Felipe Massa crashes after being struck by debris during qualifying

2009 Hungarian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa crashed heavily during the second part of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix after apparently being struck by a piece of debris.

The Ferrari driver went straight on at turn four of the Hungaroring. Replays suggested his crash helmet was hit by a piece of debris before he lost control.

For the latest on Massa’s condition see here: Confusion over Felipe Massa?s condition following reports of ??life threatening?? injury

The accident comes just six days after Formula Two racer Henry Surtees was killed after his helmet was struck by a stray tyre.

The start of the final part of qualifying was delayed by 20 minutes following the crash and teams of marshals sent around the circuit looking for further debris. Brawn confirmed that Rubens Barrichello’s car had lost parts from its rear suspension. Barrichello went to visit his countryman at the circuit medical centre.

Massa has been taken to hospital but his injuries are not though to be serious. He is, however, not expected to take part in the race. Ferrari will not be allowed to use a replacement driver unless the stewards agree they may do so under force majeure. Article 19.1 of the sporting regulations states:

During a season each team will be permitted to use four drivers. Changes may be made at any time before the start of the qualifying practice session provided any change proposed after 16.00 on the day of scrutineering receives the consent of the stewards.

Additional changes for reasons of force majeure will be considered separately.

Update: Massa’s injuries have been confirmed as bone damage to his skull and concussion. He will require an operation and is in intensive care. I hope he makes a rapid and full recovery.

Update 2: Massa is out of surgery and his condition is improving. A report on AP describing his condition as “life-threatening” is apparently inaccurate. BBC are reporting his condition is serious but stable. Rubens Barrichello wrote on Twitter: “Back from hospital. Felipe went through a surgery which went very well. Now he is asleep waiting for a new scan tomorrow.”

Read more: Closed cockpits aren?t a perfect solution – but they may be an improvement

Massa appears to have been struck by a piece of debris during qualifying
Massa appears to have been struck by a piece of debris during qualifying

181 comments on “Felipe Massa crashes after being struck by debris during qualifying”

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  1. Massa arrived to the hospital(video):

  2. Yes, maybe safety comes after show, but maybe it shouldn’t. Unlike some “unhumanitarians” that always exist in this sad world of ours, some (and I’m talking plain and simple expectaTors) would like the sport to be a distraction and a hobby when they turn on the TV, and not to witness some bizarre, satellite-live, sad moments of life and death.
    But there has to be always the freak, morbid ones, those who wishes to see exactly the opposite, like some usual expectators of the 70’s.
    Safety is the main issue always, and I say this as a career driver of my category, which I will not say which one it is, and it is the main topic of GPDA and FOTA.
    Mosley is the responsible not only for the extremely abrupt changes of the 1994 regulations, which led to tragic events in that season, but is also the one who sued all the teams and Michelin that were REALLY CONCERNED about the safety of their drivers. This is Max Mosley, not the other way around as some are always trying to paint.

    1. I was really happy I hadn´t heard about that man this weekend at all. Is there any reason to bring him into this discussion about a freak accident involving Massa?

      Also why you´re bringing up the point about people rooting for driver´s deaths, I have no idea. Just because not everybody is instantly an advocate of F1 cockpits doesn´t mean they don´t wish the best for any of the drivers. All F1 sites I´ve visisted have shown nothing but support for Massa.

      Go start an FIA president flamewar somewhere else, this is about a freak accident involving Massa. Use this incident as unrelated political leverage all you want, but don´t claim to be on the moral highground of safety while doing so.

  3. Apparently Massa suffered a cracked skull and concussion. He needs surgery.

    Obviously he’s not going to race tomorrow.

  4. Maybe JV could drive the Ferrari!!!

  5. he was semi-conscious after he got hit, he started to downshift, started braking, but kept the throttle even after he crashed..even more, he didn’t get the hand off the steering wheel and didn’t brace himself..terrible

  6. Feel bad Massa, that was a very bad accident. I sincerely hope he is OK and can continue for the rest of the race season.

  7. Ferrari have put out a statement saying Massa “suffered a cut on his forehead, a bone damage of his skull and a brain concussion. These conditions need to be operated on after which he will remain under observation in intensive care.”


    Hope his recovery is trouble free and he doesn’t have any problems regaining his edge once he returns.

  8. i think he will be out for the season. if he’s having an op on his brain, then he will not be allowed near an f1 car for a few months. fingers cross for you felipe baby!!!

  9. I have always been annoyed at how the FIA reacts to crashes. They should start the medical extraction team immediately at a big crash, not wait for the crew to signal them. I saw Ralph Schumacher’s crash at the USGP a couple of years ago, and he sat for several minutes before anyone was sent. I was horrified, and people were yelling “send the medics!” It was the same thing this time. The crew had to signal the medical team, and this wasted a valuable minute or two. It would be better to tell them to turn around because the driver is okay than to make an injured driver wait.

    1. Absolutely 100% correct. I could not agree more. changes need to be made in F1’s emergency response.

      Formula 1 officianados frequently knock the IRL series, but could definitely learn from them regarding emergency medical response. They have a dedicated crew that travels to every race. Those guys frequently are at the car before the dust settles, before even the corner workers can get to the car. Absolutely outstanding work.

      I believe F1 medical response needs some tweaking, for certain. “Medical Car”. That’s all very “gentleman racer” and all that, old boy–but I want an AMBULANCE if I crash !

      You’ve made an important observation, DC. One can only hope that FiA reads and pays attention to Keith’s blog–perhaps they’ll get something right, for a change!

  10. Ross Brawn has said the part Massa hit weighed about 800g (0.8kg).

    1. 0.8kg X 250+ kph. That is a lot of energy going into a small area.

  11. I just spotted on the McLaren website of all things that “Massa will need to undergo surgery after it emerged he had suffered bone damage of the skull and a brain concussion in his accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix”. Best wishes to Filipe and I sincerely hope he has a quick recovery with no lasting side effects…

    1. where? i didn’t spot it. could you plz post a link?

      1. check the McLaren widget as there is no link…

    2. Some people posting on here are not helping the situation with there irrartional and practically uncontrollable histeria. Can those concerned kindly take a deep breath and calm down and get the facts first, then think about them rationally logically and carefully before making comments. Lets put some faith in the systems and peoples envolved and believe that all concerned are doing their utmost to ensure a positive outcome from an unfortunate incident…

  12. Man I was so relieved to see the fella moving his hands about when he came out that ambulance…phew, thanks god that he’s safe albeit having to go under the knife.

    So who’s gonna take his place tomorrow? Luca Badoer or Marc Gene? It would interesting if Marc get to race…when was the last time we had 3 Spaniards on the grid?

  13. When will we find out how his surgery went?

  14. Williams 4ever
    25th July 2009, 18:33

    another link First thing that came to mind was flash back 2007 magny cours with Kimi circulating around the track with damaged fuel flap hanging precariously from his car.
    While it was lucky nobody got hurt, but clearly tells about incompetency of FIA stewards who didn’t black flag the fin in that race.

    1. Actually, they have a perfect flag for that situation which for some reason they never use – black flag with orange circle…

    2. If we’re thinking of the same incident, I believe it was actually an exhaust tube.

      I complained about that pretty loudly at the time (to no-one off course… the futility of the internet “On the internet, no one can hear you scream”), as I thought he should have been black flagged and taken off the track at the time..

      we tend to forget the physics at work in this sport because of the ease with which the cars accelerate and brake and turn etc, but an exhaust component flying off Kimi’s car at 150miles per hour could easily strike a fatal blow to a bystander, track official etc.

      I thought this was an egregious dereliction of duties by the track stewards and the racing director, and for that matter, Ferrari! I remember them looking at the component during the pit-stop and actually deciding NOT to do anything about it… “let’s just keep it flopping around… it’ll fly off somewhere, but I don’t want to be the one to cut it off.”

      I am still pi$$ed about it!

      1. actually, I think it was 2008 Magny Cours, not 2007

  15. It seems that the surgery finished and Felipe is OK now (well, he is still at the hospital…)

  16. Hang in there “Felipe Baby”…we will all be thinking about you in tomorrow’s race.

    Hoping you a speedy recovery.

  17. It will certainly need to be investigated how and why that part eventually striking Massa’s helmet came off.

    I think it’s worth evaluating if an added feature, for example, a glass shield around the cockpit should be added. There would have to be hard requirements for that, though. We’re obviously not talking about some deluxe windshield, here, but a protection system that would have to provide driver safety by absorbing a wide range of potential impacts from objects. An impact from a large, heavier object such as the wheel by which Surtees was hit is obviously going to have a different effect than a comparatively smaller part that can strike a small point of the surface with high force.

    At the end of the day, any of these considerations of possible further safety measures won’t get anyone around acknowledging that some inherent risk of motor racing will nevertheless remain.

    In the meantime, let’s hope Felipe Massa will get better soon enough and make a full recovery.

  18. It has to be said…. This is Spanky’s fault, and this time it’s not some anti-Mostley rant….
    Had in-season testing not been banned, Brawn engineers would have noticed this way before the car got into the track with anybody else in it… The fact that some part just “flies off” in the middle of the qualifiers explains that cars should be tested before they get sent into a race, putting not only themselves, but the other 19 (soon to be 25) other drivers in the circuit….
    I really do understand Mosleys ideas, but they are ideas for GP2, Formula 1 is pinnacle of motorsport, if you can’t handle the pressure, the costs or the magnitude… race in GP2, F2, FM….

    1. Robert McKay
      25th July 2009, 20:19

      THhey could have tested for a hundred billion kilometres and still had a part that broke, flew clear, whatever.

  19. @Keith:

    One more update required.

    Massa’s surgery has been accomplished successfully and he is in ICU.

  20. Sky news is saying that he is in a life threatening condition now. oh god i’m fearing the worst now!!

    1. I’m not sure about their sources, others are saying he is recovering from the accident…

      1. It seems sources are from the hospital, I hope it sounds worse then it is.

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