Doctors treating Ferrari driver Felipe Massa have admitted that the Brazilian's F1 career could be brought to a premature end by injuries sustained in his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Massa was rushed to hospital following the incident, which saw him hit on the head by a spring that had broken away from the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello.
The 2008 runner-up underwent emergency surgery for a fractured skull and remains in a stable condition in hospital.
However, Robert Veres – one of three doctors who operated on Massa – admitted that there was concern over damage to the Brazilian's left eye which could affect his racing career.
"We can say that the immediate life-threatening condition has been averted but a complication could make it life-threatening again," Veres told a news conference. "Currently he is in a severe but not critical condition and he is stable.
"I don't know (if he can return). It's too early to say anything concerning his future, regarding the race. (We don't yet) know the quality of this damage."
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo visited Massa in hospital and confirmed that the team was fully focused on the Brazilian's recovery before discussions begin over who could be brought in to replace him behind the wheel.
"For us, the first priority is to find out Felipe's recovery progress and situation he is a very important member of the Ferrari family not just the Ferrari team,” di Montezemolo was quoted by the BBC
. "First we will find out the situation with Felipe and then we will see and we will think, without pressure.
"Only at that moment will we make a decision and if we have to take a decision we will make a good decision."
Doctors have stated that - even if the damage to his eye doesn't end his career - Massa is unlikely to return to action this season.