Ferrari rule out a return for Massa in 2009

Ferrari does not expect Felipe Massa to return to Formula One until the start of next season, after the Brazilian underwent a number of tests in Miami on Monday.

Massa attended the Jackson Memorial Hospital Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit where he was given a thorough health assessment by Professor Stephen Olve. Overall the results were promising, and like his earlier eye examination, the Brazilian appears to be in good health.

But in a statement issued on their official website, Ferrari have confirmed that Massa will have to undergo plastic surgery on his skull, removing any chance of the Brazilian making an emotional return at his home Grand Prix in October.

“Naturally the results were received with great joy and satisfaction at Maranello with the prospect to be able to count on Felipe 100% for the start of the next racing season.” said the statement.

The plastic surgery will require Massa to have a plate inserted over the area of his skull which was struck by a metal spring, during qualifying in Hungary.

If the operation is a suspected success, then Ferrari have said that Massa will slowly return to physical training.

The Brazilian driver also spoke of his relief in the statement and also moved to rule out any chance of an early comeback.

“I m very happy about the results,” said Massa in the statement, “After the small surgery in the next days I can finally start to go to the gym to get back into shape and drive some tests in karts.

“On the track with a Formula 1 single-seater? Let s take it step by step: at the moment I m concentrating on taking up physical activities, which is a great step forward.”

Meanwhile speculation continues to surround the future of Luca Badoer as Massa’s replacement, with Giancarlo Fisichella heavily tipped to replace his fellow Italian for his home Grand Prix in Monza.