Felipe Massa gave Ferrari's 2009 challenger - the F60 its shakedown test at Mugello on January 12, 2009.
Ferrari confirmed that it would equip the F60 with KERS several days before the season opening Australian Grand Prix. Friday practice session did not begin so well for Massa as he recorded the 7th and 10th fastest times. Saturday qualifying fared little better as he lined up 7th (although was promoted to 6th as Glock's Toyota was disqualified).
In the race the Ferrari's poor ability to handle its tyres lead to their aggressive race strategy of super soft/medium/medium compounds paying little dividends after the first 6 laps (where the Ferraris moved to the front of the pack). Although Massa managed to stay in the top 3 for the first half of the race, the exceptionally quick graining of the super soft tyres forced him onto a 3 stop strategy. Before he was able to complete the race a mechanical problem forced him to retire.
In Malaysia, an error of judgement by Ferrari meant that Massa failed to make it through the first session of qualifying. In an interview to Globo TV, Massa revealed that he and the team believed that his initial time was quick enough to proceed into Q2, and refrained from recording further times in order to conserve the car's engine. However, this was not the case, and Massa subsequently ended up in 16th for the race.
In the race, Massa was classified as having finished in 9th, just outside of the points-paying positions, after the meet was abandoned on the 33rd lap due to torrential rain. Massa also failed to score in the next two races, retiring from the Chinese Grand Prix with electrical problems, and finishing well outside of the point scoring positions in 14th in Bahrain.
In Spain, Ferrari arrived with an upgraded car which attempted to fix many of the flaws present in the prior races. With the new car Massa managed to qualify in fourth place. He managed to maintain third position for a majority of the race before a computer issue showed the car as having less fuel than it should have, forcing him to conserve fuel in the final 10 laps, allowing Vettel and Alonso to cruise past, only for him to realise that the car had enough fuel for him not to need to conserve, after the race. The much upgraded car showed its pace by setting the third fastest time of the race after the two Brawns and in front of both Red Bull cars.
Monaco was another step in terms of improvement for the car as Massa finished fourth in the race, with fastest race lap. After qualifying a disappointing 8th, Massa produced a mistake free drive to net his first podium position of the season with a 3rd place at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. After making a great start to 4th place, he used his fuel strategy while defending from other drivers and looking after his tyres to take the final podium place.
Accident and injury.
In the second round of qualifying in the Hungarian Grand Prix Massa was struck on the helmet by a suspension spring that had fallen from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn, on a high-speed part of the track.
He subsequently crashed head on into a tyre wall. He was moved to the trackside hospital and Ferrari's team principal later stated that Massa was in a stable condition and would not participate in the race on the following day. t was subsequently announced that he had suffered a fractured skull and brain concussion, as well as a gash on his forehead, and that he had undergone successful surgery on his injuries at the AEK hospital in Budapest. is condition was initially described as "life threatening but stable" but has since shown signs of improvement and was removed from an induced coma.
Massa's neurosurgeon, Róbert Veres, has said that as a result of his injuries, the Brazilian's 2009 season is over, and that his future as a motorsport driver is in doubt as there is no guarantee that his eyesight will not be affected. However, the hospital's medical director, Péter Bazsó, clarified this, stating that damage to Massa's eye cannot be assessed until he is able to open it.
He also stated that, at this pace of recovery, he could leave hospital ten days after the accident. Massa's personal doctor, Dino Altmann, also the chief medical officer for the Brazilian Grand Prix, stated on July 28 that Massa has managed to open his left eye and can see out of it. He also managed to speak to his family and Ferrari bosses in Portuguese, Italian and English.
Massa at the 2009 Turkish Grand Prix.