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DATE News (chronologically)
07/29/09
f1
Doctor: Massa will drive again  Felipe Massa has today been moved out of intensive care, with his personal doctor convinced he will race again.  Massa's rapid improvement since undergoing surgery on Saturday to repair a fractured skull has prompted doctors at the AEK military hospital in Budapest to move the Brazilian to his own private room.  It means Massa is now off the critical list, although the 28-year-old will continue to be closely monitored because, given the nature of his injury, caution is still required.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is to see Massa again today after initially paying a visit on Monday when there were fears he may never drive again due to concern surrounding the sight in his left eye. However, Massa is able to converse in three different languages - Portuguese, Italian and English - and has now started to take his first few tentative steps out of bed.

Ferrari spokesperson Luca Colajanni said: "The most important situation is that Felipe is out of intensive care and now in his own private room.

"He is speaking more or less normally and he has managed his first few steps so, from a clinical point of view, everything is going in the right direction.

"There are no issues for the time being, and although we are still cautious, he is getting better and better. The situation is improving all the time.

"There was some suggestion he would leave the hospital soon but he will remain in Budapest for as long as is necessary."

The progress has convinced Massa's own doctor, Dino Altmann, the Ferrari star's motor-racing career is far from over.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Altmann said: "I have no doubt Felipe will race again. I'm sure of that.

"The situation is still delicate but I believe his life is not in danger anymore.

"From the beginning I felt the trauma wasn't as extended as it was believed but the improvements have gone beyond our wildest expectations."

Altmann also believes fears surrounding Massa's left eye, seemingly damaged after he was struck on the helmet at 162mph by a suspension spring that had worked free from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn during qualifying for the Hungarian GP on Saturday, have eased.

"Stimulated by the physiotherapist, he showed he knows left from right and has full awareness of distance and depth," added Altmann.

"His eye has been opened, with care because it is still swollen, and he has said he can see. His vision has not weakened.

"He also gave appropriate answers in three languages: Portuguese, Italian, and English. That means the brain's cognitive area is fine."

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has been amazed by the rate of recovery, prompting him to return to Italy yesterday.

"It's a fantastic improvement. Only days after the crash he's made encouraging progress," remarked Domenicali.

"He recognized me, I greeted him and I brought him all the team's and the fans' warmth and support.

"He replied to me in Italian, after he had spoken to his family in Portuguese.

"He told me he can't remember anything that had happened: that's a good thing.

"The data is encouraging but in these situations it's better to be prudent and take one step at a time. We want him to recover as soon as possible."

Domenicali has confirmed there are no issues surrounding Massa's return, with the seat being kept warm until he is fit again.

"I confirmed to him we are looking forward to his return soon, that the car is his, and that as soon as he's ready he'll be back with us," added Domenicali.

Barrichello, who is currently in America with his family, remarked on his Twitter feed his delight at Massa's improvement.

"Good morning, and a very good morning indeed - Felipe can walk and talks normally," wrote Barrichello.

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