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Driver Felipe Massa Suffers Life-Threatening Injury, Undergoes Head Surgery

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)
Adam BoutonCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2009

The Hungarian Grand Prix is set to take place Sunday afternoon, however that is the furthest thing from the mind's of many, after a Formula One driver had to be airlifted from the track with a "life-threatening" injury.

Felipe Massa suffered a head injury after a metal spring fell off one of the Brawn GP cars, flew up and hit Massa in the helmet. The driver continued driving after being struck and went over a curb, through some gravel and hard into a tire-lined barrier.

Massa, 28-years-old, had surgery for the fractured skull approximately one hour after arriving via helicopter at AEK Hospital in Budapest, Hungary.

Medical director Peter Bazso said that Massa's condition is serious, however he is also in stable condition. He was expected to be awoken on Sunday.

"Following a complete medical examination it emerged that he had suffered a cut on his forehead, a bone damage of the skull and a brain concussion," Massa's team Ferrari said in a statement following the incident.

Massa's Ferrari was a wreck after the car traded paint with the wall, where both tires were loose and the front of his car was obliterated.

Rubens Barrichello, a fellow driver and also a Brazilian, was at the hospital following the crash to check in on his countryman.

"I wanted to see him myself because I've been in situations like that," Barrichello said. "We are Brazilians and sometimes we have a family, sometimes we don't, and when we wake up all we want to see is someone we know."

Just less than one week ago, Henry Surtees, the son of former Formula One champion John Surtees, died in an Formula Two race. The incident happened last Sunday when a tire struck him in the head, forcing him to drive straight into a barrier.

The last Formula One driver to die on the track was three-time champion Ayrton Senna, which came more than fifteen years ago.

Barrichello seems worried about the future and fears for the safety of everyone.

"It is not a coincidence that something happened right now," he said. "Something needs to be done."

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