INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger has confirmed that Dario Franchitti has been admitted to the Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center here in Houston for multiple injuries including a concussion, a spinal fracture that will not require surgery, and a fractured right ankle. He will be kept overnight for observation.
Franchitti was involved in a multi-car crash on the final lap of today’s Race 2 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, in which he was sent airborne and into the catch fence after contact with Takuma Sato.
The incident also collected E.J. Viso, but Sato and Viso were able to come away unscathed. Franchitti’s car owner, Chip Ganassi, told NBCSN shortly after the crash that his driver was awake and alert.
Franchitti’s impact against the catch fence sprayed debris not only across the track but toward the nearby Turn 5 grandstands. After an initial report from local TV station KTRK-TV said that 13 spectators were injured, with two of them being sent to a local hospital for further treatment, a joint statement from race organizer Mi-Jack Promotions, Reliant Park and INDYCAR confirmed two fans were indeed taken to hospitals and 11 fans were treated on-site.
“Officials are investigating the incident and currently do not have further information at this time. Fan and driver safety are always a primary concern and we will provide further details as they are available,” the statement said additionally.
Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.
Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.
However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.
Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.
This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.
“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.
“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.
“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.
“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”
Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen has heaped praise upon Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, supporting his decision to ignore team orders during last month’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Verstappen only turned 18 on Wednesday, but has already made a big impression on the F1 world during his first 14 races with his aggressive driving style and mature approach to racing.
In Singapore, Verstappen was told by Toro Rosso to let faster teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. go past, but refused to give up his position and eventually beat the Spaniard to finish eighth.
Writing in his Hermes blog, Hakkinen backed Verstappen’s decision to stay ahead and praised the Dutchman for his performances so far this season.
“A driver must be alert and keep track of what is happening around him at all times,” Hakkinen wrote. “That’s what Verstappen is. He does not simply let anyone pass if it’s not for the world championship, but only a few championship points.
“Verstappen is 18 years old, but the guy’s already a real pro. Young people are developing incredibly fast nowadays, and by that I don’t mean just drivers.”
Despite having more than half a season of F1 racing under his belt, Verstappen only gained his road driver’s license on his 18th birthday, having previously been under the age limit to drive a regular car in public.