x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Double boost for Formula One

The short-term future of the sport is secure as Ferrari driver Felipe Massa continues to recover.

Fresh from announcing a Formula One comeback which shocked international motorsport, Michael Schumacher has visited his injured Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa in hospital. Massa is still recovering from surgery on multiple skull fractures following his high-speed crash in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix eight days ago, and the pair's close relationship - evidenced by Schumacher's visit - is believed to be the chief reason why he sensationally agreed to come out of retirement for 2009's remaining six races.

The seven-time world champion was accompanied to Budapest by former Ferrari boss Jean Todt. Neither spoke to waiting media. On man talking was Dino Altman - Massa's family doctor - who confirmed the 28-year old Brazilian driver will return home on a private jet tomorrow. "He's doing well and anxious to go home," said Altman. Meanwhile, F1's future has been secured after its 12 teams and the FIA, the sport's world governing body, signed a new Concorde Agreement, a statement from the latter saying the agreement heralded "a renewed period of stability for the FIA Formula One World Championship".

The document, which runs until the end of 2012, ends months of bitter wrangling between the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association (Fota) over the governance and future of the sport. Proposed cost-cutting measures were at the centre of the stand-off, with the FIA eager to rein in exorbitant spending and entice new teams to the paddock. A war of words ensued and at one point a breakaway seemed inevitable as both sides stubbornly dug in.

However, the ultimate agreement indicates - according to the FIA statement - that Fota have now agreed to return "expenditure to the levels that prevailed in the early 1990s". BMW Sauber, who this week confirmed they would pull out of Formula One at the end of the season, are the only current team to have not signed the document. It is understood BMW's bosses have until Wednesday to sign the document, a move which would allow any backer taking over the team to benefit from the Concorde Agreement's provisions.

New Grand Prix teams USF1, Campos Meta and Manor GP have all signed the agreement. emegson@thenational.ae