Eye damage leaves Massa's career in the balance

FELIPE MASSA&rsquo;S career in Formula One was left hanging in the balance last night after his neurosurgeon confirmed he had suffered damage to his left eye during Saturday&rsquo;s horror smash in Hungary.<br /><br />The Ferrari driver is in intensive care at the AEK military hospital in Budapest after suffering a fractured skull in a freak accident in qualifying where he was hit by flying debris.<br /><br />Massa has apparently shown signs of improvement but it has also emerged that he may have sustained a long-term problem with his sight, which would almost certainly end his motor racing career. <br /><br />His surgeon, Professor Robert Veres, refused to be drawn on Massa&rsquo;s future, but confirmed: &ldquo;He has suffered some damage to the eye. We don&rsquo;t know if he&rsquo;ll be able to race again.&rdquo;<br /><br />He then added: &ldquo;I don't know if he can return. It&rsquo;s too early to say about his future. We don&rsquo;t know the extent of the damage. Without an operation it&rsquo;s very hard to evaluate its function.&rdquo;<br /><br />Massa&rsquo;s condition was described yesterday as &ldquo;severe but not critical&rdquo; with the 28-year-old due to undergo another CT scan last night.<br /><br />He is said to be waking up more regularly and communicating &ldquo;actively&rdquo; and able to move his hands and legs &ndash; signs which encourage his team of doctors.<br /><br />Spokesman Istvan Bocskai said: &ldquo;He&rsquo;s woken up more and more often now and he&rsquo;s able to communicate actively, that is, he reacts when he&rsquo;s talked to. &ldquo;We are optimistic, in our hope a slow recovery is beginning.&rdquo;<br /><br />Ferrari are already said to be making provision to cover Massa&rsquo;s absence, both for the remainder of the season and in the long-term, but team president Luca di Montezemolo, who was at the Brazilian&rsquo;s bedside yesterday, refused to comment until the driver&rsquo;s situation was clarified. &ldquo;Our first priority is Felipe&rsquo;s recovery, Felipe&rsquo;s progress and so on,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;Felipe&rsquo;s been an important member of the Ferrari family for many years, since he arrived as a kid, so we all hope he can come back soon.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;Team principal Stefano Domenicali has to think and make good proposals for the future.<br /><br />&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t want to wait too long for Felipe, but our first priority now is to find out about Felipe, and only at that moment will we take a decision.&rdquo;