Marlboro McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen sustained a head injury in a high speed accident during the first qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix. As described in the FIA press release issued by Professor Watkins, his condition is serious but stable.
The intensive care and neurospecialists have specifically requested that contacts and/or visits by the media do not interrupt or hamper their ability to perform their duties and the team would like to kindly ask the media to respect their wishes. As confirmed by the FIA press officer, regular bulletins will be issued throughout the weekend.
"The whole team in understandably distressed and at moments like these, you are a family sharing a mixture of emotions", commented Ron Dennis. "We know that Mika is in good hands and all of our thoughts will be with him throughout the next critical few days."
"Having studied the data, and inspected the car, there is absolutely no doubt that the left-hand tyre suffered a rapid deflation, as the result of a cut tyre which was almost certainly caused by Mika running over some of the track debris. No other damage, whatsoever, was found to the rear of the car."
Norbert Haug added: "We know that Mika is receiving the best medical treatment, as described to me by Professor Watkins, which of course is the only important thing that matters at a time like this."
Mika's team mate Mark Blundell said "My performance of today is irrelevant: all my thoughts are with Mika and I hope he recovers from the injuries he has sustained."