A determined Felipe Massa says he has no second thoughts about returning to Formula 1 with Ferrari next year, despite the serious injuries he received in his Hungarian Grand Prix crash.
The Brazilian is still recovering from the skull fractures that he suffered after a spring from Rubens Barrichello's car struck him in the face during qualifying at the Hungaroring.
Although the accident has forced him to sit out the season and highlighted the dangers of racing, Massa is adamant that getting back behind the cockpit is the only thing he wants to do.
"Of course, it is my life," he said in a lengthy interview with Britain's The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday. "For me, the worst thing that happened was not being able to race. If you can't drive that's terrible. But my wife has already asked me, at least 10 times, 'Are you sure you don't feel any doubts or worries?' Always, I say, 'No – because this is what I like to do.'
"If I don't drive then I am not the same person. Ever since I was a small boy this is my life. This is what I like to do. So I really hope, and expect, nothing will change inside of me when I go back into the car and start pushing myself to the maximum again."
When asked if there had not been a moment during his recovery when he had hesitated about coming back, Massa said: "No. For my family it was very difficult because they followed everything and went through a lot. But for me it was less than that.
"As soon as it happened I was unconscious and three days later I woke up. In hospital I saw nothing of the accident. It was just Hungarian television channels. I only heard what they said happened to me. And for me this was strange – can a spring from another car really do this to a bone in my head?
"I first saw it when I got home on television - just like you. But I had other accidents that disturbed me a lot more. When I lost the brakes in Monaco in 2002 it was a huge crash. And I crashed twice in Barcelona because I had a problem with my suspension - and that was an accident that made me think.
"But this accident in Hungary is like something I never even saw. So my wife was only asking gentle questions, like, 'You don't think maybe... ?' And I say, 'No, I am racing again.' My mother also knows me a lot. Sometimes she is looking at me and thinking but she knows not to ask."
Massa's recovery from his skull fracture is on schedule, and on Monday he underwent a successful operation to insert a titanium plate onto his skull to strengthen it for a racing return.
The operation, at Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, took four-and-a-half hours. Following a short stay there, Massa will go home and then begin training once again ahead of his F1 return next year.
He revealed in the interview, which took place before the operation, that the inserting of the plate was the thing that prevented him making a comeback this year.
"Actually, I am OK. The only problem is I need surgery to close a bone in my head that they had taken away because it was completely damaged. A normal guy can live like this without any problem. But for a driver, if you have an accident and you have this problem, the recovery is more difficult.
"That's why I need this surgery to close the bone. I will have it soon because that's the only reason they won't allow me to race now. Otherwise I feel the same as before. I'm going to Europe to use the simulator and drive some go-karts and then I will know very well if I'm 100%."
And he has also vowed to make a push to improve safety for drivers once he is back at grand prix events.
"We need to look for improvements," he said. "I'm not saying we need to cover [the cockpit] completely. But maybe there are some other things we can do to the car to stop a wheel hitting your head.
"When I come back this is something I want to discuss with Charlie Whiting [Formula 1 race director], the FIA and the drivers – because we all need to work together."
Massa is expected to make his first appearance at a race at his home grand prix in Brazil next month.
"It will be difficult to watch it, but I will be there," he said.