Canadian IndyCar star James Hinchcliffe, who captured the season opener in St. Petersburg, isn’t shy about who his racing hero was and is: Greg Moore. The talented Canadian would have been 38 on Monday.
“Hinch” paid tribute to Moore a year ago during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, when he put a pair of Moore’s used trademark red racing gloves inside his firesuit for his run (right). He ended the emotional day second on the grid, and said that run was for Moore, who never had a chance to race in that event.
Moore’s four-year career in the CART ranks from 1996 to 1999 featured five wins, and at the time of his first win in Milwaukee, 1997, he was the youngest race winner in series history at age 22.
Beyond his efforts on track, Moore was regarded as one of CART’s brightest off-track talents, a popular figure to the community at large. A handful of drivers on the current grid – Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves among them – raced against Moore during that period. Oriol Servia and Scott Dixon raced in Indy Lights in that 1999 season, a championship Moore dominated in 1995 before advancing into CART.
He lost his life in an accident at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway the last race of the 1999 season, in what would have been his final start before switching to Team Penske. Castroneves inherited the seat, which he has held to this day.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”