IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe has been taken to hospital for surgery after crashing his car into the wall – the fourth bad wreck at practice for the Indianapolis 500 in the past week.
The Canadian driver slammed into the wall going into turn three at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday.
His car briefly slid on its right side before coming came to rest upright. IndyCar officials said he suffered an injury to his upper left thigh but other details were not immediately known.
Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden went airborne in crashes last week that raised concerns about the safety of the new oval aero kit packages.
And on Sunday, Ed Carpenter flipped his car on its side in practice leading up to qualifying before IndyCar officials announced changes to reduce power and speeds.
All the cars are using the new aero kits, but Castroneves, Newgarden and Carpenter were all driving Chevrolet cars. Hinchcliffe’s car was the first Honda to have its wheels leave the track’s surface during practice.
Hinchcliffe’s right front suspension failed, according to Honda spokesman Dan Layton. Layton said Honda officials aren’t concerned about the safety of its aero kit, but are more concerned about what caused the suspension problem as the Indianapolis 500 nears. The 99th running of IndyCar’s showcase race on the IndyCar schedule is on Sunday.
The wrecks have been different. Over a five-day period, three drivers hit the walls at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all wound up going airborne when they started rolling backward down the track.
On Sunday, after Carpenter’s crash, IndyCar leaders met with team owners and officials from the two engine manufacturers. They settled on reducing the horsepower, requiring teams to use race setups instead of qualifying trim, not awarding points for qualifying and eliminating the pole shootout.
Scott Dixon of New Zealand took his second Indy pole with a four-lap average of 226.760 mph Sunday – and there were no wrecks.
Derrick Walker, IndyCar’s president of competition and operations, has blamed Castroneves’ wreck on an aero balance setting that was pushed too far, Newgarden’s on a cut tyre and said Carpenter simply had an accident.