Felipe Massa Ill Will Miss Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix
Paul Di Resta will take his place in qualifying and for the race.
After the Friday practice sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Williams driver Felipe Massa was taken to the track medical center and then to a local hospital. He had been complaining of dizziness and nausea.
By Saturday morning, he was feeling better and was cleared to drive by the track medical center. After Saturday's Free Practice 3, the symptoms returned. At the point, the decision was made to replace Massa with reserve driver Paul Di Resta for the remainder of the weekend.
Though he has competed in 58 Formula One Grand Prix, he hasn't driven in an F1 race since the end of 2013 season. Di Resta is a very accomplished driver, having been the 2010 DTM champion. He currently competes in that series, so it's not as if he's been lounging out by the pool, waiting to maybe get a call to drive.
The thing is, he'll be getting his first taste of a 2017 Formula One in qualifying. He's most likely done lots of simulator work for Williams so it won't be a completely foreign environment. But the speed, downforce, and grip of the 2017 cars and the effect those things have on the human body are something the simulator can't replicate. And the twisty Hungarian circuit will be unforgiving on the unprepared.
Of all the various reserve drivers to have, Di Resta is among the best. I don't think Williams is expecting any miracles or heroics out of him. Do your best, don't crash, and maybe we'll get lucky with a sneaky pit strategy is probably the game plan.
Hilariously, it seems that Di Resta was on-site in Hungry as he was working the race weekend as a commentator Sky Sports, filling in for Martin Brundell who fell ill. When Massa then became ill, Di Resta was already at the track, but as a reserve commentator. Not too bad of a promotion, commentator to Grand Prix driver in about 24 hours.