Formula One drivers pay tributes to Wheldon and Simoncelli

October 29th, 2011 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Greater Noida, Oct 29 (IANS) The glamorous Formula One drivers got emotional just for a fleeting moment to pay a quiet, special tribute to British IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon and Italian Motogp rider Marco Simoncelli, who lost their lives on the racing track over the last two racing weekends.

The high-profile drivers were seen sparing a thought for Wheldon and Simoncelli, whose deaths sent shockwaves through the highly competitive world of motorsports, prompting officials to take extra care about safety during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix here at the Buddh International Circuit.

Ferarri driver Fernando Alonso kissed a sticker on his helmet sporting the No.58, Simoncelli’s Honda number, before getting into the cockpit of the car for Saturday’s qualifying session. McLaren Mercedes’ Jenson Button and Red Bull’s Mark Webber, too, kissed Wheldon’s DW logo on top of their helmets. Both Button and Webber also wore a black arm band to mourn Wheldon.

Alonso, who had watched Simoncelli’s fatal crash at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia last weekend, said drivers know how risky motorsports is.

“We love racing, and we know the risks involved in it. We are driving at 320kmph and we are aware of the dangers of an accident. But we love our sport,” said an emotional Alonso.

The 33-year-old Wheldon, a former rival of Button and Webber, was killed during the season ending IndyCar racing after he was involved in a fatal 15-car pileup in Las Vegas, Oct 16.

The following Sunday the world watched aghast the death of Simoncelli, who was struck by other bikes after he fell at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s double world champion Sebastian Vettel, who met the Italian earlier this year, said how miserable he felt seeing the horrifying crash on TV.

“Formula One is very safe as compared to IndyCar and Moto GP. In Formula One, we are aware of the risks as well since we are driving at extremely high speed. But all the drivers are pushing each other for safety driving,” said Vettel.

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