an interview with Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
the 28-year-old admitted that whilst an Interlagos return in front of his adoring home fans in the Brazilian Grand Prix in twelve days' time would be 'too close to the limit', Abu Dhabi a fortnight later still cannot be entirely ruled out.
“I have a great desire to get back to racing,” underlined the eleven-time grand prix-winner, “but I need to wait for the right moment, when I am completely fit again.”