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Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 14:02 UK

Ferrari 'count on' Massa for 2010

Felipe Massa
Massa, pictured arriving back in Brazil in August, is making good progress

Felipe Massa's hopes of a Formula 1 return have been boosted by positive test results, but Ferrari say they do not expect him to return this season.

Massa suffered serious head injuries at the Hungarian Grand Prix but his latest tests went well in Miami on Monday.

The Brazilian, 28, should return to training in preparation for a race return after plastic surgery this week.

Ferrari said they looked forward to "being able to count on Felipe 100% for the start of the next racing season".

A statement on their website said: "Naturally the results were received with great joy and satisfaction at Maranello."

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Massa underwent neurological and vision tests at the Jackson memorial hospital in Miami with leading motorsport neurosurgeon Steve Olvey on Monday.

"I'm very happy with the outcome of the exams," said the Brazilian.

"After the small surgery that I will have done in the next few days, I can finally start working out a little in the gym to get back in form, and then I can start some kart training.

"When will I be back on a Formula 1 track? Let's take one step at a time. Right now I'm just focused on starting physical activity again, which is already a big step forward."

The Brazilian driver had previously targeted an emotional return to action at his home grand prix in Sao Paulo on 18 October.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is the penultimate race of the 2009 season, but Ferrari's comments mean Massa could return five months later for the first race of 2010, scheduled for Bahrain on 14 March.

Massa's Ferrari race seat has been occupied by veteran test driver Luca Badoer for the last two grands prix but the Italian has failed to impress and is widely expected to be replaced before the next race - the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on 13 September.

Massa's accident on 25 July happened after a spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car hit his helmet.

He was travelling at more than 160mph when the object hit him, but pressure on the brakes reduced his speed to about 60mph when he hit the tyre wall.

At first the injuries were described as "life-threatening" and there were fears for his sight.

Former Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher was set to come out of retirement to deputise for his friend while he recovered, before a neck injury put paid to the German's comeback plan.

Since then Massa has made a good recovery and is now back home recuperating.

He will have to undergo a rigorous medical examination at the hands of the International Motorsport Federation (FIA) and also specialist eye check-up before he is allowed behind the wheel of an F1 car.



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see also
Massa targets return at home GP
18 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher sad at F1 abandonment
12 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher calls off F1 comeback
11 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Massa leaves Brazilian hospital
04 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Massa set to fly home to Brazil
31 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Three teams block Schumacher test
04 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher makes shock F1 return
29 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Felipe Massa
21 Jul 09 |  Drivers & Teams
F1 to investigate Massa accident
26 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
David Coulthard column
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Massa's crash explained
26 Jul 09 |  Formula 1


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