UPDATE ON MASA CONDITION

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Felipe Massa's condition is continuing to improve as doctors at the AEK Hospital in Hungary, where the Brazilian driver is being treated, denied earlier reports of eye damage and instead suggested he could make a full recovery.

Colonel Dr. Lajos Zsiros, the chief surgeon of the Hungarian Defence Forces, told a news conference on Monday that the 28-year-old had been woken from sedation on Monday afternoon, and was unlikely to be sedated again.

"In the last 24 hours some major changes have gone through in the condition of Felipe Massa," said Zsiros. "His condition continues to be stable. During the CT-scan we performed we could ascertain that there was an improvement in his condition. We stopped sedation and after that Felipe Massa became capable of making contact."

"So in the afternoon we stopped the artificial ventilation of Felipe. As we speak he is sleepy, but he gives adequate answers to the questions we ask him, and he can move his arms and legs spontaneously. Right now he has no fever, and we have removed the drain tube from his wound. Further improvement of his condition can be expected. During the night we do not plan to do any more interventions on him."

Zsiros denied the earlier reports that Massa had injured his left eye, which led to speculation about his future participation in Formula 1.

Peter Bazso, the hospital's medical director, explained that it was in fact too early to tell if there was any damage because Massa was still unable to open the eye: "We can give no positive neither negative answer to this, because at this stage the vision cannot be examined."

Bazso made it clear however that a full recovery was still entirely possible for the Brazilian.

"There is no such thing as 'this condition', because every case is different," he pointed out. "Of course it isn't impossible."

When asked when they will be able to determine if Massa has suffered any kind of lasting injury, Zsiros said: "There is no interval which we can define, but I would say it should be from one week to ten days."

He added that Massa would remain in intensive care as long as his condition made that necessary.

Dino Altmann, the Chief Medical Officer of the Brazilian Grand Prix, who also attended the news conference, confirmed Massa was now able to speak.

"He spoke, he wanted to know what happened to him. And he had some questions," Altmann revealed. "I would like to say that the family is very happy with the treatment Felipe is receiving here, and there's no question about transfer at the moment."

Altmann said they haven't asked Massa yet if he was able to remember the accident. He also explained that the operation on Saturday, which doctors described as "life-saving", was performed because of the skull damage, not because of brain swelling.

A spokesman for the AEK hospital confirmed Massa's family were already in Budapest, and a room was made available for them so they could stay with him at all times.