Paul Henman formula1 Updates after the Hungarian Grand Prix

Updates after the Hungarian Grand Prix

I’m sure by now everyone knows about Felipe Massa’s accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix a few days ago. (If you don’t, check out the video and photos in the comments for my post re: qualifying.)

It appears that Massa was approaching Turn 4 at about 170mph (274 km/hr) when he was hit by a spring that fell off Rubens Barichello’s Brawn GP car; the race stewards held onto the 800 gramme (1.8 lb) damper spring as part of their investigations; I haven’t seen any report of Brawn being penalised but I believe the investigation is ongoing.

Latest (and sometimes contradictory) news on Massa’s condition:

  • “Doctors have said that the threat to Felipe Massa’s life has passed, barring any complications – but revealed that the Brazilian has suffered an eye injury which may threaten his racing return.” [ITV]
    “Felipe Massa’s personal physician Dino Altmann claims the Brazilian driver’s left eye is undamaged and that the Ferrari racer should experience no problems and make a full recovery.” []
    “His condition is improving quickly and constantly,” said Dino Altman, personal doctor to Massa. “He is more and more awake and reactive. He spoke to several people today, using three different languages, replying always in a coherent way. He’s also progressing with his physiotherapy very well. He opened his left eye and confirmed that he can see with it. As far as the near future is concerned we have to be cautious, but I have to say that also today there are very positive signs.” []

  • “Michael Schumacher’s official spokeswoman has said the seven-time world champion would consider stepping into the injured Felipe Massa’s race seat at Ferrari if called upon by the Maranello team.” [ITV]
    “Michael Schumacher’s manager Willi Weber has moved quickly to deny speculation that the German driver could make a shock return to Formula 1.” [Autosport]
    “Official: Schumacher returns to replace Massa” [] [ITV]

During the race, the stewards announced they would investigate Kimi Raikkonen’s first lap incident with Sebastian Vettel (but not the incident where KR side-swiped Lewis Hamilton); I haven’t seen any updates on this, so presumably the Ferrari driver escaped punishment.

However, the stewards did summon representatives from two teams:

  • Renault , regarding the wheel that fell of Fernando Alonso’s car following his first pit stop.
    The race stewards ruled that Renault released Alonso from a pit stop knowing the wheel was not properly secured and then failed to tell the driver. Renault have told the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, that they will appeal. Should it stand, the ban would apply to the whole team and would deny Alonso the chance to race in front of his home fans at the European Grand Prix on 23 August. [source: BBC]
    BBC commentator and former F1 driver Martin Brundle thinks the FIA came down especially hard on Renault because of the recent death of Henry Surtees (BBC): “The team almost certainly would not have been penalised for the same situation at the previous race”.

  • Red Bull re: the late release of Mark Webber’s car from the pit box which almost resulted in a collision with Kimi Raikkonen.
    I haven’t seen the outcome of this; I’ll be surprised if Red Bull isn’t penalised because incidents in the pit lane are especially dangerous.

In other news:

  • BMW has announced that it will be withdrawing from Formula One at the end of the 2009 season. [] [ITV] [BBC]
  • Romain Grosjean is hoping to replace Nelson Piquet in the Renault. []

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