Ferrari firm on Massa return
Brazilian says he feels 'like normal' after test drive in 2007 Ferrari F1 car.
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2009 14:32 GMT

Massa puts the old 2007 Ferrari through its paces near the Ferrari base at Maranello [EPA]

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa got back behind the wheel of a Formula One car less than three months after his life-threatening accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix – but his team insist he will not race this season.

The Brazilian drove the 2007 Ferrari race car at the Fiorano circuit near the Italian team's Maranello headquarters on Monday - and said he felt like his old self.

"It went very well. It seems that what happened in July hasn't changed anything," he said.
"I didn't manage to do many laps because of the rain but everything we've done up to now has been normal like before.

"It's positive for me and for the team to see I'm the same as before.

"I didn't have any vision problems and today I would be ready to do, not one race, but two straight after each other," he said.

Abu Dhabi hopes

Last week Massa, who fractured his skull after being hit by bouncing debris during qualifying in Hungary in July, said he had slight hopes of racing in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next month.

But the team made it clear before Monday's test that the 2008 Drivers Championship runner-up will not make his competitive return until the start of next season.

"Naturally there is a period of time that must elapse first for precautionary reasons. But, having been in the car, I can say that I'm the same as before the accident," Massa said.

He said he now keen to start work on next year's race car so that he and his soon-to-be teammate Fernando Alonso will have the raw materials to be able to bounce back from a difficult season.

"(We can) start preparing for next year, which won't be an easy year because this one has been hard, and work to have a good car and fight for the championship," he said.

Ferrari made sure to put an end to speculation about an early return.

"In no way does it (the test) signify a return to competition in the near future," read a statement on Ferrari's website.

"Felipe and the team want to proceed gradually and without any hurry to recover as well as possible from the effects of the accident that happened in Budapest back on July 25th.

"Therefore talk of a proper return to Formula 1 can wait until the start of the 2010 season."

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