Apparently Felipe Massa was hit by something from Rubens Barrichellos car.
Felipe was doing about 180mph and lost consciousness
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By Brad Spurgeon NY Times
Update | 7:02 p.m.
Speaking to reporters a few minutes ago, Ross Brawn said that it was only a spring weighing about 100 grams that had flown off the car into Massa’s helmet. He credited improvement in helmet technology in recent years for ensuring that the injury was not worse. He said that Formula One will certainly study to see if there is anything to do to reduce the risk against drivers in this sort of accident - and the one that killed Henry Surtees - and he suggested putting canopies on the cars was doable. But he also said they must not react in a way that makes things worse - ie, knee jerk reactions.
Update | 6:09 p.m.
Ferrari has just released a statement on Felipe Massa’s condition:
“After the accident during the qualifying session of the Grand Prix of Hungary, Felipe Massa was airlifted to the AEK hospital in Budapest. Felipe was conscious at the arrival at the hospital and his general conditions remain stable. Following a complete medical examination it emerged that he had 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.”
As I said I would update things further, I can say that the piece of debris was a damper and part of the suspension that had broken off from Rubens Barrichello’s car a few seconds earlier.
Several of the drivers have now been queried about the fact of this accident coming only a week after the accident involving Henry Surtees. Both Barrichello and Lewis Hamilton said they do not believe this is a coincidence, and that there is a message being sent here and something has to be done to prepare for such accidents. Heikki Kovalainen said he thought it was entirely a freak event and how could it be prepared for. The GPDA will be discussing it, of course.
It was nice to be able to laugh at the end of the qualifying session today when the lap times disappeared from all screens around the circuit at the end of qualifying and no one - including the drivers - had any idea of who scored pole position.
“It was quite special,” said Vettel about trying to figure out who did the top times of the session. And indeed it was.
“I thought I wasn’t in the top three so I went to have a shower,” said Mark Webber, who had gone off to speak to reporters but should have been preparing to go to the press conference.
In the end, it was a surprise pole position by Fernando Alonso, with Vettel and Webber in second and third.
But I say it was nice to be able to laugh at this because at the end of the second session everyone had their thoughts and emotions fixated on the strange accident of Felipe Massa in his Ferrari. At first it was impossible to tell why Massa had apparently driven straight off the track into the tire barrier at top speed. But after the video from his car camera over his head was replayed time and again it became apparent that he had been struck by a piece of debris and this had caused him to go straight off the track.
I still do not know all the details at this point a few minutes after qualifying, but we know the essential. Felipe was flown to hospital in a helicopter, but we have been told that he is fine, despite having also apparently struck his head hard on the steering wheel in the impact against the tire barrier. We’ll know more soon.
For a while, though, a lot of people had the thought of Henry Surtees in mind as in less than a week it seemed a driver had been, against all the odds, struck by something on the head while traveling at high speed down the track. In Massa’s case it is still not clear what the debris was or whether it hit his helmet or simply the car.
Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa was fighting for his life tonight after being knocked unconscious during a qualifying session for the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver was struck in the helmet by a spring which had become detached from the rear suspension of Rubens Barrichello's car.
Massa then slammed straight into the tyre barrier in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, leaving him with a skull fracture
The accident occurred on one of the fastest sections of the circuit, where he would have been driving at about 175mph.
After being taken to the circuit's medical centre, he was then flown to a city hospital for further examination 22 minutes after his shunt.
It was there that surgeons operated on him to treat the fracture to his skull.
Officials at the AEK military hospital said Massa will be kept sedated on a respirator overnight in the intensive care unit.
Medical director Peter Bazso said at a news conference that Massa's condition is 'serious, life-threatening but stable'.
Bazso and chief surgeon Lajos Zsiros said they expect Massa to be awoken on Sunday.
Skidmarks across the considerable run-off area showed the 28-year-old had at least attempted to brake before the collision.
However, the fact he made no attempt to turn away from the impact suggested a further problem with the steering.
The force of the collision knocked Massa unconscious as he showed no signs of movement inside the cockpit of his car for some time before finally being attended to by on-track paramedics.
Former world champion Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, will sit at the top of the grid for Sunday's showdown as championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber qualified in second and third, respectively.