A spectator at Sunday’s IndyCar series opener at St Petersburg was hospitalized with a serious head injury when she was struck by debris during the race, it has emerged.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Brigitte Hoffstetter was walking in the concession area near Turn 10 when she was struck by carbon fibre debris from one of the cars, which had been hurled over 100 yards from the track.
Mrs Hoffstetter was treated by fire and rescue workers stationed at the circuit, before being taken to the medical centre and then hospital at Bayfront Health System, where she remained on Monday night, for treatment for a fractured skull.
Sunday's race was the first with the new aero kits designed by Chevrolet and Honda, and the event was blighted by multiple full-course cautions early on as the new winglets that have been added were knocked off by contract.
Many of the pieces were then flicked into the air by following cars as they ran over the debris.
Hoffstetter's husband, Greg, texted The Tampa Bay Times: "It's crazy what happened. Could have been very bad. It's amazing she is alive."
Following the event, Ganassi racer Tony Kanaan remarked of all the debris: "I just saw big pieces flying. You know, you're not supposed to hit anybody. It's open-wheel. It's not stock car or touring car racing."
Mrs Hoffstetter is expected to make a full recovery, according to the report.