Published: Thursday March 21, 2013 MYT 2:35:00 PM
Updated: Thursday March 21, 2013 MYT 9:53:31 PM
F1 racer Massa: Career-threatening injury changed my life
By YVONNE LIM
KUALA LUMPUR: Scuderia Ferrari's Felipe Massa says that the freak accident in 2009 which threatened to end his career as a Formula One racer has caused him to "enjoy living" more.
"It changed the way I see life. I respect life even more now, it is so precious.
"I try to live it to the fullest - whether it be in terms of racing, or being with my family, or doing the other things I love," he said.
The Brazilian F1 driver, who is in his 11th season, suffered a skull injury and was nearly blinded during the Hungarian Grand Prix qualifier when a spring came loose from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car and hit the top of Massa's helmet, penetrating his visor and injuring him above the left eye.
He said that while it was tough readjusting to the sport initially, he is now very happy to be back with a "good direction".
Massa, 31, said that his biggest motivation to win the championship came from his three-year-old son Felipinho.
"He would ask me whenever I speak to him on the phone whether I had already won, which puts a lot of pressure on me," he said jokingly when met at Shell V-Power's "Mixology Masterclass" at the Ritz Carlton hotel on Thursday.
Asked if he would encourage his son to become an F1 racer, Massa said that it would make him happy to see his son take after him but would ultimately leave him to make his own decision.
"I wouldn't mind if he became a professional footballer either.
"I can just picture myself sitting in a stadium supporting him, while munching on popcorn," he said.
The 2013 Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix begins Friday at the Sepang International Circuit.