Felipe Massa described his return to the cockpit of this year's Ferrari F60 as feeling as satisfying as a grand prix victory.
The Brazilian completed several demonstration laps in the team's 2009 car at today's World Finals event – Ferrari's traditional end of season celebration – at Valencia. It was the first time Massa had driven the F60 since he was injured in Hungarian GP qualifying in July, as the testing restrictions meant he had to use a 2008 car for his comeback test last month.
"It was fantastic and I am so happy," said Massa. "Although I could drive just a little, I really enjoyed being here. I am very motivated – this today for me is like victory. It was just like before the accident at the Hungaroring."
He said the Valencia event had been even more special than his test return at Fiorano or his appearances at the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.
"I am very happy to be here, that I can work with the team," said Massa. "It's true that I've been with them in Sao Paulo and in Abu Dhabi, but driving is really extraordinary. Today I also want to thank all the fans, who were really close to me over the last months. The messages I received were wonderful. Let's hope that we can give our fans some satisfaction in 2010."
The World Finals also marked Fernando Alonso's first official appearance for Ferrari. Team chairman Luca di Montezemolo is confident that in Alonso and Massa the squad will have the best lineup in the 2010 F1 field.
"For me, Felipe and Fernando are the best drivers couple in Formula 1," said di Montezemolo. "I am convinced that they both will be very motivated and will want to win. I am not worried about having two Latin drivers, which may be for the first time in our history. They both know very well that first of all they are racing for Ferrari and not for themselves."