Brazilian's health improving, but who will replace him at Ferrari?
28 July 2009

Felipe Massa's recovery is going so well that he could walk out of hospital by the end of next week, his doctor has said.

Peter Bazso, the medical director of the hospital, told Hungarian TV: "My expectation is that he would walk out of the hospital on his own. If his recovery continues at this pace, I wouldn't rule out that he could leave within ten days."

Massa has been brought out of an induced coma and has now been taken off a respirator

"He's spending more and more time awake, talking to family and friends," Bazso said.

Meanwhile, speculation is mounting as to who will replace the injured Felipe Massa at Ferrari.

Although doctors have not said how long his recovery will take, it is widely anticpated he will not race again this season.

Speculation has so far centered on two drivers - Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.

Schumacher retains close links with Ferrari, and his return would be a major publicity coup for the team and sport.

Schumacher's spokesman said: "The whole thing will be considered by Ferrari. If they approach Michael, then he will consider it."

However, his manager, Willi Weber, has said the prospect of racing again has been “ruled out”.

Alonso has been linked with a full-time move to Ferrari next year, and Renault's ban from the next race in Valencia could open the way for him to switch early.

The Spaniard is reported to have a clause in his contract that says Renault must provide him with a car for every race, and its ban will therefore break the contract, allowing him to move to Ferrari.

This would be extremely popular with the organisers of the next race, the European Grand Prix in Valencia, which currently faces the prospect of hosting the event without Alonso racing in front of his home crowd.

Ferrari’s back up drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene are two obvious possibilities; however neither has raced in F1 for several years.

The other possibility being discussed is Sebastien Bourdais, who was recently released from Torro Rosso, which used Ferrari engines.

Ferrari bosses have said they are in no rush to make a decision, especially as F1 is now enjoying its summer break. The Valencia race is not until 23 August.

Katie Morley

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