Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Schu are man for me: Massa

Michael Schumacher

Felipe Massa believes Ferrari made the right call in asking Michael Schumacher to drive in his absence.

Massa left the AEK military hospital in Budapest, nine days after requiring life-saving surgery following his accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

After being transported via ambulance to the city's airport, Massa boarded a private jet to Sao Paulo, along with his pregnant wife Raffaela and personal doctor Dino Altmann.

Massa will continue his recuperation from a fractured skull in his home city, with the only question mark appearing to be when he will return to F1.

Until then, seven-time world champion Schumacher will be behind the wheel, starting in Valencia with the European Grand Prix on August 23.

Schumacher visited Massa in hospital on Saturday, and although the 40-year-old has been in retirement for almost three years, no words of advice were required from the Brazilian.

“It was him who gave me many tips during my career when we were racing together, so I'm not in a position to say something to him,” said Massa.

“He knows how to win, he knows how to drive and he's great. It was the best choice handing over the car to such a fantastic person. I'm sure everybody will be happy to see him back on the track again, although I hope I'll be back as soon as possible.”

With a cheeky smile, Massa added: “If I'm at the track and I see he's driving a little wrong, then I will tell him straight away. But Michael knows exactly what he has to do.”

Massa still has no recollection of the crash. He was struck on the helmet, just over his left eye, at 162mph by a suspension spring that had worked loose off the Brawn GP of compatriot Rubens Barrichello before ploughing into a tyre barrier. With the area around his left eye obviously swollen, and sporting a long cut, Massa is anxious to return to F1 as soon as possible.

Schumacher's bid to test Ferrari's current car has been blocked by Williams.

Ferrari last week wrote to the other nine Formula One teams and the FIA requesting Schumacher be granted a day at the wheel of the F60 ahead of his return to racing at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23 in the absence of the injured Felipe Massa.

Williams, however, see no reason why seven-time world champion Schumacher should be given special dispensation.

“While we welcome Michael Schumacher back to Formula One, the fact is any form of in-season circuit testing is strictly prohibited, a regulation clearly laid out by the FIA and adhered to by all of the teams,” said Williams.

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