Lauda: ‘Nobody makes a helmet for that kind of accident’

Niki Lauda has spoken of Felipe Massa's freak accident in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday. The Brazilian, who lies in an induced coma in a Budapest hospital, struck an 800 gram metal damper which knocked him unconscious. Triple World Champion Lauda believes that the incident was an 'accident waiting to happen'.

Having come perilously close to losing his life in a Ferrari during a fiery accident at the 1976 German Grand Prix, Lauda is fully aware of the dangerous involved in motor racing. "It is a wake-up call for everyone," the Austrian said. "The human brain is so stupid that it forgets how dangerous this sport is.
Since the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger we have had little more than a broken finger, more or less. It was an accident waiting to happen. This sport is dangerous. If you drive these cars at these speeds it is dangerous."

With Henry Surtees – son of 1964 World Champion John – having lost his life after being hit by a loose wheel at Brands Hatch just six days before Massa's accident, Lauda stressed that work must never cease to improve safety in the sport. "It is an alarm call from somebody up there," Niki continued. "It is an alarm call to all of us not to think that this sport is safe and that no-one will get hurt; to be hit by a spring weighing nearly a kilo at 175 miles per hour is like getting hit by a ton of metal – nobody makes a helmet for this kind of accident, you can't.

"If it had come a little further into the centre there is no way he would have survived. He was lucky. We have been lucky for the past 15 years, since Senna."

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