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October 13, 2009

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Massa back in F1 car for test ride

FERRARI driver Felipe Massa took his first test drive in a Formula One car since a life-threatening accident and said yesterday he's back to the driver he was before.
He drove the 2007 Ferrari race car at the Fiorano circuit near the Italian team's Maranello headquarters.
"It went very well. It seems that what happened in July hasn't changed anything," he told reporters. "I felt fine physically and it felt like the accident never happened."
"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."
Massa was knocked unconscious by a loose car part in qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July and crashed into a safety barrier. He injured his left eye area and required surgery and later had a metal plate inserted.
After an initial lap to get reoriented, Massa returned to the garage briefly and then headed back out on the track.
On Saturday, Massa was cleared in medical exams with governing body FIA at a hospital in Paris.
While he has hinted several times since the accident that he would like to return for the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP on November 1, Ferrari has said that Massa won't race again until next season.
"In no way does it (the test) signify a return to competition in the near future," Ferrari said on its 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."
But Massa told Gazzetta dello Sport's Website that "I didn't have any problem with my vision and I would be prepared to race not just one but two races in a row."
"Obviously there is a timeline that needs to be respected, but I can tell you I'm back to the same driver I was before the accident," he said.
Massa said he was 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 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.


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