Tuesday 25 October 2016

Former Formula One driver in coma following freak IndyCar crash


Published 24/08/2015 | 16:05

Justin Wilson was involved in an IndyCar crash
Justin Wilson was involved in an IndyCar crash

Former Formula One driver Justin Wilson is in a coma after suffering a freak accident during an IndyCar race in Pocono on Sunday night where he was hit on the head by debris from another crash.

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The 37-year-old was transported by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and is said to be in a “critical condition”.

Wilson was running in the middle of the pack when race leader Sage Karam spun and hit the outside wall of the tri-oval track.

A number of cars managed to avoid the out of control Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet as it came back down the track, but as Wilson moved high to avoid Karam he was struck by a large part of what appeared to be the front wing assembly.

Wilson’s car immediately veered left, with the driver appearing to have been knocked unconscious by the blow due to the fact that he did not attempt to slow down or avoid hitting the inside wall of Turn 1.

The impact with the wall was not a massive one, and the section that his Andretto Autosport Honda collided with was protected by a SAFER barrier.

Former Formula One driver Justin Wilson
Former Formula One driver Justin Wilson

A statement released on Indycar.com read: "IndyCar driver Justin Wilson suffered a severe head injury during today's event at Pocono Raceway.

"Wilson is currently in a coma and in critical condition while undergoing further evaluation at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

"IndyCar sends its thoughts and prayers to Justin, his family, and Andretti Autosport during this difficult time.

"Additional updates to Wilson's condition will be released when available."

Wilson’s younger brother, Stefan, posted a message on Twitter to thank fans for their support, and said he was “Praying for my bro” while attempting to get to the hospital where Wilson was being treated.

He added: “I have no update on his condition, he's been moved to the local hospital, and I'm trying to get there to be with him. Please don't speculate.”

Wilson competed in F1 in 2003 when he drove for both the Minardi and Jaguar teams, and claimed his one and only point of the season in the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, before moving on to Champ Car and later IndyCar.

Having won four race in Champ Car, Wilson has since taken three victories in IndyCar, and has a career best championship finish of 9th which came in 2009. He currently sits 24th in the 2015 IndyCar championship with 108 points to his name and one top five finish.

The incident comes almost four years after fellow British driver and two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed during an IndyCar race at Las Vegas Speedway, which prompted a host of changes to the car designs to try and aid driver safety.

Nascar driver Tony Stewart, who was involved in an accident during a sprint car race last year that caused the death of fellow American Kevin Ward Jr, freed up a private jet to help Wilson's family travel to the hospital to be by his side.

(© Independent News Service)

Independent News Service

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