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The latest from the track on Massa
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The latest from the track on Massa
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jul 2009   |  9:18 pm GMT  |  63 comments

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.

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1

I really wish massa the best , if he’s unable to return F1 will lose a legend.

2

I just hope Felipe can recover enough to live a happy normal life with his wife and unborn child. If his mental status and site are 100% and he can race again… it is just a bonus. Forza Felipe. Our thoughts are with you.

3

I hope Massa takes the opportunity to retire from F1. I’m a fan of his but the injury he incurred is nothing to mess with. He’s been great to watch since his debutant days in 2002 to his near championship 2008. He’s got a son on the way and should be glad he’s still around to see him grow up.

4

Top priority. Develop a much stronger helmet design. It’s impossible to predict freak accidents. But with Felipe’s incident one can act immediately. Then what a bout Henry Surtees situation?

5

Best wishes from the USA for a full and speedy recovery, Felipe.

6

Whilst everyone wishes Massa a full recovery. I think there is already an air of “hand wringing” gathering pace about the presumed (incorrectly) lack of safety in modern F1.

There are already a few voices calling for full fighter jet style Canopies (a burning inverted car would be interesting for marshalls or the condensation that would happen during wet races would be impossible!) Or that Schuberth helmets are in some way not as strong as they “could be” Which is just insulting to everyone.

As DC often reminds us, motor racing is dangerous. All safety improvements should be welcomed, but nothing should be done as a knee jerk reaction IMO.

Surtees accident was just as much of a wrong place, wrong time as yesterdays events, but people forget that neither are exactly common place in the millions of single seater laps done every year in every championship around the world.

On a related note, I’m disappointed by the lack of simple honest facts about Felippes condition. Seems the various news media want to whip it up into some kind of hysteria!

7

The worlds best Orthopedic Surgeon Dr Gerard Saillant is arriving in Budapest as we speak supplied by the French Government. He has worked with athletes like Schumacher and Ronaldo and is an expert in sport injuries.

8

Get well soon, Felipe!

Since Masse seems to be out of imminent danger, the thing I fear the most now is that we will find out that Brawn, having, as someone has said, the most expensive car with the lowest operating budget, overused some parts of their car in order to save money.

What a season this is: Honda leaves, Brawn wins, diffusor row, McLaren lies, the Mosley wars, Bernie talks about history, Massa accident,what will be next….

9

Wow, even had trouble getting on the site last night there were so many worried people looking for an accurate report. How unlucky for poor Felipe, chaotic and unfortunate to say the least. Nice work to the Ferrari boffins for making the front end so robust as well. Was shocked to see how much of the thing was left over.

10

Best wishes to Felipe. Thanks for the update James.

11

How ironic is this accident for Massa when at the start of the race he was apprehensive of rookie Jamie Alguersuari’s debut

13

Felipe seems to have been extremely lucky in terms of it appears the spring struck mostly, and its impact been largely absorbed by his helmet; the eye damage looks to be collateral. Not good of course but immeasurably better than if the object had hit him square in the visor (shudder to think).

At first appearance the object appears to be speeding towards Massa, but it is most likely that the spring, having broken free of the Brawn was actually bouncing / travelling in the same direction as Massa but at a considerably reduced speed. Massa’s closing speed (suggested 175 MPH) and the object’s diminishing speed (maybe 50-75 MPH) would however still be a very significant impact.

Please, let’s not yet talk about who is going to take (hopefully temporarily) Felipe’s still warm seat at Ferrari. Let’s rather focus all our energies, thoughts and prayers for a full and complete recovery for a man we have all grown to admire so much.

14

Actually it is life threatening. The bleeding in the brain can happen suddenly and very quickly and demands that he be kept under observation. As does any swelling of the brain. They don’t induce a coma just for giggles. Thank goodness for the high spec helmets & visors. But also thanks for the HANS device as well. If you watch the videos, Felipe’s head snaps forward when the car plows into the tire barrier. Damage to his neck and head were prevented by that great lifesaver.

Get well soon Felipe, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We pray you will recover fully and quickly. You are a great person and a credit to the sport.

Ken in Sparta, Wisconsin, USA

15

Best wishes to Felipe and the Massa family. I keep having that image of his extremely likable father during the final lap of Interlagos last year.

And given what has happened, there if even less chance of a Michael return than there would have been 2 weeks ago.

16

All Russian fans wish Massa fast recovery, good health and start drive Ferrari again

17
Sian James (Telford)

Thanks James, Massa is my favourite driver and these news reports have been really worrying me, its good to hear that some of those reports were not true, I do hope he is okay and that he recovers well.

Get well soon Felipe!

18

James, thanks for the update. What a frightening

accident, and how horrible must Rubens feel that

it was his car that caused the injury. I wish

Massa a fast and complete recovery.

19

I hope Massa recovers. He is certainly on of the most likable F1 drivers. Is anyone talking about his replacement? Surely it is being discussed. Badoer, Gene, Bordais, Wurz, Michael?

20

I am so glad to hear this report contradicting gloomy ones from earlier today. Massa is such a nice guy, and I wish him all the best. Hopes and prayers are with you Felipe. May you have a wonderful recovery.

21

James, thanks for the reliable update. Been worrying about Felipes health all day, and nice to know that what I’m reading isnt sensationalised and is actually truth. Keep up the good work, and I hope to hear you commentating again soon!

22
Thomas, Canada

The events of the past week have reminded all that motorsport remains extremely dangerous.

If Massa is out for as long as you suggest James, who do you see as his replacement? The name on everyone’s lips is of course “Schumacher”!

Lance Armstrong has made an incredible return to the Tour de France, so surely Schumacher could do the same in F1. What do you think James? He certainly wouldn’t be the first driver to come back after a number of years away.

23

yeah, except Schumacher is still all bust up from trashing bikes from what I’ve read.

re Massa, it’s a credit to modern helmets

that you can even survive an accident like this.

when you look at the onboard footage its really a horrific impact, I hope you’re right James and some of the other ‘trusted’ reports I’ve read this morning are wrong about the severity of his injuries.

24

Compared to the news earlier, it would appear Felipe Massa is not a badly hurt as some reports suggested. Even so, I will only believe it when I see him under his own steam and in the Ferrari.

25

It’s always gut-wrenching to see a motionless driver/rider.

After last week at Brands, this is another stark reminder to us all that these guys constantly put their lives on the line, all in the name of entertainment.

I’ll always be in awe of everyone of them.(even the teenage ones).

Thoughts and best wishes for Felipe and fam.

26

Since MS was forced out, Felipe is the only reason I watch F1. I just couldn’t believe my eyes when SPEED showed the replays.

It’s so fortunate he was able to apply to some brake as hitting that tire wall at full speed would’ve been devastating.

I wish Felipe the best and hope he’s ok. F1 will not be the same in his absence. One classy guy I do not want to see leave the sport.

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