In a development mirroring countless racing movies, Felipe Massa's doctors say that the injured driver is showing progress in his recovery, but that he may never race again. The Brazilian pilot, who narrowly missed winning the title last year, was knocked unconscious on Saturday by a loose component off the car of fellow countryman Rubens Barrichello – who coincidentally used to hold Massa's seat at Ferrari – and taken to the hospital in Budapest. Although Massa's injuries are no longer considered life-threatening and he was reportedly able to move limbs according to doctors' instructions, severe damage to his left eye could spell the end of his career.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo visited Massa at the hospital together with team principal Stefano Domenicali, who will stay with Massa's family – including his pregnant wife – another day while doctors determine how much longer he should stay at the Hungarian military facility before being moved closer to home. While Felipe's projected recovery time remains unclear at this point, it looks like he will be out for at least the rest of the season, meaning that the Scuderia will need to find someone suitable to fill his seat. The last time Ferrari had to temporarily replace an injured driver was ten years ago when Michael Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone. The team then elected to bring in Mika Salo, who supported team-mate Eddie Irvine in securing the constructors' championship for the team, rather than promoting one of its veteran test drivers.

Massa's injuries follow hot on the heels of the Henry Surtees incident that saw the son of former world champion John Surtees killed in a Formula 2 race a week ago, throwing the FIA into action to prevent further incidents. The Renault team was handed a one-race suspension as a penalty for a stray wheel that broke loose from Fernando Alonso's F1 car on Sunday and bounced dangerously down the track on the thirteenth lap of this past weekend's race. The FIA ruled that the team should have alerted its driver to the improperly secured wheel nut, and will subsequently have to sit out the upcoming European Grand Prix at Valencia, considered a home race for the penalized two-time world champion.

UPDATE: We've added a gallery of images taken during and after the incident, though should warn you that the gallery includes a shot of Massa after the accident occurred. It is not for the faint of heart, so don't look if you can't stomach seeing injuries well.


  • BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 25: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari prepares to drive during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 25, 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 25: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari is attended to by F.I.A. doctor Gary Hartstein, medical staff and marshalls following his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 25, 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 25: The car of Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari is taken away on a flatbed truck following his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 25, 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 25: The car of Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari is taken away on a flatbed truck following his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 25, 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 25: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari is airlifted by helicopter following his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 25, 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
  • The broken car of Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa is carried back in the pits after he crashed at the Hungaroring racetrack on July 25, 2009 in Budapest, during the qualifying session of the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / POOL / BELA SZANDELSZKY (Photo credit should read BELA SZANDELSZKY/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari mechanics pose with a placard reading 'Come on Felipe, we support you' on the grid of the Hungaroring racetrack on July 26, 2009 in Budapest, prior to the start of the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa underwent surgery on his fractured skull following a 200kph crash in the qualifying session of the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. Massa is in a 'serious, but stable' condition, the hospital said today. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A steel spring similar to the type that hit Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa is shown to the press in the paddock of the Hungaroring racetrack on July 26, prior to the start of the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa underwent surgery on his fractured skull following a 200kph crash in the qualifying session of the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. Massa is in a 'serious, but stable' condition, the hospital said today. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
  • This handout picture by the Hungarian News Agency provided on July 25, 2009 shows Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Scuderia Ferrari carried from his car after crashing during the qualifying session at the Hungaroring race track in Mogyorod near Budapest on July 25, 2009. The 28-year-old Brazilian - winner of 11 Grand Prix and the world championship runner-up in 2008 - came off at Turn Four after being struck by a piece of bodywork which had flown off the rear of compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car. Massa was airlifted to hospital and underwent surgery on his fractured skull. AFP PHOTO / HUNGARIAN NEWS AGENCY/TAMAS KOVACS (Photo credit should read TAMAS KOVACS/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A Hungarian fan shows her message for Formula One Brazilian driver Felipe Massa in front of Budapest's AEK hospital on July 27, 2009. Massa fractured his skull in an accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)


[Sources: Boston Globe and New York Times | Image: MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty]

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