Felipe Massa has spoken at length to the Guardian newspaper today, in a terrific interview with Donald McRae. You can listen to the whole interview on the Guardian website.
He is lucky to be alive, not to be blinded or brain-damaged by the 700 gramme alloy spring which fell off Rubens Barrichello’s car in Budapest and bounced into his face. And, having struggled to get to the top in this brutal sport, he is clearly determined to race again, despite his family’s concerns.
“You need to think about luck in different ways,” Massa said. “I was actually very unlucky with the spring in my face,” he says. “But I was very lucky as well. Every doctor said the same. If the spring had gone one millimetre to the right I would have lost my sight. One millimetre to the left and who knows? I could have been brain damaged. So I was very lucky. And this is more important because it is my life.”
Massa speaks also about the freakish circumstances of his accident, following so soon after the death of F2 driver Henry Surtees from a loose wheel.
“I was very touched by his death,” said Massa. “And I told my wife straightaway about the accident of Henry. I said to her, ‘Listen, this is what you need to be worried about. This is something you have no control over. It is not like a normal accident.’ And then a week after that it happened to me. She remembered straightaway what I had said.
“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.”
Massa believes that nothing happens by chance, that everything in life is pre-destined, including his accident,
“Everything in life has a meaning. If something bad happens it’s because you need to learn, to grow. My life was once very difficult – when you think of the position I used to be in and what I had to do to arrive where I am now in my professional career. It was very difficult to reach this point. I had many races in the various categories where I knew if I did not win then I would not get to race in the next race because I did not have the money. So a lot happened that helped me become stronger. I think there is a reason for this accident. At the moment I don’t quite know what it is but.”
Massa yesterday underwent a four hour operation to put a plate in his head to replace the section of his skull which had to be removed during his surgery in Budapest. He says that he plans to attend the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 18th, but will find it difficult to spectate.
Soon afterwards he will become a father for the first time when his son, due to be named Felipe, comes along in November. What a year for Felipe Massa.