Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Felipe Massa should stay in the paddock until after the season

September 1, 2009 | 10:27 am

Felipe It's been a good week for Ferrari considering how bad the season has gone for Formula One's most successful team.

The famous Scuderia earned its first victory of the season Sunday with Kimi Raikkonen's impressive drive at the Belgian Grand Prix.

And today, injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa was given the green light to resume physical workouts following a minor surgical procedure on his cranium that will take place later this week.

I know -- the words "minor", "surgical" and "cranium" sound like they really shouldn't go together when describing a positive recovery, but that's the news coming out of Ferrari after the Brazilian driver visited renowned racing injury specialist Steve Olvey in Miami on Monday. Massa nearly died when he suffered a fractured skull in an accident during practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.

If all goes well, there's a chance Massa could race in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Oct. 18.

Still, there's no need to get Massa back into the driver's seat this season. Ferrari stuffed itself into a tire wall when the team's lack of development on the car and interpretation of the new rules relegated them to the middle of the field by the time the lights went out in Melbourne. So what's there to gain by bringing back Massa before the end of the season?

Massa should take it easy and focus on coming back in 2010 when Ferrari probably will have a car that's worthy of challenging for a world title. Besides, he represents Ferrari's greatest chance to win the driver's title since the only way Raikkonen will ever win another one is if 18 races are scheduled at Spa-Francorchamps.

Until then, the Tifosi ought to just cross its collective fingers and hope Raikkonen can steer the Prancing Horse home to victory at the Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 13. Hopefully by then, test driver-turned-racer Luca Badoer will only be in the paddock to talk to reporters about how he's competed for four different Italian Formula One teams over his 17-year career.

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: Ferrari driver Felipe Massa gives a thumbs up to the cameras at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug. 3. Credit: Nelson Almeida / AFP/Getty Images