x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Massa's comeback drive gets thumbs up

The Brazilian says he is content with his first drive back in Formula One since recovering from the head injuries he suffered at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.

Bernie Ecclestone has informed Simon Gillett over contract.
Bernie Ecclestone has informed Simon Gillett over contract.

Felipe Massa said he was content with his first drive back in Formula One since recovering from the head injuries he suffered at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July. The Brazilian drove Ferrari's 2007 car at the Italian team's Maranello test track on Monday afternoon, and he believes he has fully recovered from the incident in Budapest that saw him struck on the helmet by a loose spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car.

"It went very well," Massa said of the test. "What happened last July 25 has not changed anything. "I didn't manage to do many laps because it was raining but what I understood today is that everything has returned to how it was before the accident. "I didn't have any problems, it was as if I'd never stopped. "I am still the same as before and that makes me happy, for me and for the team." Massa, 28, who will wave the chequered flag in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, has been ruled out by Ferrari from returning to race action before the end of the season.

The Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella will continue to deputise for him in his home Grand Prix this weekend and then in the final race in of the season in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, the Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has denied giving Donington Park more time to provide the financial guarantees needed to host next year's British Grand Prix. Track chief executive Simon Gillett had claimed that Ecclestone had given them an extra 14 days to prove they had the backing to host the race next year.

But Ecclestone refuted this. He told The Daily Telegraph: "We haven't decided to give Gillett another deadline at all. We have informed him he is in breach of contract. "The contract which we have gives him 14 days to remedy the breach. "Most business contracts are like that. People interpret things the way they want to interpret them. It would be hard if you were standing in a court today arguing what he said was wrong. But he hasn't been given another deadline at all.

"He has been given, like the contract says, another two weeks to remedy the breach. No deadline has changed." Ecclestone said he had not spoken to Gillett, but the Formula One boss emphasised the deal with Donington would be over if Gillett does not rectify the situation in two weeks. "I've been thinking he's going to come through all the way along because he's sort of led me to believe it's all OK," Ecclestone said.

"But I have no reason to discuss anything with him. He's either going to remedy the breach or he isn't. "If he isn't then that's the end of the story. If he is then we're going to have to make sure that he does all the other things that the contract provides for." Ecclestone had initially set an end of September deadline but has twice extended it since then. Donington has promised to invest £100 million ($158.6 million) in revamping the circuit over a five-year period.

* With agencies