Massa given all-clear by Ferrari to begin comeback bid

Felipe Massa has been given the all-clear to begin training as he bids to return to the race track.
Injured Formula One star Felipe Massa is looking forward to taking his first steps towards driving again after passing a series of mental and physical tests in Miami.

His team Ferrari reported on its Web site on Tuesday that the Brazilian, who suffered horrific head wounds in Hungary in July, had come through the tests satisfactorily on Monday. “The checks (neurometric and impact tests, cognitive capacity tests) all had a positive outcome, just like the eye exam: everything is in order for Felipe to get back to racing,” the statement said. “Now there has just to be carried out some plastic surgery at the brain box, where the spring at the accident at the Hungaroring hit his helmet. “The surgery will take place in the upcoming days. After a short convalescence Felipe can then gradually start with physical preparations.” The 28-year-old, who finished second in last year’s world championship, said that he planned to take things slowly following the operation. “I’m very happy about the results,” he told before returning home to Sao Paulo. “After the small surgery in the next days I can finally start to go to the gym to get back into shape and drive some tests in karts.

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“On the track with a Formula One single-seater Let’s take it step by step. At the moment I’m concentrating on taking up physical activities, which is a great step forward.” Ferrari said Massa was expected to be at 100 percent fitness in time for the 2010 season, but gave no indication whether he would return to racing this year — he has, however, indicated that he would like to drive at his home Brazilian Grand Prix on October 18. His replacement, test driver Luca Spadoer, is not expected to drive at the Italian Grand Prix two weekends away after finishing last in his two races so far. Spadoer, who stepped into the breach when F1 legend Michael Schumacher was unable to make a shock return to the sport due to a neck problem, was not allowed to test drive the current Ferrari vehicle during the four-week summer break due to this year’s regulations. Veteran Italian Giancarlo Fisichella has been linked with Ferrari after finishing second at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, but his team Force India insist that he will race for them at Monza. Highly-rated Polish driver Robert Kubica is also in the running to replace Spadoer, with his team BMW Sauber dropping out of F1 at the end of this season. Spadoer’s results aside, Ferrari have enjoyed a renaissance since Massa’s injury, with 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen winning in Belgium to end a personal drought of 26 races and placing third in Valencia.