Wheldon crash investigation picks up speed

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 09:10

Indianapolis: IndyCar officials have begun an investigation into the cause of the 15-car crash that killed two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, series boss Randy Bernard saying on Monday they need to understand what went wrong.

After attending Wheldon`s funeral in Florida on Saturday, many of the Briton`s fellow drivers were back in Indianapolis on Monday to meet with IndyCar officials for what was described as a frank discussion about driver safety.

"We must continue to move forward with a thorough investigation," IndyCar CEO Bernard said in a statement. "Fortunately, that has already begun, and we have the protocols in place to get this done.

"This was a tragic accident, and IndyCar needs to understand everything possible about it."

Phase one of the investigation, led by series safety and competition officials, has already begun and is expected to last several weeks.

An evaluation of the data will be used to make a factual determination of the circumstances surrounding the entire incident and the results handed over to an independent, third-party group for validation.

In the aftermath of the crash, which occurred during the opening laps of the IndyCar season-ending finale on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, drivers voiced concerns over several factors, including the safety-fencing that surrounds the oval and the number of cars and extreme speeds that produced dangerous "pack" racing.

Investigators will have access to data retrieved from the Accident Data Recorders (ADR) from all 15 cars involved in the accident.

The investigation will also include analysis of hours of photos and videos, including footage from in-car cameras and safety vehicles.

"We`re heading in the right direction," said 2004 series champion Tony Kanaan. "(The meeting is) not something that is being done because something happened now. We set the standards. We`re just trying to make it better.

"What people have to understand is that we`re not going to make motor racing 100 percent safe. That`s the fact. We`re the lab and hopefully we can make it better, make it safer but we`ll never make it 100 per cent safe."

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First Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 09:10

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