Ross Brawn explains Massa's accident and talks about F1 safety

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During a chat with the press yesterday evening at the Hungaroring, Brawn GP Team Principals, Ross Brawn, filled in some of the details about Felipe Massa's accident as the Brazilian was hit by a piece of Rubens Barrichello's car.

What came off Rubens Barrichello’s car?

"It was a spring. It came off the back of Rubens’ car and it hit Felipe. It was the third damper spring. We had a problem at the back and we’re still investigating. We haven’t had the piece back from the FIA yet. Once we get it back we can begin to understand what occurred and draw some conclusions."

How heavy a component is it?

"It would be between 700g and 1kg. I believe it is made of steel. The damper was still there, only the spring was gone; the cup had come off and the spring had escaped."

Did Ruben’s realise something had broken?

"Yes. He reported on the radio immediately; obviously without the spring the car sits down so he felt that straight away."

Felipe was quite a long way behind Rubens on the track. How could he have been hit be debris?

"Rubens was four seconds ahead of Felipe. The spring must have been bouncing around on the track. I don’t know the details but it is surprising with him being so far back. It’s a freakish thing that happened."

The Grand Prix Drivers Association discussed improving cockpit safety at their meeting this weekend, in the light of the death of Henry Surtees last week. Is there anything that can be done?

"There is – but we need to keep perspective on this. From what’s been seen last weekend and this weekend we need to have a proper study and see if something needs to be done. It gets into the area of structures, windscreens and canopies. Anything is possible, but I think first we need to digest what’s happened and understand it properly. I must say, without knowing the details, it seems like the work that’s been done on the helmets in the last few years has been essential today. As you know the helmets have been improved quite a lot over the last few years. So the work that’s been done there is a great credit to the people who initiated that and pushed it through."

In the past the reason for not having a canopy was the fear of a driver being caught in an inverted car that was on fire. With the fire risk greatly reduced, is it time to revaluate that?

"I think it’s time to look at the whole thing and take a balance approach. You can have covers and you can have canopies, but you also have to be able to get at a driver to extract him. You don’t want a structure that collapses down on a driver. There are a lot of secondary considerations. But it’s something we will look at for sure. In the history of F1 this is a rare occurrence. The sides are very high now and we have all the headrests, so it’s pretty rare, but we have to look at it seriously and see if there is something we can do. If we need to react, I’m sure we will react promptly. What we don’t want to do is make the situation worse."

Source Red Bulletin