Felipe Massa has tested in a Formula 1 car for the first time since suffering a fractured skull, but Ferrari say he will not return to competition in 2009.
Massa is making good progress since his crash in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix in July and the 28-year-old tested in an F2007 in Italy on Monday.
But Ferrari say they “want to proceed gradually” and do not intend to rush the Brazilian before he is ready.
“Talk of a proper return to F1 can wait until the start of 2010,” they added.
Massa underwent neurological tests in Paris on Friday.
According to Ferrari, the outcome was “rather positive”, prompting the decision to allow him to get behind the wheel of a privately-owned F2007 on Monday.
In-season testing is banned in F1, but the sport’s governing body the FIA gave Massa permission to test using GP2 tyres at Ferrari’s test track at Fiorano, as part of his rehabilitation.
“It went very well,” Massa said after his rain-hit session behind the wheel. “It seems that what happened in July hasn’t changed anything.
“I didn’t manage to do many laps because of the rain but everything we’ve done up to now has been normal like before. It’s positive for me and for the team to see I’m the same as before.”
Ferrari insist there is no chance of Massa making a comeback in 2009, with only two races of the campaign remaining.
“This is in no way a proper test session and looking at the stopwatch will not be on the agenda,” said the Ferrari statement.
“There will be plenty of time for that in 2010, when, alongside Fernando Alonso, he will begin development work of the new single-seater.
“It is simply an opportunity for Felipe to renew his acquaintance with his natural environment, namely the race track.”
Massa was knocked unconscious by a loose car part and injured the area around his left eye, prompting fears at the time that he could have suffered loss of vision.
At one stage, he had hoped to return for the final grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi on 1 November.
Massa feels fit to race now but has accepted he will have to wait until 2010 before making his competitive comeback.
He added: “I didn’t have any vision problems and today I would be ready to do, not one race, but two straight after each other.
“Naturally there is a period of time that must elapse first for precautionary reasons. But, having been in the car, I can say that I’m the same as before the accident.
“(We can) start preparing for next year, which won’t be an easy year because this one has been hard, and work to have a good car and fight for the championship.”