Massa is lucky to be alive


Staff Member
I knew the piece of debris struck his helmet but I never realised it had pierced it and how close it was to his visor!
The image below is absolutely shocking and shows just how much worse it could have been.

Here's the link to the BBC video footage, about 25 seconds in is when the piece of debris hits: Massa injured in qualifying crash

Hopefully he will make a full recovery but somehow I can't see him being declared fit to drive tomorrow considering the G meter was tripped when he hit the tyre wall.

It's all the more surreal coming just a few days after Henry Surtees' accident.


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After seeing the debris (it looked like a bolt) hitting his helmet I have to say he is very lucky to have gotten away with a gash on his face. It must have been some whack given that it actually pierced his helmet!

A few years ago and I doubt FM would have survived that. For all of the FIA's political crap, we must applaud them for the leaps forward in safety over the last few years.

Get well soon Felipe!
You can of course recover from skull damage and "cuts", but "brain concussion" has that serious ring to it...

Anyway, you can't but hope the best for the guy, he appears a nice lad.

Good luck Felipe, lets hope you're there to defend your European GP crown!
That look turly horrible, it brought back lots of bad memories of past times in F1. You have to wonder if Button should have been allowed out for the final session of qualifying. I know the FIA gave the car the once over but major parts of a car simply shouldn't fall off, Brawn didn't seem that confident about the car either given the rather bizarre tactics they used in Q3.
I must admit I was quite surprised the FIA gave the OK to Button's car after what would appear to be such a quick and cursory check.

Maybe it was a structural failure of a single part though and as such there is no inherent design flaw?
Fat Bloke said:
That look turly horrible, it brought back lots of bad memories of past times in F1. You have to wonder if Button should have been allowed out for the final session of qualifying. I know the FIA gave the car the once over but major parts of a car simply shouldn't fall off, Brawn didn't seem that confident about the car either given the rather bizarre tactics they used in Q3.

I am sure that they didn't have bizarre tactics, I believe that Brawn just wanted to be utterly sure there wouldn't be blood on their hands come the Saturday evening... they're not Andrea Moda, y'know!

I would wonder how the component actually fell off, surely it was in the air because it was blown up by the wind? Either way, I'd be checking the Brawn pretty thouroughly tonight if I was in the FIA, and I'd be demanding improvements before Valencia! (even if it was just to warn them!)

This could be the big blight on 2009 the season; and I really hope it is good news for Massa. If not, have we any ideas who'll be in the Ferrari come Valencia?
Firstly, Massa is indeed very lucky, an inch lower and he'd have lost an eye for sure. Lets hope he makes a swift recovery, it seems he's probably one of the few drivers on the grid that is universally liked, and admired for the way he's improved since he entered F1.

Raikkonen's viewpoint is interesting - Barrichello and Hamilton urge safety changes

Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, on the other hand, said the accident was just an unfortunate occurrence and he reckons there is little to do to avoid it.
"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."

I say interesting, considering his French GP last year and the flailing bit of exhaust. Had that fallen and hit a driver he and Ferrari would have been rightly condemned (they were anyway in some quarters), so sometimes these things are avoidable, if not in this case. Perhap the quote is taken out of context (we don't know the exact question he was asked) but KR sounds complacent to me.
I agree that Kimi's flailing exhaust last year was dangerous and should have been black flagged.

However, I'm not sure what Rubens and Lewis are expecting to be done about incidents such as this.
F1 is open wheel, open cockpit racing so the driver's head is always going to be exposed and somewhat vulnerable.

In this instance a part fell off the car in front and through an almost unrepeatable set of circumstances managed to bounce along the circuit and hit the driver of the car behind.
So I can see Kimi's point of view but it may seem a bit callous coming so soon after the incident.

In the past drivers have been seriously injured from stones thrown up by the car in front and even birds flying into them so there is an inherent danger in this form of racing.

All they can really do is minimise the risk but it would be impossible to account for all eventualities, especially when it concerns a failure of a specific part, such as would seem to the case here.

The good news is the surgery was successful so hopeully there is no lasting damage and Felipe will be back racing again soon.
Apparently it was a rear wing failure: Brawn investigating rear-wing failure

Brawn are investigating why a piece of the rear-wing on Rubens Barrichello's car flew off during qualifying in Hungary.

While the cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been officially confirmed, it is believed it was spring from a damper that that fell off Barrichello's car that was the piece of debris which then struck Felipe Massa, resulting in the Ferrari driver's chilling accident.

"We had a problem at the back, so we are still investigating and we haven't had the piece back from the FIA yet so once we get it back we can understand what occurred and then draw some conclusions," team boss Ross Brawn told Autosport.
We shouldn't just look at the causes of the accident though - Helmet technology, though improving greatly in recent years could be looked at, making them harder to penetrate for example.

Perhaps a quicker response from the marshals and the FIA* could have resulted in a yellow flag, and picking up the debris. I don't know if Massa was immediately on the scene after the piece fell off, I'm only making suggestions.

Bullet-proof glass may be an exaggeration, but look at some cars of the 60's and 70's - Would there be the same outcome if Massa was driving with a high windshield? I'm not saying there wouldn't, but all things have to be investigated. RB's point is to make sure that we learn from all accidents.

*Just to make it clear, in no way am I apportioning blame here.

and this was not the first time. i remember a bird striking the helmet of an F1 driver too. but what can you do? if one of those pieces of a wing can cut up tyres like what happened to LH then god knows what happens when a real big piece of wing hits a driver too.

i think today a lot of people became aware just how dangerous this sport is.
Watching that video you can hear he has come off the throttle just after he is hit.

He clearly brakes until he hits the tyre walll so he at least he was able to and had the awareness to do that.

The most confusing part is how the hell the spring was bouncing down the track like that.
Had it literally just come off Ruben's car?
Even if it did, surely it would be travelling in the opposite direction? Unless another car had just driven over it and kicked it up into the air?

I agree with your comments Muddytalker, I was just trying to express how difficult it is to make an inherently dangerous sport totally safe.
there seems to be a car in front of massa which throws up this spring. at these speeds what seems distances are just nothing at all.

seems massa is out of it at once, breaking and hitting the gas at the same time. no attempt to shift down or anything.
I wonder if the HANS device made things better or worse? Possibly made things worse as the part struck him as his head movement was restricted during the impact but probably saved him from much worse problems as he hit the tyre wall.
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