I remember that terrible week back in July 2009 where first Henry Surtees was killed in F2 and then Felipe Massa was terribly injured in Hungary. On the weekend of Massa’s incident I was actually at the MotoGP at Donington, and I remember the fright I got every time I saw a rider fall and their bike disintegrate. I had grown up thinking that serious injuries and fatalities in motorsport were a thing of the past, and that week shattered that illusion.
The last 7 days have usurped that week in my mind as the most shocking few days in motorsport I can remember. Seeing the Wheldon death was a huge bolt from the blue, a nasty shock. The Simoncelli news shocked me just as much, but already I’m beginning to come to terms with it.
I suppose it’s finally beginning to dawn on me the inevitability that when you speed big hunks of metal around a racetrack at 200mph thinks will inevitably go wrong and people will die. The human body is very fragile. Perhaps the bigger surprise should be that it doesn’t happen more often?
I think motorsport will take a lot of criticism in the next few days, and I fully understand that. It’s wrong for us fanatics to sit on our high horse looking down on people for daring to criticise something we love. If I was John Smith, the man on the street, I’d be asking why people are going out and losing their lives for our entertainment. And I bet there are plenty of sponsors out there who justifiably won’t want to be associated with these tragedies