Eye damage leaves Massa’s career in the balance
FELIPE MASSA’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’s horror smash in Hungary.
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.
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.
His surgeon, Professor Robert Veres, refused to be drawn on Massa’s future, but confirmed: “He has suffered some damage to the eye. We don’t know if he’ll be able to race again.”
He then added: “I don’t know if he can return. It’s too early to say about his future. We don’t know the extent of the damage. Without an operation it’s very hard to evaluate its function.”
Massa’s condition was described yesterday as “severe but not critical” with the 28-year-old due to undergo another CT scan last night.
He is said to be waking up more regularly and communicating “actively” and able to move his hands and legs – signs which encourage his team of doctors.
Spokesman Istvan Bocskai said: “He’s woken up more and more often now and he’s able to communicate actively, that is, he reacts when he’s talked to. “We are optimistic, in our hope a slow recovery is beginning.”
Ferrari are already said to be making provision to cover Massa’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’s bedside yesterday, refused to comment until the driver’s situation was clarified. “Our first priority is Felipe’s recovery, Felipe’s progress and so on,” he added. “Felipe’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.”
He added: “Team principal Stefano Domenicali has to think and make good proposals for the future.
“We don’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.”