I’m sure by now many of you have heard about the shocking 15-car smash in Indycar at Las Vegas. Most drivers escaped with no or minor injuries, though all but one car were too destroyed to continue. But Dan Wheldon, the British driver who was to race from the back for the $5 million prize, has died from his injuries.
Motor racing is dangerous, whether it is on an oval or a road course. Safety measures have come a long way since people first raced in cars, but there are no guarantees. Robert Kubica had a nasty accident in February from which he is still recovering, and may never recover enough to race again (although we all have hope); Sergio Perez was lucky to escape from his qualifying crash in Monaco with only a concussion. It is incredible from the video I have seen that Dan Wheldon was the only tragedy or serious injury today.
I have no knowledge of Indycar safety measures. But before we criticise oval racing, remember that we let cars drive at breakneck speeds around the streets of Monaco every year. Remember how close Liuzzi came to Schumacher in Abu Dhabi last year. Remember Henry Surtees, who died at Brands Hatch in 2009 in a Formula Two accident. Whatever measures you take, motor racing will never cease to be dangerous, whatever level of racing.
Hold Dan Wheldon’s family and friends in your heart. Please pray for them, and for all the members of the Indycar family at this time.