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Massa motivated to make winning return with Ferrari

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Felipe Massa returns to F1
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ferrari's Felipe Massa is "100 percent motivated" as he prepares to return to F1
  • Brazilian set fastest time in first two days of official testing ahead of 2010 season
  • It was his first time back in a competitive car after horrific crash in Hungary in July
  • Massa was left in a coma and needed skull surgery in order to return to motorsport
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Valencia, Spain (CNN) -- Ferrari driver Felipe Massa says he is "100 percent motivated" as he prepares to return to Formula One less than a year after an horrific 200 kilometers-per-hour accident left him in a coma with a fractured skull.

The Brazilian returned to the wheel of a competitive F1 vehicle in Spain this week for the first time since that incident in Hungary last July, and dispelled any doubts about his capability to perform again by setting the fastest times in testing on Monday and Tuesday.

The 28-year-old told CNN at the circuit in Valencia that he is ready to challenge for the title again, having fallen just one point short of winning the coveted crown in 2008.

Blog: Massa will be a title contender

"For me, 2009 was a very difficult season. I'm not just talking about my crash, but at the beginning the car was not as competitive as we expected," Massa said.

"And then we had my accident. It was a very difficult time for me, I stayed for so long at home just waiting to get better, and it was not easy. I think I learned a lot and I really feel 100 percent motivated to come back and do my job, which is racing in Formula One in a great team.

"I'm really looking forward to 2010. We can have a competitive season, fighting for victories and fighting for the championship, getting back to what we did in 2008."

Massa is confident that he is suffering no ill effects from the life-threatening accident that saw a loose piece of compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn vehicle hit him in the helmet, causing him to smash into a tire barrier.

He spent a week in hospital, and needed a titanium plate inserted into his skull to strengthen it.

I really feel 100 percent motivated to come back and do my job, which is racing in Formula One in a great team
--Felipe Massa

"First of all, I don't remember anything about my accident," Massa said. "So that's a good point, that I don't really have the bad things on my mind. My brain... I was not in the accident, I just saw it on the television after. I try [to remember it] but it's not part of my life."

After weeks of rest he was able to start physical rehabilitation, before finally driving an old Ferrari F1 car in a private test.

"I was straight away, quick, consistent -- I did many laps and it was like it was before. After three laps, I said 'No, I'm back to my business,'" Massa said, breaking into a big smile.

Massa's first year at Ferrari in 2006 was also the final season for Michael Schumacher before the seven-time world champion decided to retire, though he continued with the Italian marque as a consultant up until the end of 2009 and would have replaced Massa in a race seat following the crash in Budapest if not for a neck injury.

The 41-year-old German will be back on the circuit this year after deciding to return with the new Mercedes team, which took over world champions Brawn at the end of last year.

The season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent times, with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso joining Massa at Ferrari and last year's winner Jenson Button switching to McLaren alongside 2008 victor Lewis Hamilton.

"For the sport, it's fantastic that Michael is back," Massa said. "I hope he has a good comeback and I hope we have a good fight together -- not just Michael and myself, but also so many drivers.

"I am able to win, everybody knows that, I don't need to prove anything to anyone. But definitely in Formula One every year you need to prove yourself. Every year, things change. Even if you are Michael Schumacher, you need to prove yourself.

"If you have a fantastic three or four races, like Jenson he won everything at the beginning and then he didn't win anything anymore, so there was a big question about what's happened. You need to prove yourself every day."