Prominent Formula 1 racer Felipe Massa was killed in a crash during the German Grand Prix yesterday when his car became inverted in a horrific crash on the first corner almost immediately after the race began. He was killed instantly during the crash, the extremely poor design of the stock car causing his decapitation.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Felipe Massa in a crash during the Prix yesterday,” said Formula 1 representative Frederic Duerst. “Mr. Massa was a phenomenal driver who unfortunately perished competing in a sport that he loved, that he lived for. We pass our deepest sympathies on to his family, friends, and the rest of his team at Williams Engineering.”
Massa, who had grown up racing go-karts from the age of 8, became a world-class racer in his late teens, winning the European Grand Prix championship title when he was 19. He quickly worked his way up the ranks of racing, it finally being announced that he would join the Williams team alongside world-famous racer Valtteri Bottas.
The race, which was postponed for only a few hours following Massa’s death so his body could be moved and car towed away, was overshadowed by the horrific event. Teammate Bottas, who finished second in the race, was hoping for a victory.
“Felipe was one of the best drivers I’d ever seen, and he was a wonderful teammate and friend,” said Bottas. “He joined us in November of last year, and had a great future ahead of him in this sport. It’s a sad day for us, and a sad day for racing fans everywhere. That being said, though, I kicked some a– out there, huh? Second place? I’ll take it.”
Fans in the stands were both saddened and excited by the crash.
“Everyone comes to these races to see a good crash,” said Hans Uhl, a fan who follows the Mercedes team. “This crash was one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. Yes, a man was killed, but it was so cool to see [the car] flying through the air.”
Williams Engineering has said that they have plans to look over the entire vehicle to ensure it was not mechanical malfunction that caused the crash.
“We think it was just a bad day on the track,” said Williams Engineering spokesman David Black. “Formula 1 racing is a dangerous sport. They race in the worst-designed cars I’ve ever seen. Open tops, little restraints. Oh, and the helmets? My God, what’s the point? I’m surprised people aren’t dying out there every race.”
Massa will be interred at his home in São Paulo, Brazil. He was 33 years old.