Sunday, 23 October 2011

Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli

This week has been a sad one in the world of motorsport. On the 16th of October a 15 car crash in the Indy 500 led to the death of British driver Dan Wheldon. Today, we lost Italian racer Marco Simoncelli in the Moto GP. These two deaths are tragic reminders of the risks involved in motorsport, and my thoughts are with them and their families. I know it's kind of stupid to be upset about the loss of people you've never even met, but the world of motorsport is like a massive family, and to lose anyone from this world is tragic.

I've posted before about why I hate people watching motorsport for the crashes, and today has highlighted why. I began watching Moto GP earlier this year, and I was immediately taken with Marco Simoncelli. He was a highly entertaining racer and was a joy to watch. Today's crash looked horrific - I wish I hadn't seen it. It's awful to think that in that instant we lost someone through nothing more than an accident. It makes you question whether pushing things to the limit is worth the risks, however I don't think there's a single racer out there who would give anything less than the maximum.

Dan Wheldon's crash in the Indy 500 was just as harrowing as Simoncelli's today. Safety standards in the Indycar races have been called into question, and rightly so. Mark Blundell commented that having four cars side by side is dangerous enough, without the massive high speed that these drivers carry. One slip led to a death and that just isn't acceptable.

We can only hope that people involved in motorsport everywhere learn from these accidents - just as F1's safety standards improved after the many tragedies in that discipline. I'd love to see motorsport reach a stage whereby the risks to life are almost non-existent, but whether this happens or not is another story.

Today, I'll be thinking of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli.