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Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 09:39 UK

Massa fearless over racing return

Felipe Massa
Massa insists he has no doubts about getting back into a Formula 1 car

Felipe Massa believes his life-threatening accident in July will not affect his ability and desire to race.

The Ferrari star's skull was fractured when it was hit by a spring from Rubens Barrichello's car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Massa told the Guardian: "If I don't drive then I am not the same person.

"I really hope, and expect, nothing will change inside of me when I go back into the car and start pushing to the maximum again."

The accident happened after a spring that fell from fellow Brazilian Barrichello's Brawn GP car hit Massa's helmet while he was travelling at more than 160mph.

Pressure on the brakes reduced Massa's speed to about 60mph when he hit the tyre wall but his injuries were described as "life-threatening" and there were fears for his sight.

In my opinion, Jenson has gone down because of the pressure - it is the only reason

Felipe Massa

Yet the 28-year-old has revealed that the hardest part of his recovery has been his absence from the track and he insisted he has no fears about returning to the sport that almost cost him his life.

"The worst thing that happened was not being able to race. If you can't drive that's terrible," he added.

"My wife has already asked me, at least 10 times, 'Are you sure you don't feel any doubts or worries?' Always, I say, 'No, because this is what I like to do.' Ever since I was a small boy this is my life. This is what I like to do."

606: DEBATE

Massa had wanted to return to action for the Brazilian Grand Prix, this season's penultimate race on 18 October, but has now conceded that will not happen as his doctors have advised against it.

"It was the race I wanted to come back in," he said. "But it is difficult to say if it would have been possible."

Before a return to Formula 1 is possible for Massa, he will need an operation to implant a titanium-infused plate in his head.

"A normal guy can live like this without any problem but for a driver, if you have an accident and you have this problem, the recovery is more difficult," he revealed.

"That's why I need this surgery to close the bone. I will have it soon because that's the only reason they won't allow me to race now.

Massa's first interview since crash

"Otherwise I feel the same as before. I'm going to Europe to use the simulator and drive some go-karts and then I will know very well if I am 100%."

Ferrari have predicted Massa will make his comeback in the first race of the 2010 season, which is scheduled to take place in Bahrain on 14 March.

The team have said they are looking forward to "being able to count on Felipe 100% for the start of the next racing season".

As for the rest of this season, Massa will watch the drama unfold with interest - and he feels the title is a long way from being decided.

Brawn's Jenson Button tops the standings on 72 points, 16 ahead of his team-mate Barrichello.

However, the Englishman has struggled to replicate the early-season form that gave him six wins in the first seven grands prix of the season, taking only 11 points in the last five races.

Massa said: "In my opinion, Jenson has gone down because of the pressure. It is the only reason.

"Rubens has five races to close 16 points. It's a big possibility but it depends on Jenson. If Jenson carries on in this way it will help Rubens a lot.

"If Jenson does not cope with the pressure he will not win the championship."



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see also
Ferrari 'count on' Massa for 2010
01 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Massa targets return at home GP
18 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Massa leaves Brazilian hospital
04 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
F1 to investigate Massa accident
26 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Felipe Massa
21 Jul 09 |  Drivers & Teams


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