Confusion over Felipe Massa’s condition following “life threatening” injury claim

Massa's condition is described as 'serious but stable'

Massa's condition is described as 'serious but stable'

Contradictory reports of Felipe Massa’s condition following his crash in qualifying today are causing a lot of confusion.

I’ve tried to collect some of the reports below in an effort to make sense of them and give as clear a picture as possible of what’s going on:

Rubens Barrichelo via Twitter, 7:10pm on Sunday:

Good news.Felipe had a good night and react ok when he saw his parents.For a better recovery they will keep him asleep

Jonathan Noble via Twitter, 11:24am Sunday:

Hospital officials say Felipe Massa will be kept in an artifical coma for the next 48 hours to help his recovery

Ferrari press release, 10am Sunday:

After undergoing an operation yesterday afternoon, Felipe Massa’s condition remains stable and there were no further complications through the night. He will be given another CT scan today, which will provide more precise information.

Post on, apparently coming via Rob Smedley’s wife Lucy, 9:45am Sunday:

OK folks….just spoken to Lucy on the phone….have to be careful what information I impart as I don’t want to get her in trouble with Ferrari. However….

The situation is not as grave as some news reports are making out, yes it is serious, but all the reports coming back from the hospital are extremely positive. At this stage it is hoped and believed he will make a full recovery.

Felipe was brought out of the induced coma this morning and was very confused, he has now been put back into the induced coma so they can carry out the necessary scans, his family will have just arrived this morning from Brazil and will be with him at the hospital now.

Obviously I have to be careful what I say, but all the signs from Lucy is that things are not as bad as some news reports are leading us to believe, and it is expected Felipe will be ok.

Jonathan Noble via Twitter, 8:43am Sunday:

Doctors are optimistic Massa will make a recovery from his injuries, although firm news will come only after tests

BBC News, 9:32pm:

The Associated Press news agency quoted a hospital spokesman as saying Massa’s condition was “life-threatening”. But Ferrari denied the reports, insisting the operation was “positive”.

Rubens Barrichello on Twitter, 9:01pm:

I just came back from the hospital.Felipe went trough a cirurgy which went very well.Now he is asleep waiting for a new scan tomorrow

James Allen on Twitter, 8:19pm:

Ignore reports on Sky/AP that Massa is in life threatening condition. He’s stable after an op and will be okay. Long recuperation though


Massa – who drives for Ferrari – was airlifted to hospital in Budapest where officials said he is in a “life-threatening but stable” condition after an operation on a skull fracture.

Several people are questioning the accuracy of the Sky story, similar versions of which have appeared on Planet F1, Yahoo, AP and others. Sky seem to have removed it from their F1 home page now.

If you have any further updates on the story please post them below or share them with me via Twitter.

All times BST

Other questions people are asking

Will Ferrari be able to field a third driver in tomorrow’s race? Not as I understand – see this article for more on the rules regarding driver changes at races.

Who will Ferrari use to replace Massa if he cannot race later this season? It looks like Massa will have a long recuperation. They could use either of their third drivers – Luca Badoer or Marc Gene, both of which have F1 experience. But they are not limited to just those drivers – they could use someone else.

What did Massa hit? According to Ross Brawn it was a spring from Barrichello’s car weighing around 800g.

If you have any further updates on the story please post them below or share them with me via Twitter.

Advert | Go Ad-free


143 comments on Confusion over Felipe Massa’s condition following “life threatening” injury claim

  1. I think medically, Felipe’s condition would be “serious, but stable”.

    Under multiple translations (Hungarain to German/Spanish to English), “serious” might become “life-threatening”.

    Silly mistake, but a costly one!!!

  2. “Life-threatening but stable” isn’t really a term that is used very often. Is it possible that it is an error in translation, something that we would normally refer to as “serious but stable”? That would certainly explain the conflict between the “life-threatening” story and those that claim he is doing okay.

    • Harry93 said on 25th July 2009, 22:26

      Maybe it just means that for now he is stable, but potentially there are life-threatening injuries internally?

      They will take more tests tomorrow and i’m sure there will be a more accurate story on his situation :)

  3. Sharon said on 25th July 2009, 22:23

    This article from The Press Association makes more sense – his injuries were “life threatening” but his condition post surgery is “serious but stable”.

  4. TomD11 said on 25th July 2009, 22:27

    Apparently it was a double skull fracture but he’s stable now.

  5. Patrickl said on 25th July 2009, 22:30

    Can’t the reports both be true? Apparently they removed bone fragments from Massa’s head. That might have been life threatening, but the operation went well so he’s is now safe?

  6. Kris said on 25th July 2009, 22:31

    I hope Massa’s OK, I like him and really want him to get well soon. I can’t, however, get a little nagging voice out of the back of my head asking “Wouldn’t it be fun speculating over who’ll replace him if he takes a race or two out?”

    I have everything in my head, from “Schuey could come out of retirement to wind everyone up”, to “Bring back Davidson/Mcnish/Khartikeyan (sorry for the duff spelling)” with a quick detour of “Whats Rossi’s schedule like?”

    I’m a terrible person :(

  7. carol treurnicht said on 25th July 2009, 22:33

    I don’t think we will hear any more tonight- so guess we have to wait till they wake him tomorrow and then say something. Whatever they will not tell us the whole truth till after tomorrow’s race anyway.

  8. Brian said on 25th July 2009, 22:33

    My mother, who has been a nurse for about 35 years, saw the accident when I showed her on Youtube. I showed her because I really wanted to know what the hospitals would do.
    I told her what his current conditions was and she said that it is very serious and life threatening (when she was working in Montreal she saw a silimar accident with several motorcyclists) and that he might not make it through the surgery, but that if he did, as long as they didn’t miss anything, that he would recover. But she said he would very likely not to make it back this season, if it all.
    He has made it through surgery and that is what is most important. We just have to wait and hope he can fully recover.

  9. carol treurnicht said on 25th July 2009, 22:36

    thanks for that- confirms what I suspected that he will out for a while- if he comes back to F1 at all. I wish him all the best and to be honest who replaces him at the next race or wherever is the least of my concerns- it will probably be Badoer or Gene as official test/third drivers.

    • The last time Ferrari needed to replace one of their normal pilots, they didn’t use Badoer (Salo temping for Schumacher, 1999). I don’t think Gene was at Ferrari at the time, but that suggests that they won’t use a third driver as a replacement.

      Hope Massa makes a full recovery; the sad thing is that if he does not, and Alonso does move to Ferrari next year, Kimi gets to retain his seat!

  10. Bernard said on 25th July 2009, 22:36

    AP quoted a statement from the Hungarian defence department as saying: “At the time he was admitted to hospital his condition was stable and he was breathing and blood circulation was normal.

    “During the course of his examination they established that he suffered a serious, life-threatening injuries including loss of consciousness and a fracture of the forehead on the left side and a fracture on the base of the skull.”

    BBC News

  11. snoopy said on 25th July 2009, 22:37

    Massas condition is stable says finnish F1 magazine. Ferrari is very uppset for Ap because that “life treathing” conditition comment.

    Massa had eye problem after crash because skull was broken just top of eye and created some pressure to it. Does that will bring further problem to Massa, doctors dont know until in future.

    All this by finnish magazine.

  12. Terry Fabulous said on 25th July 2009, 22:39

    Best wishes to Filipe, his wife and family in what must be a truly awful time for the Massa family.

  13. wally said on 25th July 2009, 22:39

    for you wizes here, 800g * speed equals what kind of force? i think we can be very thankful this isn’t much worse. great work keith!! get well soon Massa!!!!

    • John H said on 26th July 2009, 1:26

      It depends on how big the contact area between spring and helmet was.

      For example, heavy small things are not good – probably why such a relatively small object had such an effect.

      Hoping he’s ok

  14. MJ4 said on 25th July 2009, 22:59

    It *is* “life-threatening but stable” in the original Hungarian wording.

    But this, I guess, is the medical equivalent of saying “it’s serious, it needs professionals to handle it, but it’s being handled OK”.

    In a sense, a F1 race is also “life-threatening but stable” with all those corners taken at 200, yet no accident 99.9% of the time…

  15. Geo said on 25th July 2009, 23:03

    All the best to Felipe. Still not entirely clear what was happening, in this day and age the media are so irresponsible, they all want to be first to break stories instead of getting their facts straight!

    Too many News Agencies, too many false rumours = alot of F1 fans confused and annoyed. His family must be extremely upset with the gun ho reporting.

    I wish Felipe and his family all the best and hopefully he will be racing again soon.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.