Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Formula1:Massa set to leave intensive care


Ferrari driver Felipe Massa is to leave intensive care as he continues his recovery from a crash in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 28-year-old fractured his skull on Saturday when he was struck by debris from another car while driving.
"He speaks, can sit upright and was even able to take his first steps," said a Ferrari team statement.
"From the clinical and radiological point of view everything is going extremely well."
Massa was hit on the helmet by a metal spring, the size of a drink can and weighing almost a kilo, which fell off fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car.
When he was flown to hospital, Massa's condition was initially diagnosed as "life-threatening", and there were fears for his eyesight, but he seems to be progressing well, although he is not ready to leave hospital yet.
"If his recovery continues at this pace, I wouldn't rule out that he could leave within 10 days," said Peter Bazso, the medical director of the AEK Hospital in Budapest.
Doctors took Massa out of an artificial coma and off a respirator on Monday as his recovery continues.

Massa's engineer reflects on crash (UK only)
"He's spending more and more time awake, talking to family and friends," added Bazso on Hungarian TV channel M1.
Massa was visited by Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali and his predecessor Jean Todt on Tuesday, and team president Luca di Montezemolo, who was at his bedside earlier in the week when he was sedated, is flying back to Budapest to greet him.
"It was incredible to see such a fantastic improvement after just three days," said Domenicali, who was also upbeat on Massa's chances of returning to F1. "As soon as he is back, that is his car."
And Massa's own doctor, Dino Altmann, is so encouraged by the Brazilian's condition that he is convinced the Ferrari star's motor racing career is far from over.
"I have no doubt Felipe will race again. I'm sure of that," Altmann told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"The situation is still delicate but I believe his life is not in danger anymore.
"From the beginning I felt the trauma wasn't as extended as it was believed but the improvements have gone beyond our wildest expectations."
But F1 rights holder Bernie Ecclestone believes Massa may not drive again this season or even next.
"I spoke to the hospital and they're now very hopeful that it's certainly not as bad as they expected it would be," Ecclestone told BBC Radio Five Live on Wednesday.
"It's difficult to say whether or not he's going to be in a position to compete this year. Next year I don't know, but I doubt we'll see him this year."
A spring from Barrichello's Brawn car struck Massa's helmet just above his eye, and his feet are believed to have come to rest on both the throttle and brake, as his car ploughed head-on into a tyre wall at about 125mph.
Massa was swiftly attended to by trackside medics before being taken to the circuit's medical centre, after which he was airlifted to hospital.
Massa accident 'a wake-up call' - Gascoyne
His father, mother and pregnant wife have all flown from Brazil to be with him during his recovery.
At a joint news conference with Massa's doctors, Di Montezemelo said the team were focused on their driver's recovery and not on considering any possible replacements.
"For us, the first priority is to find out Felipe's recovery progress and situation. He is a very important member of the Ferrari family not just the Ferrari team," said Di Montezemelo.
"First we will find out the situation with Felipe and then we will see and we will think, without pressure."
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for seven-time champion Michael Schumacher said the German would consider returning as a stand-in for Massa, if asked by Ferrari, who he still works for in a consultancy role.

Barrichello reassured by Massa's doctors
Massa's accident came days after Formula Two driver Henry Surtees, 18, was killed in what was described as a freak accident during a race at Brands Hatch.
The son of motorsport legend John Surtees was struck by a wheel that flew off a competitor's car.
Barrichello has led the calls for more stringent safety measures to be looked into. Referring to Surtees, the veteran refused to believe the two incidents were coincidental.
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"I honestly don't believe in coincidences in life," he said on Saturday. "Things happen for a reason and I think this is the second message.
"Imola [where Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger died in 1994] was a message and the cars were improved. Unfortunately, we lost a boy [Surtees], which is tremendously sad."
Barrichello's team boss Ross Brawn said the team are still investigating why the spring came loose from the back of their car.

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