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DATE News (chronologically)
09/08/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  1. Massa in hospital after skull surgery
  2. Massa to push for debris accident improvements
  3. Button buckling under title pressure - Massa
  4. Massa to call first son Felipe
  5. Williams suggests team to re-join FOTA
  6. Rossi not ruling out future F1 switch

Massa in hospital after skull surgery
(GMM)  Felipe Massa is currently in Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, following more than four hours of skull surgery on Monday.

The operation was to repair damage to his skull by the addition of a titanium plate at the spot the Brazilian was struck by a flying suspension spring during qualifying in Budapest in late July.

Ferrari said the surgery "had a positive outcome" and that Massa will return home to begin his physical preparations for the 2010 season after a short hospital stay.

In an interview published on Tuesday by Britain's Guardian newspaper, the 28-year-old said the surgery is to "close a bone in my head that they had taken away (in Hungary) because it was completely damaged".

"A normal guy can live like this without any problem.  But for a driver, if you have an accident and you have this problem, the recovery is more difficult," Massa explained.

"That's the only reason they won't allow me to race now.  Otherwise I feel the same as before.  I'm going to Europe to use the simulator and drive some go-karts and then I will know very well if I'm 100 per cent," he added.

Massa confirmed that, contrary to his earlier target, he will now no longer be able to make his comeback at his home grand prix in Brazil next month.

He said he has been following recent races live from his Sao Paulo home but that "it will be much worse when I have to watch the race in Brazil".

"It will be difficult to watch it," Massa concedes, "but I will be there."

Massa to push for debris accident improvements
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has vowed to push for changes in formula one in order to prevent a repeat of his freak accident during qualifying for July's Hungarian grand prix.

In an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper, the 28-year-old Brazilian said he will speak with F1's governing FIA and his fellow drivers about preventing head injuries like those sustained by him as well as the late F2 driver Henry Surtees.

"We need to look for improvements," said the Ferrari driver, who will not return to formula one until next season.

"I'm not saying we need to cover (the cockpit) completely.  But maybe there are some other things we can do to the car to stop a wheel hitting your head.

"When I come back this is something I want to discuss with (the FIA's) Charlie Whiting, the FIA and the drivers -- because we all need to work together," Massa added.

He explained that quite apart from the extraordinary safety standards of modern single seaters, there is always the risk of head injuries due to flying debris.

"I was very touched by his (Surtees') death.  And I told my wife straightaway about the accident of Henry ... 'Listen, this is what you need to be worried about.  This is something you have no control over.  It is not like a normal accident'.

"And then a week after that ... it happened to me," said Massa.

Button buckling under title pressure - Massa
(GMM)  Jenson Button is buckling under the pressure of his bid for the 2009 world championship, according to the runner-up of last year's title fight.

Felipe Massa is currently recovering from head injuries sustained in a qualifying crash in Hungary in late July, but he has followed the progress of the intervening races from his Sao Paulo home.

With Brawn driver Button's points lead shrinking amid a run of disappointing form in the wake of his meteoric start to the season, Ferrari's Massa believes the Briton is struggling to deal with pressure.

"At the start of the season everything was nice, everything was easy (for Button).

"But now we have races where things are more difficult.  So for me the pressure has had a big impact on his mind -- and he needs to deal with it better.  If he does not cope with the pressure he will not win the championship," added Massa.

Having lost out to Lewis Hamilton by one point following a thrilling finale in Brazil last year, Massa now hopes a fellow Paulista is in a similar position to overtake the title favorite at the looming end of 2009.

"Look at me -- I came to Brazil six points behind (Hamilton) and I almost won the championship.  Rubens (Barrichello) has five races to close 16 points.  It's a big possibility," Massa told Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"But it depends on Jenson.  If Jenson carries on in this bad way it will help Rubens a lot.  In my opinion, Jenson has gone down because of the pressure.  It's the only reason."

Massa contrasts Button's run of success until June's British grand prix to the pressure he subsequently faced in the form of the challenges by Red Bull and his teammate.

"In the earlier races he was almost half a second quicker than some teams.  You win the race easy and there is not so much pressure.  That's different to fighting hard for the championship.  Now he has a different kind of pressure," he said.

Massa to call first son Felipe
(GMM)  Felipe Massa and his wife Rafaela will name their first child after his Ferrari-driving father.

Brazilian Massa, 28, is currently recovering in his native Sao Paulo from head injuries sustained in Hungary in late July.

"I am very excited.  The baby is due just after the middle of November –- and we know it is a boy.  We will call him Felipe," he said in an extensive interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"I don't think I will ever forget 2009 because of this crash and, more importantly, becoming a father.  Positive things come out of even the most difficult times," the winner of 11 grands prix, and the 2008 championship runner-up, added.

Williams suggests team to re-join FOTA
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams now believes his Grove based formula one outfit will re-join the manufacturer-dominated teams association FOTA.

The fiercely independent British team was expelled by FOTA's directors earlier this year for breaking ranks amid the political turmoil and signing up for the 2010 world championship.

Williams, who said at the time he did not expect to re-join the Geneva based body, then further risked the ire of its rivals by blocking a test for Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, opposing a push for three-car team entries, and fighting its corner over measures for the 2010 technical and sporting rules.

But after the similarly expelled Force India indicated it intends to re-join FOTA, Sir Frank Williams has said in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper that he expects to also renew his team's membership "sooner rather than later".

The 67-year-old is however unapologetic about Williams' recent stances that have not made the team the most popular among rivals.

"Those are the rules and the rules are put together with more force and authority by the manufacturers than by teams like Williams," he explained.

"We've signed up to those rules and we expect all parties who are signed up to honor their signatures."

Williams said recently he would "block" Ferrari's push, backed reportedly by McLaren and Renault, to enter a third car in 2010, and now the Briton is prepared to explain his reasoning.

"If you have two or three elite teams with great resources and almost unbeatable cars, they will occupy the first four and a half rows on the grid (if they have 3 cars each).

"If you're team number five in the pecking order you have no chance of getting near the front of a grid.  It's not healthy," he said.

In the recent midst of the breakaway threats and reports of doom and gloom, Williams remained confident throughout that F1 would emerge with its strength.

His view remains the same now: "F1 has always enjoyed turbulent times.  It's never particularly stable.  But I have every confidence that it will be a highly regarded and well-followed sport 10 or 20 years from now."

Rossi not ruling out future F1 switch
(GMM)  Despite turning down the opportunity to race in formula one with Ferrari on more than one occasion, Valentino Rossi is refusing to rule out a future switch to the premier four-wheeled category.

Having also turned down Ferrari a few years ago, multiple MotoGP champion Rossi, 30, had some observers sensing a bid for mere publicity when he revealed that he was also in contention for Giancarlo Fisichella's Monza seat.

To Italian television Tg1, however, Rossi insists the news was "serious" but he simply "did not feel ready" to replace the injured Felipe Massa with so little preparation.

But "never say never", he is quoted as adding.

Rossi said Ferrari's interest dates back to his extensive tests for the Maranello marque a few years ago, "because I was fast back then".

He said figures for the Prancing Horse enquired of him, "What are you doing in bikes?  You need to be in formula one."

"I feel that I am still young.  I have time," Rossi said.

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