Team says Massa improving

Updated: July 29, 2009, 6:53 PM ET
Associated Press

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Formula One driver Felipe Massa took his first steps Wednesday since a high-speed crash last weekend left him near death.

Massa's father said his son had moved out of AEK hospital's intensive care unit.

"Felipe speaks, can sit upright and was even able to take his first steps," Ferrari, Massa's team, said in a statement. "From the clinical and radiological point of view, everything is going extremely well."

The 28-year-old Brazilian was hit in the helmet by a loose part from another car and crashed into a protective tire barrier while going at 120 mph during qualifying Saturday at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He suffered skull fractures and a concussion.

Massa's father, Luiz Antonio, said his son still doesn't remember the accident.

He had expected Massa to be transferred to a hospital in Paris as soon as Thursday, but doctors told him his son likely would remain in Budapest until Sunday.

"There is no rush," Luiz Antonio told Brazil's GloboEsporte.com on Wednesday, adding that it was still possible that Massa would continue treatment in Paris.

Family doctor Dino Altman said Massa was surprised to hear that McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian GP and that Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was second.

"This was my race," Massa said, according to Altman, adding that the driver was able to remember some details of the qualifying session in which he crashed.

Also on Wednesday, Brazilian driver and friend Popo Bueno said Massa had asked about his chances of racing in Valencia in three weeks, the next race on the F1 calendar.

"Friends and relatives want to see him well, at home, healthy. But the driver always wants to return to racing soon," Bueno said. "But only the doctors can know if he will be able to return this year or the next."

Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher will replace Massa at the Aug. 21-23 European GP.

Ferrari also said company chairman Luca di Montezemolo would visit Massa on Wednesday.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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