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. This is what Sky News website says, “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.”

    Life Threatning but stable? what does that mean?

    1. it means the idiotic hungarian doctors are contradicting themselves. the phrase “Life Threarning but stable ” makes no sense to me. hope he dosen’t succumb to his injuries :(, if that happens i’ll stop watching F1 forever. god plz show mercy on poor felipe :(

      even yahoo news is reporting the same.


      1. Any traumatic brain injury…which Felipe has suffered…would have to be considered life threatening. He has probably experienced some brain swelling and possibly hemorrhaging…the surgery would be done to relieve the pressure…which would mean his condition is serious and possibly life-threatening. From the sounds of it, he was put into an induced coma to reduce the swelling. The immediacy of his care and treatment is likely to lead to a complete recovery.

        It is very hard to predict the recovery path from traumatic brain injuries.

    2. See above about the AP “life threatening” article.

  2. ESPN is saying that Massa’s condition has gotten worse

    1. That’s the same AP article again, it’s been posted on here several times now, and there are quite a few other sources specifically saying it is incorrect. Until we get a different source saying otherwise I suggest we ignore it.

  3. As an occasional NASCAR watcher I’ve often seen cases where the pace care is brought out to clear debris on the track. I’m ashamed to say that I thought it was ‘just to improve the show’ and ‘what harm can a bit of debris do?’.

    Maybe this is something NASCAR has got right and lesson F1 could learn.

    1. Well, the debris got off the Brawn car seconds before so safety car wouldn’t help there. It is also a standard procedure in F1 as well after accidents. Well – if it happend in quallifying the session would get red-flagged.

    2. You mean a safety car should tail all the race cars, and catch any loose nut and bolt flying off instantanously?

  4. Medical director Peter Bazso said at a news conference that “Massa’s condition is serious, life-threatening but stable.”

    will some english expert plz explain to me as to what the above statement means? why do they have to be so cryptic? i want to know whether they have good doctors at budapest.

    1. I don’t know what that means but the other part of the statement – him being on a respirator got me worried. Maybe it is standard precaution but it doesn’t sound good :/

    2. It means that the brain injury is serious. The vital signs are stable (heart beat, blood pressure breathing, etc). “Life-threatening” is the possibility of severe brain swelling over the next 72 hours that can be fatal way after a ‘successful’ surgery. No doctor on earth can predict how bad it is going to be, but it is almost certain that there is some swelling already that indicates a protectively induced coma.

      The have excellent doctors in Budapest.

  5. Wow, the pictures makes me feel sick. The poor guy looks terrified. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. I hope he makes a speedy recovery. I also just read that he has come out of surgery and he is doing ok (“serious but stable”). Good luck, Felipe baby!

    I think that this was a just very unfortunate accident. Yes they can close the cockpits, and yes they can improve safety even more. But when people drive around at a track at 300kph accidents always will happen, and people will get hurt. It’s a sad fact about racing.

  6. here is what Kimi has to say about the issue

    “It is just an unlucky situation what happened today,” he said. “It could have happened two years ago, or it could happen five years ago.

    “The cars have an open cockpit so there is always the chance that something can hit it. It is not the first time that someone has been hit and unfortunately sometimes drivers get very badly hurt or die. It is part of the risk in motor racing. For sure Felipe was very unlucky today and hopefully will be okay, but you cannot get rid of that issue.

    “You would need to make a rule for a bullet proof window in front of you to get rid of that issue. It is just unfortunate that these things happen sometimes.”

    well there is an interesting thought.. sounds very dull and obvious but drivers should at least have some assurance that if any debris are present or even a bird falls, or someone throws a bottle cap (which at 175Mph turns into a bullet) that they do not have to chose between life and death. I must say that I see the possibility of enclosed cockpits positive – perhaps something like the F18 cockpit would be excellent. If its safe for the plane it surely could be made safe for the F1.

  7. James Allen says this on twitter:

    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

  8. A few comments have been removed from this thread. For obvious reasons I am not going to allow potentially libellous material on the site.

    If you have a question about a comment that has been removed please get in touch: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/credits-and-contacts/contact-f1fanatic

  9. I hope Massa will recover quickly but wouldnt it be great if Schumi came back to cover for him !!!! them would really put the cat amongest the pigions

  10. suddenly 1pm tomorrow does not have the same excitment as normal. puts it all in perspective.

    hope to see massa ride again soon.

    it’s a thin line we walk, lets not go ott with F1 safety etc it the best it’s ever been no matter what we all think about the powers that be when it comes to safety for the drivers, marshalls and fans they are top class.

  11. First of all my best wishes to Felipe Massa and his family during this horrible time, and I really hope Felipe recovers from this and has no lasting damage. I am still in shock, like most of us are, after watching today’s events unfold.
    It is inescapable to not think of qualifying for the 1994 Imola Gp upon watching the events of Hungary. For many years, Formula One has endured a long period of relative safety for its drivers. Sadly, we have lost atleast two stewards due to loose debris since Imola 1994, but no drivers.
    The problem ‘all’ open wheel racing faces, and has always faced, is that the cars maybe stronger and more durable, but the drivers are still human beings. You can not make the human body stronger or more durable.
    We have also become accustomed to seeing drivers walk away from some terrible accidents, such as Villeneuve and Burti in 2001, Robert Kubica in 2007, and Heikki Kovalainen in 2008.
    Many if not all of the current F1 drivers have never had the horrific displeasure of seeing a rival competitor killed during a race, a sight not unseen years ago.
    We live in an age when we believe in our technologic know how, but the risks are as present today as they were in 1994 and before. The events that befell Felipe Massa, and claimed the life of Henry Surtees, were events that know one could have forseen nor changed.
    Just when you think you have all the bases covered, fate deals a hand you never saw coming. Doing speeds in excess of 200mph in itself is life threatening, whether the cars are enclosed or not. Drivers are still killed driving enclosed racing cars, some trapped by the very devices that are supposed to protect them.
    The olders Fanatics can cast their minds back to 1973, and the day Roger Williamson burned to death in his overturned March as the entire F1 pack roured by. At the time, some questioned the usage of seatbelts in F1 cars, blaming the belts and poor organisation for Roger’s death. As I said ‘the hand you never see coming’.

  12. If true, that is very good news indeed.

  13. I dont thing the spring was coming that fast, I thing it was just boucning around on the road. Massas’ speed makes it appear as though it was “shot” towards him

  14. Has anyone else commented that in the video it appears that Massa holds down both the throttle and brake after being hit on the head.

    This would suggest that he was immediately knocked unconsciousness (not in the semi-conscious state interpreted by Brundle and others).

    1. His subconscious mind was still even having him pressing the buttons. A part of his mind was concussed. But another part was still in automatic mode carrying out the normal routine for that corner.

      1. I don’t agree. It looks like he’s downshifting but I am sure that is just his hands wobbling about because his grip has loosened having being knocked unconscious.

  15. If Rubens Barrichello said he is OK,then we need to trust.FINGER CROSSED.

    1. Damn. Sure didn’t take Bernie long. All of the Massa crash vids are gone from youTube due to “copyright restrictions”.

      Guess he figures no one can see if they aren’t paying. You’d think, just this once, but no.

  16. aki o momento

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