Crashes in practice for the Indy 500

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    mark adams

    Indy 500 2015 farce

    looks like the indy 500 2015 will be like the us grand prix 05

    with the chevy being unsafe and the Honda’s refusing the changes mandate by Indycar


    It’s not quite a farce… yet. We’ll have to see how much further IndyCar goes with its changes. As far as I know, both Castroneves and Newgarden’s crashes happened while running in “race trim”, so making the cars run qualifying in race trim only reduced the chances of the drivers spinning out, but the risk of flipping is no different.

    I do sympathise with the Honda teams – it’s not their fault the Chevy cars keep flipping. But it is in the best interest of the race to find a constructive solution that ensures the Greatest Spectacle in Racing lives up to its name. Hundreds of thousands of people, some from all over the world, will come to Indy next Sunday expecting to witness one of the biggest races on the planet. Having a race where half the cars are forced to withdraw, or worse still, letting these obviously dangerous cars race, would be terrible for all involved. That’s why I think the Honda teams should “take one for the team” as it were – do what’s best for the sport. If they refuse to compromise for the sake of the race, then I’d say they’d be just as guilty of any farce as Chevrolet is.

    Of course, as Derek Walker said, just because the first 3 cars to flip were Chevys, there’s no guarantee the next one won’t be a Honda.


    It isn’t really a farce to be honest, sure one could argue that they should have tested this new trim out and see how it performed while the car was spinning or after it had impacted a wall while spinning but that would be extremely costly to do. I think they made the right call to use the race trim during qualifying (although I have heard that those who crashed were using the race trim when in happened) and lower the boost pressure of the turbo to keep the speeds down. They also increased the downforce of the cars.


    Despite the steps take to keep speeds under control there’s now been a fourth accident, albeit somewhat different to those which preceded it. James Hinchcliffe has been taken to hospital following this impact:

    This is the first crash and flip involving a Honda driver. Hinchcliffe was also running in the slipstream of another car. Practice has been put on hold following the crash.

    Craig Woollard

    Not a nice impact at all, but the majority of that seems to be down to a suspension failure as oppose to being aero-kit related. Provided these cars stay on the ground and drivers keep their hands away from the steering wheel, the DW12 has been pretty much okay in terms of safety so far. This one reminds me a bit of Hawksworth’s accident at Pocono last year:

    But Hinch hit the wall at a much worse angle, almost at a similar angle to Timo Glock at Suzuka in 2009. According to, he has a thigh injury which requires surgery. Indy is no stranger to big crashes, as is IndyCar as a whole, but I do hope that this is the final one we see this weekend.


    This number of big crashes is unnerving, and the fact that there will only be a higher number of incidents as a result of pack racing means this year’s race could unfortunately be a scary one to watch.


    Good to see Hinchcliffe’s condition is not serious, though the reports of him requiring leg surgery were unfortunately correct:

    Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director: Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe is in stable condition and is undergoing surgery at IU Health Methodist Hospital for an injury to his left upper thigh.

    Hinchcliffe was awake when he was transported by ground to the hospital following a single-car accident during practice for the 99th Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day. The Canadian’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car made heavy right-side contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier.

    Additional updates to Hinchcliffe’s condition will be released when available.

    The difficult question now is how this latest crash factors into thinking around the safety of the race. Hopefully data from the car gives them a clear picture of what happened and whether any further changes need to be made.

    Will Wood

    Every year I watch the Indy 500 and unlike any other race in the world, I’m always nervous when I’m watching.

    At any moment, a single mistake or failure could cause an accident that is almost guaranteed to be 300km/h+. There’s no run-off here. These single seaters are fragile and any contact between cars is likely to result in a frightening accident.

    IndyCar were pushing for speeds to be as high as (reasonably) possible this season at the IMS, but I don’t really think that’s necessarily a good thing. You could argue that Hinchcliffe’s accident is entirely unrelated to the others and that the issues that contributed to the earlier crashes have been addressed, but something just doesn’t feel right about this year’s event…

    Euro Brun

    According to, a Honda spokesman said the right-front suspension failed.


    “Hinchcliffe’s leg was pierced by the car’s right front rocker and the piece of equipment needed to be removed, according to two people familiar with the crash who spoke on condition of anonymity because IndyCar and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports were not releasing details of the injury. The surgery was also needed to stop massive bleeding.”


    Oh my goodness. This is getting rather frightening.


    I was watching the live stream when it happnened. They showed a few other angles – in particular the onboard (what we would call the T-cam in F1) was pretty scary as the car just fired straight. From that view at actually looked very similar to Senna’s accident. Thankfully the DW12 tub is as safe as it is.


    When you look back into the past of motor racing, incidents like Senna, Ratzenberger, Greg Moore and of course Dan Wheldon. These were spontaneous accidents from an unusual set of circumstances where the worst possible outcome of those set of circumstances came to fruition. When you go further back to when F1 was dangerous, in the early 70’s, the deaths were more frequent, and it was down to systematic dangerous standards.

    The thing that worries me about what is happening in Indy car in the past week or so, is that this is no longer a rare occurence. Yes, the accident today was down to suspension failure, however, this is turning into an onimous story. It is the first race meet where they are running on an oval with these new aero kits, with these speeds, everything is pushed to its maximum limits. I’m deeply concerned that come race day, that cars racing together in a pack will have a failure, and the resulting accident would be catastrophic.

    I wish all the drivers the best, and hope that the organisers can get on top of these issues quickly, to put drivers, teams and their families at ease.

    Fer no.65

    RACER has confirmed through multiple sources that Hinchcliffe had the steel wishbone enter and exit his right leg, then enter his upper left thigh, and continue into his pelvic region before it came to a stop.

    I have to say, I don’t understand oval racing… I’m wishing all the drivers the best and hope the race takes place without incident.


    Good news on Hinchcliffe’s progress in this statement from IndyCar:

    Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe has been transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit at IU Health Methodist Hospital as the Canadian continues to make substantial improvement following surgery on May 18 for injuries to his pelvic area and upper left thigh. Upon further evaluation this morning, it was determined that Hinchcliffe will require no further procedures and is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.

    “We’re very pleased with his progress and his condition continues to improve,” said Dr. Timothy Pohlman, Senior Staff Trauma Surgeon at IU Health Methodist Hospital, who performed the surgery. “Our expectation, in consultation with the IndyCar medical staff, is that a normal recovery is to be expected.”

    Hinchcliffe was transported by ground to the hospital following a single-car accident during practice for the 99th Indianapolis 500 on May 18.

    Additional updates to Hinchcliffe’s condition will be released when available.

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