Massa lost the rear end of his FW40 on the exit of Malmedy and veered straight on into the safety barriers, inflicting severe damage to the cars' left front end.
Massa was returning to action after missing the Hungarian Grand Prix three weeks ago where he fell ill and relinquished his seat to Williams reserve drive Paul di Resta.
Calling it "a day to forget for the team", Massa explained the cause of the accident and said it was unavoidable due to the small run-off area. "I didn't expect to have this problem in the first lap of the session". "On the first lap I was just trying to understand the track and when I touched the inside curb at corner seven the rear of the auto just came around and I lost the rear".
"We are having to change the chassis", confirmed a Williams spokesperson.
"It was quite a big crash so the vehicle was completely damaged and we had to change the chassis, and then the FIA didn't let us go out because they need to check the auto and they couldn't do it".
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The incident leaves Massa with limited time to get comfortable with his vehicle on Saturday before qualifying, having only completed two laps in total.
"I hope we can fix everything and understand the vehicle". I think when you miss two sessions for sure it doesn't help.
"We'll try to get some track time in FP2 but it is a long shot to be honest".
This piece has been edited for clarity since its initial publication.
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