F1 community pays tribute to Dan Wheldon

IndyCar

Dan Wheldon

Dan Wheldon

The tragic death of Dan Wheldon yesterday has touched many in and around the F1 community.

Drivers and team members, past and present, have paid tribute to the IndyCar racer, who died yesterday a crash in Las Vegas.

Here is a selection of the messages they have sent over the last 24 hours.

Lewis Hamilton

This is an extremely sad day. Dan was a racer I?d followed throughout my career, as I often followed in his footsteps as we climbed the motorsport ladder in the UK.

He was an extremely talented driver, as a British guy, who not only went over to the States but who twice won the Indy 500. This is a tragic loss at such a young age. My heart goes out to his family and friends during this extremely difficult time.

Jenson Button

Just woken up to the most horrific news. I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early nineties, a true fighter.

We’ve lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy. I can’t begin to imagine what his family are going through and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.

Michael Schumacher

All of us, we try to convince ourselves constantly that motorsport nowadays is so safe that nobody has to lose his life, but then unfortunately that`s still wishful thinking.

I have heard this morning about the terrible accident which caused Dan Wheldon to die, and it just left me shocked and speechless. My thoughts are now with his family.

Mark Webber

Rest in Peace Dan. I remember our early days in the UK ’95/96. Miss ya.

Rubens Barrichello

Just got out from the plane and got the terrible news about the death of our friend Dan Wheldon. Will always remember the great times we had at karting in Brazil my friend. Rest in peace.

Paul di Resta

Very sad news that a great racer died. Rest in peace Dan. Thoughts are with your family.

Jaime Alguersuari

Heard about the bad news rest in peace Dan.

Heikki Kovalainen

Very sad to read Dan Wheldon has died, RIP.

Pastor Maldonado

Sorry about Wheldon, we have to work and increasing safety on the tracks, especially on the ovals.

Sergio Perez

How sad to hear the news of Dan Wheldon!

Jerome D’Ambrosio

RIP Dan Wheldon.

Karun Chandhok

Just bumped into Mark Webber in Singapore airport who told me the shocking news about Dan Wheldon. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Narain Karthikeyan

A sad day for motorsport – amidst all of its easy to forget that hazards of motor-racing still exist. RIP Dan Wheldon.

Pedro de la Rosa

Our thoughts go to Dan Wheldon’s family. Can not imagine what they are going through. Always on our mind.

Gary Paffett

Tragically Dan Weldon has been killed in the crash at Vegas today. A massive loss to the motorsport world. He was a star and a real nice guy. The untimely death of Dan Wheldon at the peak of his career has really reminded me of how cruel Motor Racing can be. We have lost a star!

McLaren

RIP Dan Wheldon. We pass on our condolences to his family and friends. Our thoughts are with them.

Williams

A tragic loss of a great motorsport talent who will be missed by so many. Our thoughts are with Dan Wheldon’s family and friends.

Sauber

Yesterday was one of the bad days of motorsport. Our thoughts are with all involved and especially Dan Wheldon’s family and team.

Lotus

We would like to add our thoughts and prayers to the multitude of people paying respect to Dan Wheldon. A true Champion has passed away. RIP.

Virgin

From all at Marussia Virgin Racing, our heartfelt condolences to Dan Wheldon’s family and friends. A tragic loss for them and for motorsport.

Petronas Motorsports

Tragic news on IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon’s death yesterday. Sincere condolences to his family from us at Petronas Motorsports.

Alan Permane (Renault)

My thoughts go out to his family and friends and all my mates working in IndyCar. RIP Dan.

Rene Dias Torcato (Renault)

Woke up to the news of a massive stunt in IndyCar to find out the shock news of Dan Wheldon losing his life. Extremely terrible news. RIP.

Riad Asmat (Lotus)

Truly sad to hear about Dan Wheldon, very very unfortunate.

Tom Webb (Lotus)

RIP Dan Wheldon. He was a Great Briton, a rare talent and a magnificent ambassador for the motorsport community worldwide. Thoughts also with Julian and all at CSS. They went through this in ’94 with Ayrton so hope they can navigate next days and months with strength.

Paul Hembery (Pirelli)

Terrible to wake up to news of Dan Wheldon’s death racing in Vegas. RIP and my sincere condolences to his wife and children.

Enrique Bernoldi

I still cant believe what happened yesterday, RIP my friend Dan Wheldon my thoughts are with your family and friends. We’re gonna miss you, God bless.

Mark Blundell

RIP Dan Wheldon, my thoughts go to his family, loss of a great young talent and nice guy. Racing can be so cruel at times. RIP Indy 500 winner. Days like this are never easy for any driver old and young, brings home the risk and underlines in bold, make tougher when you know the guy!

Martin Brundle

It’s so so sad about Dan Wheldon. Deepest condolences to his wife and young children along with family and friends. This is a cruel sport.

Luciano Burti

Really sad with Dan Wheldon’s death in Indy. An ex-rival in the British race tracks that became a friend. All my thoughts to his family.

Anthony Davidson

Spent so many races trying to match Daniel as we grew up and raced together. I’m utterly devastated to hear the sad news. RIP Dan.

Robert Doornbos

RIP Dan Wheldon. What a great champion and colleague! My thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family!

Christian Fittipaldi

My prayers and thoughts to Dan’s family and friends.

Emerson Fittipaldi

Very sad day! Two times Indy 500 winner! Great Champion! All my condolences and love to Dan Wheldon’s family! I have seen many fine men/racers leave us prematurely over my lifetime, it is an unfortunate part of our sport. Godspeed Dan Wheldon.

Johnny Herbert

Just read the sad news. My thoughts to all his family and friends. RIP Dan.

Nigel Mansell

“Just heard the dreadful news of Dan Wheldon we send our thoughts and condolences to his family. A great young man with so much talent.”

Perry McCarthy

Very sad to hear the terrible news of Dan Wheldon. RIP mate.

Allan McNish

Rest in peace Dan, we will miss you. All my thoughts are with the Wheldons right now. Sad day.

Tiago Monteiro

Still can’t get over it. So sad. Specially having such young kids. [...] I only met him once, was a lovely guy. A tragic loss!

Juan Pablo Montoya

Life is not fair. We are gonna miss a really great guy. Dan we are gonna miss you.

Tiff Needell

Dan Wheldon the little kid I interviewed for a Top Gear karting special long ago who would be a double Indy winner now gone forever – RIP.

Max Papis

Here thinking of all my IndyCar friends, I never though we would have gone trough again this after Greg… let’s learn out of it.

Nelson Piquet Jnr

Can’t believe the news of Dan Wheldon. My prayers for his family and closer friends.

Antonio Pizzonia

What a tragedy! Hard to believe. RIP, my friend!

Takuma Sato

I am so deeply sad for Dan Wheldon?s family. He was a great competitor and gentleman. All his friends in motorsport will miss him deeply.

Scott Speed

All I keep thinking about is how we can help his family! It’s impossible to imagine what they must be going through right now. So damn sad.

Justin Wilson

Just don’t know what to say. So many thought that are mixed up right now. Dan is one of the Indycar greats. Thoughts with his family.

Sakon Yamamoto

Very shocking news [...] it’s very very sad for motorsport. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. RIP Dan Wheldon.

Alex Yoong

Rest in peace Dan, A true competitor in the prime of his life. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. He will be missed.

Derek Warwick

British Racing Drivers’ Club president Derek Warwick sent the following statement on behalf of the club:

“On behalf of the British Racing Drivers? Club (BRDC), I wish to extend my sincere sympathies to Dan?s wife Susie and their boys Sebastian and Oliver, as well as the rest of his family and his team following the tragic news of his death in a racing accident yesterday at Las Vegas in the final Indy Car Series round of the year.

“The BRDC is extremely proud of Dan and all that he achieved and was achieving in the United States. He was undoubtedly one of the great talents of his generation as his racing results testified. Two victories in the Indy 500 put him in a very select group of drivers and having won the Rookie of the Year honours in 2003 it was no surprise that he should win the Indy Car Championship in 2005. Dan followed this in 2006 by winning the BRDC Gold Star, beating the likes of Jenson Button, Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Dario Franchitti to this coveted award.

“Dan was a true professional and a great ambassador for the sport. He was highly focused in the way he approached his racing and a real perfectionist. He pushed himself, and those he worked with, hard to produce results that were worthy of his talents and that fed his insatiable hunger to win. With his film-star good looks and athletic prowess, it was no wonder that the American public took him to their hearts.

“In the BRDC we will remember Dan as a great racing driver who was very much involved with the Club and our circuit at Silverstone during the formative years of his career. Dan was, for many years, part of the BRDC ??Rising Stars? young driver programme. So proud of this recognition was he, that even after qualifying to be a Full Member of the BRDC he chose to remain a Rising Star, as he felt it represented what he was and helped the Indy Car world understand where he was set on going; to the very top. As a young driver Dan was also a finalist in the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award on two occasions, which was proof, if it was needed, that great things lay ahead of him.

“When Dan did eventually become a Full Member of the BRDC he commented at the time, ‘To be included in a group of such great names makes me feel very special. I will do everything that I can to represent the BRDC in a way that makes you all very proud.’

“Dan Wheldon was a great ambassador for the BRDC and motor sport generally. He will be hugely missed.”

F1 Fanatic

On behalf of the F1 Fanatic community I wish to add my own sincerest regrets and heartfelt support to Dan Wheldon’s family and friends.

Image ?? IndyCar

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47 comments on F1 community pays tribute to Dan Wheldon

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  1. Mild7nick (@mild7nick) said on 17th October 2011, 21:43

    Very touching.

    24 hours on and it still doesn’t seem real, I remember Senna but was too young to really comprehend it all. Remember watching live on tv when Greg Moore was killed which was very difficult.

    This is a massive loss to Britain and the greater motorsport community.
    Before I make my point its only right to pay tribute to Dan Wheldon as one of the greatest driving exports this country has ever produced.
    2 Indy 500 wins and an Indy title in the space of 6 years puts Dan right up there with any of the British motor racing legends.

    The hardest thing about it all is that sinking feeling that it could have been avoided if it hadn’t been for a series of questionable decisions.
    Firstly to think that they were even going to let rally drivers, x games drivers etc into the race is almost scary in itself. But the decision to allow a 34 car entry was irresponsible at best and a possible case of gross negligence at worst.

    That it was allowed at Las Vegas, a Nascar track that had no place on the Indycar calender only makes it worse. It seems they have been fixated on creating restrictor plate-style Nascar racing despite the dangers being ten fold with open wheelers.

    One of the things that struck me was after only a few laps was that cars were already touching wheels and it made you fear the worst, had the crash happened half way through the race you could have maybe put it down to a racing accident but that it happened after only 12 laps showed that the cars clearly were not suited to racing there and it was only a matter of time.

    The other scary thing is that there could have so easily have been 2 or 3 drivers who lost their lives in the accident and it was only luck that prevented this.
    I’m not calling for resignations or anything like that, what Indycar needs right now is leadership but it also needs to hold its hands up and bring about some fundamental changes for the future.

    In my humble opinion the 1.5 mile ovals like Vegas, Texas, Iowa have no place in this form of racing. Places like Milwaukee and New Hampshire yes but Indycar cannot take any more unnecessary risks with where they race and the fast ovals really need to go.
    I’d be amazed and appalled in equal measure if they return to Vegas next year. The championship needs to build its future on road courses, street tracks, short ovals and of course the Indy 500.

    I found last nights viewing the most difficult of my 20 years of watching motorsports and although you can never make racing completely safe lets hope we never see a multiple car crash the likes of that ever again.

    It all seems so cruel on Dan Wheldon and of course his family, it will take a long time to sink in for everyone.
    RIP DW

    • This is an excellent post. Thank you. I’d like to add, that the drivers themselves need to take a stand and be steadfast in their decisions to make this sport safer.
      The venue, an overcrowded field, and inexperienced competitors all played a part in this tragedy. All the drivers were worried, due to their experience and common sense, about this venue. They had prevented this from occurring once before, at Texas. They could have prevented this from ever happening as well.

      That being said, RIP Dan. You will not be forgotten.

    • Tiffoc (@tiffoc) said on 18th October 2011, 11:58

      Great post Mild7nick, very well said. And to add a postscript…
      The drivers themselves did raise issues before the race with the track officials, stating the track was to small for 34 cars doing speeds upto and over 200mph, claiming it was an accident waiting to happen. To no avail obviously..

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th October 2011, 21:46

    What to add. Its good to see all these people share their feelings and pay hommage to a great person who lost his life.

  3. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 17th October 2011, 21:49

    Its just comes to show that regardless if we’re paying attention to a particular Motorsport category or not,If we dislike a particular driver or teamWe still care about all Racing Drivers deep in our hearts!!! There’s not cold hearted person in this community

    RIP Dan Wheldon once again,You’ll most certainly be remembered!!!

  4. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 17th October 2011, 21:50

    There’s not cold hearted person in this community

    I was meant to say no cold hearted,Apologsies!!!

  5. Slr (@slr) said on 17th October 2011, 21:57

    This whole chapter still feels weird inside when I think about it. Every crash I see I always think the driver is okay, even if the crash itself scares me (except for Hamilton in Belgium when he initially didn’t move).

    It is great to see not just the IndyCar community, but the whole motorsport community come together to reminisce and celebrate Wheldon’s life and career through the pain everyone is feeling.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th October 2011, 22:01

    Massa has also given some quotes to the Brazilian press, here’s an auto-translation.

    Be warned this article contains graphic images:

    http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?sl=pt&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http://globoesporte.globo.com/motor/noticia/2011/10/felipe-massa-lamenta-morte-de-dan-wheldon-na-indy-uma-coisa-terrivel.html&act=url

    That came via @lookingspiffy on Twitter.

  7. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 17th October 2011, 22:04

    I have to say, I’ve been tremendously moved and very proud to see just how the international motorsport community have come together to mourn the loss of Dan Wheldon and the pay respect to his memory. From the powerful tribute made by the drivers, teams, officials and fans in Las Vegas after the announcement last night to the tributes that have poured in from motorsport figures from all nations, series and generations including those above, I was incredible touched and intensely proud to call myself a motorsports fan.

    We all lost one of our own last night. All of the comments left on this site, on Twitter, on Facebook , on YouTube etc have demonstrated that, ultimately, we are all part of a wonderful international family. Through our love of watching incredible men and women do incredible things in incredible machines, we are all part of the same group and share the same identity. I know that a lot of users on here were watching the race live with myself and despite all the horror, the concern and the dread, I took a lot of comfort from being able to share my thoughts with my fellow racing fans and grieve collectively.

    There have been many occasions over the last few years when I’ve seen truly horrific accidents and been consistently stunned and relieved to see drivers walk away and survive. We’re living in an incredible age of motorsport safety and we must all be extremely thankful to all of those who have played a part in that being the case. Ultimately, however, last night reminded us of the sad reality that we all knew – that no matter what the current standards of safety are, motorsport remains a very dangerous pursuit and there is still much more work to be done to try and minimise all reasonable risks.

    While IndyCar will inevitably have to take a hard look at itself and ask some hard questions about what it can learn from this tragedy, Formula 1 needs to ensure that the quest for improving safety standards in our own series never wavers. Formula 1 is and never will be “safe enough” or “too safe”. We need the FIA to keep doing everything they can to eliminate needless dangers and risks, so we can continue to watch and admire these true heroes of sport without hopefully ever having to experience a day like yesterday in our own series.

  8. Fred Schechter said on 17th October 2011, 22:18

    Still so sad to think about it, haven’t written much due to that. The words by other drivers have been great as they knew Dan the best. I only wish there was a better way to learn about wonderful people before they are taken too soon from us. Over on this side of the pond earlier this year I was in the IndyCar trailer speaking with an official simply gushing about how great Dan was and what a shame it was he didn’t have a regular drive. As more great Dan stories trickle in, it’s just harder to read. You Sir Mr. Wheldon will be truly missed.

  9. Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 17th October 2011, 22:37

    As the shock wears off it’s getting harder and harder to come to terms with the fact that he’s dead.
    I can’t imagine how terrible this is for the people who knew him.
    Condolences and RIP Dan.

    Lets hope this has a similar impact on indycar safety as Senna’s death had on F1.
    We really do take that for granted with all the complaining about run-off etc.

  10. Wonderfull comments coming from the racing community. I thought the BRDC comments in particuler were classy and tell you everything about Dan Wheldon as a person and the high esteem that people thought of him.

    Its just sad that he had to die before he got the attention here in the UK that he deserved in his lifetime for his achievements.

    RIP Dan Wheldon.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th October 2011, 23:29

    Wonderful words and fantastic spirit from the motorsport world. Definitely my saddest day as a motorsport fan but equally so, my proudest. It’s always said that a true test of a person its how they are at their lowest and today absolutely everyone has been exemplary.

  12. MattHT (@mattht) said on 17th October 2011, 23:38

    Still pretty stunned by it all 24 hours on, though it has been comforting seeing and hearing the constant stream of support for his nearest and dearest from all those in the motorsport community.

  13. Err Bob said on 17th October 2011, 23:40

    Ive waited to see what Martin said.

    Martin Brundle

    It’s so so sad about Dan Wheldon. Deepest condolences to his wife and young children along with family and friends. This is a cruel sport.

    It is trully a sad day when the answer preceeds the question

  14. Bill (@billza71) said on 17th October 2011, 23:48

    Really upsetting and painful time in all forms of Motor-Racing remembering, how we have lost a Great driver that entertained his fans around the world. R.I.P. Dan, you’ll surely be missed. Nice tributes from all those in the racing sectors.

  15. jre_f1 (@jre_f1) said on 17th October 2011, 23:54

    As somebody who doesn’t follow indycar that intently I still fell terrible.

    Dan will always be remembered though, what he achieved was remarkable and went almost unrecognised, although ironically, it now has been.

    You do have to question the future viability of racing at that type of venue.

    Open wheel cars aren’t designed to cope with close contact racing, if they touch, cars get launched and drivers can die. IT IS NOT NASCAR, the penalty for getting it wrong is far higher.

    This is not an American tragedy, its an international tragedy and I cannot see the Americans lying down as scorn is poured upon them without taking major steps to prevent such an occurence again. Sportsman aren’t supposed to die in sport in 2011 in front of millions of people.

    I suspect Dan Wheldon’s accident may just prove to mark a crossroads for open wheel racing. The biggest tragedy would be if nothing is done and nothing changes.

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