Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Felipe Massa comes home to Maranello, meets the new 458 Italia, laps Fiorano, smiles for fans

Felipe Massa Ferrari 458 Italia

It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but for Felipe Massa, it must feel like it's been an eternity since he's been up to speed. The Brazilian Formula One driver hasn't been at work since July when he suffered a major blow to the head from some flying debris at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

A lot has happened since then: his mentor and former team-mate Michael Schumacher prepared for a comeback and then had to cancel it due to health concerns of his own, the Scuderia promoted test driver Luca Badoer for a couple of races before sending him home, and then Maranello hired Giancarlo Fisichella to fill in and stay on as a reserve driver for the future. Then they picked up Fernando Alonso to be Massa's wingman next year, and somewhere in the middle of it all, Ferrari launched its first all-new mid-engine production car in a decade. (Not to mention the new engine chief they hired, the senior executive they lost or the new designer who is said to be taking over).

Now, after his prolonged absence, Massa has returned home to Maranello for the first time since the crash. He got some practice time in the simulator before hitting the track in a privately-owned, retired F2007 with GP2 tires to reacquaint himself with his craft. And while he was at it, he stopped by the production line to check out the new 458 Italia.

[Source: Ferrari]


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