Broken suspension caused Felipe Massa to crash in Monaco Grand Prix
The Brazilian crashed twice at the St Devote corner during the race weekend
Massa says he has slight neck pain but nothing more serious
Ferrari are focused on consistency at the next grand prix in Canada
Ferrari have absolved driver Felipe Massa from any blame after he crashed out of the Monaco Grand Prix, saying the collision was caused by car failure.
The Brazilian, who suffered serious head injuries in an incident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, crashed twice in two days at Monte Carlo’s demanding street circuit.
When Massa collided with the barriers at the first corner during final practice on Saturday, Ferrari blamed the accident on driver error.
The damage to the car was so significant that Massa had to sit out qualifying because the Ferrari mechanics could not mend his scarlet racer in time.
During Sunday’s race, Massa had worked his way up from the back of the grid when he was taken out by a spookily similar accident at the same St Devote corner.
“After an initial evaluation carried out on based on telemetry data, the engineers looked at all the components of Massa’s car, especially those that sustained damage in the heavy impact when the car crashed on lap 29 of the race,” explained Ferrari after carrying out an nvestigation at their Maranello headquarters.
“The findings validated the first impressions of the engineers, confirming that the accident was caused by an element of the front left suspension breaking.”
Massa was attended to by medical staff on the side of the circuit before being taken for a full check-up.
“I was taken to hospital for all the precautionary checks and luckily everything is in order,” said Massa.
“I’m all right, I’ve just got a slight pain in my neck, but nothing serious. Now I will look to get in shape and be back 100% for the Montreal race,” added the Brazilian, referring to the Canadian GP.
“All I want to do is put this bad weekend behind me and think about doing well in the rest of the season.”
Massa sat out the second half of the 2009 Formula One season after he fractured his skull and was put into an induced coma following a freak accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
He was hit on the helmet by a spring that had fallen off Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP car and plunged at high-speed into the barriers.
Any subsequent incident involving Massa has an extra poignancy following the 2009 trauma, which sent shockwaves through the close-knit F1 paddock.
“The best news to come out of the Monaco weekend is that Felipe is fine,” said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.
“Two big accidents, just over 24 hours apart and all he has to show for it is a bit of muscle pain. Fortunately there were no other injuries.”
Ferrari’s championship contender Fernando Alonso, who won the previous race in Spain, had a subdued weekend in Monaco, finishing seventh after a difficult race in the principality.
The Spaniard retained third place in the drivers’ championship but he has now fallen 29 points behind Red Bull’s leader Sebastian Vettel and is eight points adrift of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen after six events in the 19-race season.
The season resumes in Canada next month and Domenicali said the team were steeling themselves for a season of ups and downs.
“This championship seems to be a real rollercoaster of emotions,” commented Domenicali. “Following on from a good weekend comes a bad one.
“From now on, it will be important to establish a consistent level of performance. The championship standings are very close and the number of strong opponents is ever increasing.
“It’s a scenario in which each point is precious and each hundredth of performance becomes important and obviously we are well aware that one less reliability problem can be very significant in terms of how the championship pans out.
“We have a lot of work to do in the coming days to be as well prepared as possible for Montreal.”
Meanwhile former Toyota and Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi got behind the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car for the first time on Monday.
The Japanese driver, who lost his Sauber seat at the end of 2012, is now part of the “Ferrari family” and will drive the 2010 F1 car at a demonstration event in Russia, as well as racing in the World Endurance Championship for the Italian marque.