Lotus News Article

RACE WEEKEND OVERSHADOWED BY INDYCAR TRAGEDY

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 09:15

INDYCAR - LAS VEGAS



The 2011 Indy Car finale was red flagged and finally cancelled after a horrendous multi-car pile up on Lap 11 resulted in the tragic death of 2005 champion and father of two, Dan Wheldon.



The incident occurred at Turn 2 where cars touched resulting in a horrific chain reaction. Several cars were launched into the air as they t-boned stricken rivals. With full fuel tanks, some cars erupted in flames including Wheldon's. KVRT-Lotus driver EJ Viso was one of the 15 drivers involved in the accident.



Tony Kanaan had been on pole position that afternoon – KVRT-Lotus’ third of the year – and held that position up until the moment the race was red flagged. He therefore led a tribute procession later in the day, once Wheldon’s passing had been communicated. All the remaining cars drove five slow laps of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in front of a silent standing ovation as a bagpiper played ‘Danny Boy’.



Kanaan later wrote on Twitter: "No words to describe the pain. See you on the other side my dear friend. You will be missed."



"The entire KV Racing Technology - Lotus organisation extends its heartfelt condolences to the Wheldon family on this very sad occasion," stated the team. "Dan was a great champion and friend, a loving husband and father. He will be deeply missed."




 

FORMULA ONE – KOREAN GRAND PRIX



Lotus Renault GP missed out on points in Korea on Sunday as Vitaly Petrov crashed out of a likely top-ten finish. The Russian had shown the R31’s potential in Q3 by putting the car on P8, while Bruno Senna struggled having had third practice cut short by grazing the wall and coming in for a replacement front wing. He started 15th. On Lap 16 Petrov hit Michael Schumacher at Turn 3, having mistimed his braking while fighting for position with Fernando Alonso. With Alonso on the outside, and Schumacher slowed for the turn, Vitaly had nowhere to go and slammed into the back of the Mercedes, braking his front wing and suspension. He was quick to accept responsibility for the accident. Bruno slipped back to 19th at the start and had to claw his way through slower cars. He finished 13th.



Vitaly Petrov: "I tried to defend my position from Fernando but I was in the braking zone on the dirty side of the track which meant I locked my wheels and hit Michael. I was focused on my battle with Fernando as there was potential for me to be ahead of him. We both braked too late as he missed the corner too. Up until that point I was happy with our strategy and how the race was going. I apologise to Michael, it was not his fault, it was absolutely my fault – once my wheels were locked there was nothing I could do about it. But that’s racing and tomorrow is another day."



Bruno Senna: "It was far from the best race I’ve had. I got a bad start, and from then on it was always going to be an uphill battle. Being stuck behind a number of other cars again restricted my ability to get points today; I don’t feel there were any specific weaknesses in my car itself but I was just unable to progress much from where I was. We will now see what we can do to better the situation, and come out all guns blazing in India."



Eric Boullier, Lotus Renault GP Team Principal: "Again, I have mixed feelings coming away from this race. If I look at the weekend as a whole, we showed some good pace but perhaps did not capitalise on this. It was disappointing for Bruno not to qualify higher than he did yesterday and as a result the race was always going to be tough. Vitaly had a healthy grid position and was looking good until his mistake cost him."