Though paddock speculation has linked him to a comeback in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in just under a month's time, Ferrari star Felipe Massa has said that a more realistic aim may be to return to the F1 starting grid for his home race at Interlagos in October.
Following his terrifying, life-threatening high-speed accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix late last month – when his helmet was punctured by an errant spring that had flown off the rear suspension of the Brawn GP of compatriot Rubens Barrichello just ahead of him on the track, leaving him requiring emergency surgery for a fractured skull and eye injuries – Massa spent nine days in hospital before returning to his Brazilian homeland.
Now happily on the road to recovery, whilst some had predicted that the São Paulista may never race again, the man himself is targeting a swift return. Anxious not to rejoin the action before he is fully ready, however – well aware that such a move could do more harm than good – Massa is set to undergo more detailed tests at the beginning of next month.
“I hope that I can be back at the Brazilian Grand Prix for my public, and perhaps even earlier, let's see,” he told Brazilian TV station Globo
. “I don't know if it will be possible, but I hope to be back in my home race, which is always very special to me. If the doctors here in Brazil say it is okay, I will first of all get into a kart. I hope to keep doing what I was doing before. I can hardly wait to go racing again.”
Admitting that his left eye is still not fully healed, Massa added that whilst resting back in Brazil he is sleeping, watching television and playing video games. With his progress being monitored by weekly medical tests, he also revealed that he remembers nothing from the impact – a fact that will doubtless facilitate his return to the cockpit.
“I didn't experience the crash,” underlined the 28-year-old. “I didn't see the part coming; I didn't see anything. I woke up three days later, and I only know about what happened because I watched it later. I was not afraid of dying at any time.
“I'm improving, [though] I'm still not 100 per cent and my sight in the left eye still isn't 100 per cent. I'm about 85 per cent, 90 per cent recovered. There is still a bit to go before I'm back to normal.”
Reflecting that he had been 'unlucky' for being struck by the spring but conversely 'very lucky' to have survived it, Massa added that he had telephoned his temporary replacement Luca Badoer to wish him well for this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia – what will be the Italian's first competitive appearance in the top flight in nigh-on a decade – and went on to thank staff at Budapest's AEK Hospital for the vital part they played in his convalescence, with the Brazilian undersecretary for sports affairs, Ricardo Leyser Goncalves, presenting the hospital with a trophy as a mark of the country's gratitude.