Felipe Massa crashes after being struck by debris during qualifying

2009 Hungarian Grand Prix

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

Advert | Go Ad-free


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

  1. WHoever said on 25th July 2009, 15:51

    Am I right in thinking that the debris look sooo much like a spring? If so where the f**k did that come from? (Before anyone says the Brawn; they don’t use springs)

    • Patrickl said on 25th July 2009, 16:58

      Rear suspension from Barrichello’s car?

      Do you think they use maglev or magical suspension?

      • Patrickl said on 25th July 2009, 17:00

        Not sure how it could lose such a critical part and finish the lap though.

        • Whoever said on 25th July 2009, 17:06

          I guess you’ve seen the comment below now about it poetentially being a Porsche Supercup car spring. But I’m still at a loss as to how it gained enough energy to travel to where it did. If it rolled down the hill, hit a bump and sprung (as springs do!) up into the air then that is an horrendously unfortunate series of events.

          • Mark Hitchcock said on 25th July 2009, 17:53

            If it wasn’t part of Barrichello’s car then BAR could well have run over it, damaging his suspension and flinging the spring into the air.

          • Patrickl said on 25th July 2009, 20:08

            Barrichello loses a part of his suspension and Massa hits a spring. 1+1=2

            Anyway, it has already been confirmed that it was Barrchello’s spring.

            Granted Barrichello apparently passed 4 seconds earlier so it’s quite bizarre that the spring was still hopping around there.

            Still it’s a spring, the tend to “spring”.

    • Scootin159 said on 25th July 2009, 17:01

      From the talk I heard it sounds as though it was the third spring on the rear of the car. Yes the main left & right springs are torsion bars, but the third (heave) spring is a traditional coil spring (which contains the “J-damper”).

      • Whoever said on 25th July 2009, 17:11

        Ah good point, on face value that sounds more probable. I may be wrong here but I was under the impression that the J-dampers are enclosed with/near/in the ‘box? Obviously many parts leaving Barrichello’s car earlier in the straight so either a big material failure or a probably hee-owge hole in the back of his car?

    • gabal said on 25th July 2009, 19:04

      Apparently, they do use springs as they confirmed it fell off Barrichello’s car.

      Brawn confirmed the spring belonged to a damper from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn car, weighing around 800 grams.


  2. woody666 said on 25th July 2009, 16:02

    The spring was from a previous porche cup qualifying session, filipe was knocked out the moment he was hit, the braking was due to his left foot being over the brake pedal, and as he hit the bumps on the track his foot was bouncing on the pedal, he has facial injures over his left eye and forhead and will not take any further part this weekend.

    • Anonymous said on 25th July 2009, 16:22

      Debris from previous race? Um, aside from “Safety” the FIA should impose a strict rules to keep and make the track clear from foreign object or debris like this, before and after each race sessions.

      • Whoever said on 25th July 2009, 16:47

        Ah for real? I guess there was a fairly hefty incident in the Prosche session then? So how on Earth did it gain energy to bounce down the circuit? Wasn’t hit by any other car… Any other practical suggestions? The only one I can think of is if it were thrown though I count that out on grounds that I don’t believe ANYONE would do such a thing

  3. al_amana said on 25th July 2009, 16:05

    Wow, that brings back some nasty memories. Just over two months ago I was driving home from work along the Highway doing about 130kph when I fell asleep and ran into the back of a B-Double. The air bag deployed and I can report that I’m physically OK and my car was written off and insured. Mentally though I will never forget the “OH ****” moment just before impact and then the annoyance of the airbag hitting me in the chest. Anyway, as someone mentioned earlier, let’s hope Felipe can recover mentally from this because I have no doubt physically he’ll be fine. Once again, WOW what an experience that must have been for Felipe.

  4. DMW said on 25th July 2009, 16:09

    It’s not a knee-jerk reaction to move for a safety measure in the wake of an accident, because it is primarily at these moments that perennial advocates have greater voice and support for implementation is there. And it is frequently only at these times when failures of approach or concept come into focus.

    Those who claim that safety improvements should be abated now because we have enough, or oddly, that since there are too many measures to choose from we should do nothing, should not apply that logic when they get behind their own steering wheel or board an airplane.

    I would add the observation that the people now decrying supposed excesses of safety were also moaning about the high cockpit sides, moving driver’s feet behind the front axle centerline, roll-hoop height and force requirements, etc., when these steps were implemented. We were also told then to “get a grip” before the HANS device was implemented, and certain drivers complained about shoulder pain or the weight.

    I suspect that the safe-enough crowd is mostly not old enough to remember the terrible head, spine, and feet injuries that were rampant before, and then abated after, the safety measures of the post 1994 era. Such accidents are a threat to the sport we love, and if you want to be able to continue to enjoy it, I would recommend that people consider supporting the continued development of safety measures.

    • pSynrg said on 25th July 2009, 16:36

      DMW, all fine points, thank you. I sincerely don’t think anyone here is against supporting continued development of safety measures.

      Just a more balanced approach to risk assessment and appropriate safety measures.

      There are the extremes.

      From: Drivers must not allow themselves to be exposed to danger and every measure possible must be undertaken to prevent any injury. Conclusion, ban racing. To: Drivers willingly take part in an extremely dangerous activity. They know the risks and are prepared to take them. No doubt in exchange for the buzz and the rewards.

      Or something like that. Personally I’d be happy to risk my life for it. I really would.
      In fact I do just for the buzz alone…

  5. Matt said on 25th July 2009, 16:14

    a bunch of photos of the crash here- http://www.repubblica.it/2007/03/gallerie/formulauno/massa-incidente/1.html makes be feel sick

  6. Earl said on 25th July 2009, 16:20

    In a Hungarian local NewsTV says: “Massa need an operation.” :(:(

  7. Damon said on 25th July 2009, 16:25

    The visor shouldn’t have opened itself. They should make changes to that. Then I think the hemlets should be increased in size to have better cushioning quality.
    We’ve got glass that can protect you from bullets, so there should be no problem with having visors that cannot be damaged by anything. If that’s not enough then this should solve all the problems:

    • pSynrg said on 25th July 2009, 16:38

      The visor appears intact. It seems the hinge is the area that is broken.

      The visors they use are apparently bullet proof. Or is that an urban myth?

    • From my pedestrian point of view, it doesn’t look like the strength of the visor/helmet would have made much of a difference in this case. Yes, the helmet and visor look a mess, but from all the pictures it looks like nothing actually went through it.

      The force of that weight at that speed knocked him out cold, instantly. I doubt sitting behind 5 inch thick bullet proof glass as a visor would have reduced the forces on his head and neck…

  8. Tim said on 25th July 2009, 16:28

    Hopefully felipe gets a full recovery. I wonder who they are sticking in the seat if they can race felipes car tomorrow? I know they probalby wouldn’t but it would be cool if they stuck schumi in the car. :)

    • gabal said on 25th July 2009, 16:43

      It is unlikely anybody would step in as every driver needs to quallify for the race. Maybe they can be aloved to let Badoer race if he will start from the box?

  9. Brian said on 25th July 2009, 16:36

    When I saw his car in the wall and the tire streaks, I at first just thought that something had happened to the car, but then they started talking about bits flying off of Barichello’s car and my heart alomst literally stopped! I hope is okay. Does anyone know how fast is car was going when he got hit?

  10. Zazeems said on 25th July 2009, 16:37

    I apologise for laughing at the ice cream joke, I really hope Felipe is OK and still believe that some hard thinking needs to be done about increasing protection to the drivers head.
    Also, I do wonder along with Aaron from earlier on whether the car might have decelerated less if there was gravel there instead of Tarmac. Lots of things for the FIA and/or FOM to look into here.

  11. Earl said on 25th July 2009, 16:43

    Massa arrived to the hospital(video):

  12. anonymous said on 25th July 2009, 16:56

    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.

    • 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.

  13. Patrickl said on 25th July 2009, 17:02

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

    Obviously he’s not going to race tomorrow.

  14. Maybe JV could drive the Ferrari!!!

  15. sicali said on 25th July 2009, 17:20

    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

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.