?don?t talk about safety! Because you?re likely to provoke fate, which is what happened on Sunday. In three different racing series we saw safety, or lack of it, come into play, and I?ll start with the obvious one.
NASCAR had been doing it all week, and unfortunately, if we need any more proof that Pocono maybe unsafe, it was provided.
Sadler was just unlucky. As he got turned, he became a passenger in the No. 19, but no amount of preparation can suffice for a horrific crash like the one he suffered. Never, in all my years watching stock car, sports car, touring car, etc. racing have I seen an engine and front suspension come away from the front of the car.
And, in so many instances, it takes this kind of accident for action to be taken. It has happened all the way through motorsport, and it?s usually when the high profile names are killed that action is taken. You could roll out a list of names of people who have died and the sports have been made safer to stop more deaths.
Yet, we could argue, that since Sadler did walk away, to everyone?s amazement, that we should not be shouting for safety improvements every time a bad accident happens. For examples, Carl Edwards, Talladega Spring ?09, car comes up, hit?s the catch fence, which does it?s job, and Carl climbs from the wreck and runs to the line. One bad accident, no-one killed; all safety devices and features did what they where designed to do.
And once again, I could give more names and crashes: Kahne, Pocono earlier this year; Newman & Martin, Talladega Chase race; various Keselowski accidents, all of which drivers have walked out safe and sound. It shows that a lot of work goes into building pioneering safety devices.
Anyone in the US who hasn?t seen this crash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je71qzTdzx0 (hosted by Motorsport45 on Youtube)
Reminiscent of Mike Conway?s accident and Indy, and Mark Webber at Valencia, miscommunication led to Chris van der Drift becoming airborne and essentially having his car evaporating before his eyes, assuming he saw it and wasn?t knocked unconcious.
The car came up over that of Frenchman Julien Jousse, who misread the advancing van der Drift, hit the bridge support and skidded all the way down the track; all this at well over 120mph. Another scary accident to motorsport season filled with many crazy accidents that could?ve been avoided (debatably).
A tremendous amount of work goes into making not just Superleague Formula, but all open-wheel formulas as safe as possible, allowing Chris, a promising young driver, escape with a broken ankle, broken ribs and shoulder blades. Once again, an immaculate tribute to the safety of the cars in this generation.
Well, who didn?t see this coming? Schumacher, who obvious just doesn?t liked being overtaken, showed us another element of motorsport safety: having respect for one another.
But, we are of course talking about the seven time world champion, who doesn?t know the meaning of the word. You don?t need me to tell you the amount of unsafe driving he has done in his time. This time it was his former team-mate getting the wrong end of the Schumi stick by almost becoming Barrichello sandwich in between the legend and the pit wall.
Now, I don?t know about you, but I did admire Michael back in his heyday, for the some of the gutsy decisions he made, for his cool head in adverse situations, for his sometimes unbelievable speed. But for someone who has shown all that and more in his illustrious career, he is really starting to turn into a potential F1 reject. A driver who could be thrown by the wayside in the next 18 months, and all we will remember him by was the shabby performances from a once great man (also debatable).
Three safety issues, one clear message. Look after yourself.
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