Felipe Massa has undergone more 'positive' tests as he continues to recover from the head and eye injuries he sustained in an accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix just over five weeks ago – but the Ferrari star's return to the Formula 1 grid may be delayed until 2010, it is being reported.
The latest tests were carried out at the Jackson Memorial Hospital Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit in Miami, Florida, under the watchful eye of esteemed neurosurgeon Dr Steve Olvey, and Ferrari has confirmed that Massa will soon be in a position to resume physical therapy as he prepares to return to competitive action.
'The neurometric and impact tests, as well as cognitive capacity tests, were all positive as was an eye exam,' revealed the Scuderia
on its website. 'Everything is in order for Felipe to get back to racing.'
Whilst it was initially feared that Massa might have suffered either brain damage or a permanent loss of vision in his left eye, the São Paulista happily appears to be on the road to a full recovery. However, he must first undergo plastic surgery at the point where he was struck by a rear suspension spring that had flown off the Brawn GP of compatriot Rubens Barrichello, piercing through his helmet as he travelled at 200mph around the Hungaroring, causing him to losing consciousness and leaving him with multiple fractures to his skull.
Ferrari revealed that the surgery will take place in the forthcoming days and 'after a short convalescence Felipe can then gradually start with his physical preparations' – but that all-but rules out a mooted comeback in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on 13 September [see separate story – click here
Massa himself has expressed his desire to return for his home outing in front of his adoring partisan supporters in the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on 18 October, but it now seems that his team is keener for him to rest and make sure he is fully back on-form again for the start of the 2010 F1 campaign.
“I'm very happy about the test results,” underlined the 28-year-old. “After this minor surgery I will finally be able to go to the gym to start getting back into shape. After that I'll drive some tests in karts. We're going to take this one step at a time. At the moment I'm concentrating on getting back into physical shape, which is already a great step forward.”