Ferrari Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa suffered a fractured skull in two separate places after being hit in the head by a piece of debris on the track while testing at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The debris was actually a suspension spring which came off of the car of Brawn GP driver and fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. It was immediately obvious something was seriously wrong when Massa made no attempt to steer the car clear of any obstacles and simply locked up the brakes to shave up as much speed as possible before slamming into a tire wall.
Massa was immediately airlifted to the AEK hospital in Budapest where he underwent emergency surgery. Peter Bazo, medical director at the hospital said that Massa’s injuries were life threatening but that he was “slightly improving.” After surgery he was put into a coma and has since been woken three times to meet with his family, including his wife who is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
The accident came just a week after Formula 2 driver Henry Surtees was killed at a race at Brands Hatch in the U.K. after being hit int he head by a tire.
Massa, a constant top-contender in the Formula 1 world championship, was just coming off a third-place finish at the German GP two weeks earlier (pictured celebrating above). With just three weeks until the next race, the Ferrari team is in need of a replacement driver. Ferrari has two strong candidates, but there is also speculation that Michael Schumacher could come out of retirement to race in Massa’s stead.