Massa heading home soon

Formula One driver Felipe Massa will return home to Brazil as soon as Monday, his personal physician said Friday. "Felipe continues to improve," Dino Altmann said. "He is doing very well, and we already decided to go back home on Monday. I think...

Formula One driver Felipe Massa will return home to Brazil as soon as Monday, his personal physician said Friday.

"Felipe continues to improve," Dino Altmann said. "He is doing very well, and we already decided to go back home on Monday. I think this decision says all you need to know (about his condition)."

Altmann briefed reporters at AEK Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, where the Ferrari driver who was world championship runner-up last season was taken Saturday after being struck by debris and crashing heavily during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Hungary.

Massa, whose Ferrari race seat will be taken by seven-time world titlist Michael Schumacher, suffered a skull fracture when he was hit by a spring weighing nearly 2 pounds that fell from the rear suspension of compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP. The part bounced along the track before striking Massa's helmet above the driver's left eye. His car went straight off track and buried its nose in a tire barrier at an estimated 125 mph. Massa, 28, underwent emergency surgery and was considered to be in a life-threatening condition as he was placed in induced coma. Bruising to his left eye caused fears for his vision.

Altmann said this week he expects Massa to make a full recovery. A discussed move to Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris has been dropped in favor of a return to Massa's hometown, Sao Paulo.

"He's in a very good mood, good shape, and he just wants to come back soon," Altmann said.

Massa's family including his parents and his pregnant wife, Raffaela, flew from Brazil to be with him after the crash. Barrichello and his team principal Ross Brawn visited the hospital, as did Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali and former Ferrari team manager Jean Todt. Massa and his wife expect their first child in November.

A serious debris-caused accident was the second in single-seat racing in a week's time. The weekend before, Formula Two driver Henry Surtees, 18, was hit by a tire that broke free from a competitor's car. Surtees, son of 1964 Formula One world driving champion John Surtees, died of his injuries.

A third incident, a wheel coming off the Renault driven by Fernando Alonso during the Grand Prix of Hungary on Sunday, led stewards to suspend the team from the next race, the Grand Prix of Europe scheduled for Valencia, Spain, on Aug. 23. Renault have appealed the suspension. The International Court of Appeal of the sport's sanctioning body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), will hear the case Aug. 17 in Paris.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Kimi Raikkonen , Luca di Montezemolo , Ross Brawn , Felipe Massa , John Surtees , Jean Todt , Henry Surtees
Teams Ferrari , Brawn GP