BUDAPEST, July 31 – Injured Formula One driver Felipe Massa will leave hospital on Sunday and return home to Brazil, hospital director Istvan Szilvassy said Thursday.The Ferrari driver will be moved from the hospital to Budapest’s Ferihegy airport by helicopter, to switch to an air ambulance aircraft which will take him to Brazil, Hungarian state television m1 quoted AEK hospital director Szilvassy as saying.
"His condition is appropriate, he does not have any serious neurological symptoms at the moment. I think the early phases of rehabilitation can start now," AEK neurologist Attila Toth said in the programme.
Earlier on Thursday, Massa’s Brazilian doctor Dino Altman said that the injured driver’s release date was yet undecided.
"For now, he is going to stay in Hungary. The goal is that he gets stronger. But I think he is going home from here," Altman said in his daily update on Massa’s condition.
Altmann denied speculation that Massa could be transferred to Paris to be treated by French orthopaedic surgeon and FIA doctor, Gerard Saillant, although that option had been considered.
Saillant had been staying in Budapest and had examined Massa, but was set to leave the Hungarian capital on Thursday, Altman said.
Massa, for his part, was in good spirits, even if he "looks like a boxer," the doctor said.
"He talks a lot and is cracking jokes," Altman said.
When he heard, for example, that German champion Michael Schumacher was stepping in for him, "Felipe said: ‘We’ll see if I let him drive that car’," the doctor said. "Racing is all he can think of."
Seven-time world champion driver Schumacher, who retired in 2006, announced Wednesday he would make a return to Formula One to replace Massa for the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23 and possibly for the remainder of the season.
Massa suffered severe injuries when he was struck at around 275 kph by a spring that flew off compatriot Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.
The 28-year-old driver underwent surgery on his fractured skull.
He was taken out of intensive care Wednesday.