Felipe Massa has been operated on this evening and is now in an induced coma in the AEK Hospital in Budapest.
An inaccurate report from AP this evening suggested that his condition was life threatening but this is not the case. The operation was successful and he is likely to be woken tomorrow.
Medical estimates of how long he will be out of action vary from two months, to longer. It has been suggested by one doctor here that he may miss the rest of the season. More will be known when the medically induced coma ends and the medics can assess the amount of bruising to the front of the brain.
The 28 year old was hit in the head by a spring which had fallen from the rear suspension of Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn car. He was on a lap heading back to the pits and was four seconds behind Barrichello on the road, when the spring became detached. It bounced down the road for four seconds and hit Massa in the head. He was briefly knocked unconscious and his feet went onto the brake and throttle simultaneously.
The data says that he applied 60bar of pressure to the brake, which is the equivalent of laying his foot on it gently, while the throttle was effectively jammed on.
Ross Brawn tonight explained that the spring was from the third damper and is made of steel and weighs around a kilogramme.
“The damper is still attached but the cap had come off and the spring escaped,” said Brawn. “I don’t know the full details but it was a freak accident.”
Brawn replaced the spring on Jenson Button’s car just in case, but Brawn said that this did not affect the balance of the car for Button’s final qualifying run.
He said that he had never experienced a spring detaching itself in all his years in F1 engineering. He added that he thought that the work done on making helmets safer had been ‘essential’ in this situation.