It's been a particularly gruesome week for professional auto racing fans:
First, eighteen-year-old Henry Surtees, rising star and son of Formula 1 champ and team former team owner John Surtees,was killed by an errant wheel colliding with his head at high-speed. Surtees competed in F2 (a new series designed to give professional racing experience to young drivers).
Today, in a crash eerily similar to the Surtees', Felipe Massa (who was one corner from becoming F1 World Champion last year) was hit in the face and knocked unconscious by a flying piece of debris from the car of Ruebens Barrichello. He suffered a fractured skull, severe lacerations to the face, and a severe concussion.
The following picture is a little graphic, but it shows the damage done to Massa's face and helmet by the flying shrapnel. http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc27 ... elment.jpg
I was just commenting to friends a couple of weeks ago about how remarkably safe open-wheeled racing has become, and then these two terrible incidents within a week. Very scary. It seems that open-cockpit exposes these drivers to a tremendous risk.
The structural strength of these cars is still amazing: Two years ago, Robert Kubica crashed at nearly 200mph just before the hairpin at Montreal. Upon seeing this accident live on TV I was certain that he was dead. The cameras pulled far back as they extricated him and they cut to commercial.
Remarkably, he suffered only broken ankles. You can see his feet dangling out the nose of the car.
Basically, I believe you have to do what you love, learning as a loan wolf, before you can join a pack.