Massa to return to Brazil

Felipe Massa is to return home to Sao Paulo on Monday just nine days after fracturing his skull in a freak accident.

Felipe Massa is to return home to Sao Paulo on Monday just nine days after fracturing his skull in a freak accident.

Massa has made a swift recovery from life-saving surgery required on Saturday after the accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Massa was struck by a suspension spring that had worked its way off Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP, resulting in the Brazilian crashing his Ferrari into a tyre barrier.

After the operation, Massa spent two days in a medically-induced coma, but since waking earlier this week, has improved rapidly.

Speaking at the AEK military hospital in Budapest, Massa’s personal doctor, Dino Altmann, confirmed the 28-year-old is to head home via private plane on Monday.

“Felipe continues to improve,” said Altmann.

“He is doing very well, and we have already decided to go back home on Monday to Sao Paulo.”

It had been suggested after a few days surrounded by family and friends in Brazil, Massa would then attend the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris to continue his rehabilitation.

The clinic is where Michael Schumacher was treated after breaking his leg in an accident at the British Grand Prix 10 years ago.

However, Altmann has maintained there is no requirement for Massa to fly to Paris, and instead he will now focus on his recuperation at home.

“He is to continue his recovery and return to racing as soon as possible, that’s the plan,” added Altmann.

“He is in a very good mood, good shape, and he just wants to come back soon.”

On Wednesday, Ferrari turned to Schumacher as replacement for Massa until the latter is fit enough to return.

The seven-times world champion has wasted no time in preparing for his comeback, which will be in three weeks at the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

Just 48 hours after confirming he would serve as Massa’s stand-in, Schumacher was today behind the wheel of a 2007-spec car at the team’s test track in Mugello.

With in-season testing banned, Schumacher is not allowed to drive this season’s Ferrari, but can run an older model.

Yesterday Schumacher completed simulator work to get a feel for the car’s current steering wheel and plethora of buttons.

He said: “I was in Maranello to check the functionality of the steering wheel at the static simulator. Of course, I also took the opportunity to again discuss with the engineers how to proceed further.

“There is this test ban in Formula One, therefore I contacted some of the guys from F1 Clienti (the technician team at Maranello) if they could give me a car.

“Although the cars are not current or last year’s, I simply like to drive as much as possible, so it was a good option. The next weeks are totally about preparation.”

However, in a bid to ensure Schumacher is up to speed, the team have written to the other nine teams and the FIA requesting the German be allowed a one-day test with this year’s Ferrari.

The other seven members of the Formula One Teams’ Association – McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso – have apparently given the green light.

Toyota Motorsport boss John Howett said: “Toyota’s understanding is that all FOTA teams have agreed to accept this request.

“The situation for Felipe is very unfortunate, and this is a sporting gesture which I am confident Ferrari will respect.”

The FIA are looking into the matter, along with the non-FOTA teams in Williams and Force India.

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