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GP Week : Issue 66
Massa to make F2007 return FELIPE Massa will make a remarkable comeback to the seat of a Ferrari Formula 1 car within the next few weeks, less than three months after his horri c accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Brazilian, who made a return to racing last week at a go-kart event in his homeland, will fly to Ferrari's base in Maranello, Italy, today and is due to conduct exactly the same style of F1 test as did Michael Schumacher when he was evaluating his chances of standing in for the injured Brazilian in the immediate aftermath of his injury. Ferrari team Principal Stefano Domenicali insisted that a return for Massa was "unlikely" in 2009, and that the test would be carried out to check on Massa's continuing recovery to race fitness for 2010. "Our main target is to make sure Felipe is OK from the physical point of view, as it was for Michael Schumacher in the early summer," said the Italian. "We asked the FIA to make sure that the there is no breach of any kind of sporting or testing regulation and this gave us the clearance for this kind of test. It means that when we are ready we will do a test at Fiorano with an F2007 historical car with no changes. Just the customer car and GP2 tyres. "It is in order to see how it is from his medical point of view -- this is why we have asked the FIA medical delegate to be there. But it is not really a test. It is to see how his body reacts to driving a Formula 1 car, even if is not up-to-date. That is not what we care about, it is to give him an indication how the recovery is going." THE Formula One Teams' Association is discussing a novel cost-saving initiative which could see all future F1 car launches take place at one event, held at the start of the winter testing season. Such a concept would save the teams the expense of organising their own launches and would allow the media to save its nances by attending just the one event rather than 13 or potentially 14 di erent launch events. Most importantly the event could be opened to the public, allowing fans from around the world a rst glance at that season's cars and allowing them access to their favourite drivers through autograph sessions and PR events. It is a concept utilised already in the DTM where, for the last four years, a championship launch has taken place in the German city of Dusseldorf and has become widely seen as one of the highlights of the championship's calendar. FOTA Vice Chairman John Howett con rmed to GPWeek that the idea was under discussion: "Yeah, it is on the table for discussion. The idea was that we understand that some of the media are struggling to attend 16 launches and overall it would seem to be fairly good for the sport to have a big launch and save costs. One of the challenges is to have the cars ready at a similar time because we're all very much on the edge to do that. It's not nal but it's certainly something that is being serious considered. "At the moment the idea was [to start in] 2010," he continued. "I can't guarantee it's going to happen because there are quite a few challenges, but it may happen, but not with everybody, which wouldn't be ideal -- but if we don't start some of these ideas then it's more challenging to carry on. We have to wait, you need to give us a little more time to study it, but it is something which is being considered." The Formula 1 teams could be set to reap additional cash by having individual cities bid for the right to host such events, with launches moving location year-on-year in a similar style to the Olympic Games. The host city could then be responsible for footing a percentage of the cost for such an event. Group launch for F1? THE big news in GP2-land is that 2008 championship runner-up Bruno Senna is set to test for his former team iSport International at this week's test at Jerez. The Brazilian is expected to use this test to get himself up to pace and match-fit in a single seater before conducting post- season F1 tests in the three days allotted for young drivers. Meanwhile, the GP2 Asia Series has announced it will have just four rounds in its third season, with the venues split 50:50 between Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi and Sakhir in Bahrain. THE 10 inaugural GP3 teams have been announced. Current GP2 teams Addax and ART will join the new championship as will Arden whose GP3 team will be run in collaboration with F1 star Mark Webber to form MW Arden. Hitech marks its return to the fold after a one-year link with the Piquet GP2 team in 2005 to join GP3 in its own right and it will be joined by Carlin, Jenzer, Manor, Mücke, Status and Tech 1. Each team will run three cars in the F1 and GP2 support series which begins in 2010. GP2/3 Update 10