Danger of IndyCar oval racing dissuades Senna and Speed from taking part

Two Formula E drivers expressed similar feelings in two separate interviews with Motorsport.com.

Danger of IndyCar oval racing dissuades Senna and Speed from taking part
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#77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Volkswagen Polo: Scott Speed
Scott Speed and Bucky Lasek
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#77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Volkswagen Polo: Scott Speed

Miami, Fla. - To most open-wheel drivers, IndyCar is looked at as one of the most competitive forms of single-seater racing on the planet with great circuits, interesting cars and a healthy field. Those things are hard to argue.

Yet, there is one thing that supersedes all the positives and makes one contingent of racing stars think twice before taking part in oval events, including the prestigious Indianapolis 500.

Remembering Mike Conway's decision

The name that comes to the forefront of race fans' minds when discussing this topic is Mike Conway. The four-time series winner missed the show for the Indy 500 in 2011, but in the year before and the year that would follow, the Englishman suffered two horrific airborne accidents that he was more than lucky to walk away from. That, combined with the tragic death of Dan Wheldon led him to opt out of running ovals again and forfeiting future chances at a championship, despite being perfectly capable talent-wise of doing so.

Friday at the FIA Formula E street circuit at Miami, I came across two drivers who shared similar answers in regards to their interest in running IndyCar.

Scott Speed's take

Scott Speed, a former Formula One/NASCAR competitor and current GRC pilot is making his Formula E debut this weekend. "I'm always at the shop talking about driving open-wheel stuff," the Andretti driver told Motorsport.com, which led us to inquire about a possible IndyCar one-off, evoking a very to the point response.

"I don't run IndyCar on an oval. I have two kids and I love my life ... Bottom line. It's just not for me."

Bruno Senna's take

Bruno Senna, another former Formula One pilot (now McLaren GT factory driver and full-time Formula E participant) who also shares the same last name as arguably the greatest racer the sport has ever seen, echoed the comments of Speed. "I've talked to a few teams but it's always been yes, no, maybe ... Nothing has really materialized, but I would be interested. Not the ovals though. It's just not worth the risk and with my family history, I'd much rather stay with what I am familiar with."

A double-edged sword

They are not alone in those who are hesitant to make the jump due to the oval factor of the sport, but it is truly a double-edged sword. It's part of what makes IndyCar unique with road, street, and oval courses; Something no other major form of motorsport can claim. And the Indianapolis 500, the heartbeat of IndyCar, is obviously a race that could never be replaced. Personally, I feel the sport is as safe as it possibly can be without comprimising the tradition and the very DNA of the sport (implementing closed cockpits).

Risk and racing are like yin and yang ... Inseparable, but it really all comes down to what you are willing to put on the line in the everlasting pursuit of the checkered flag and to some, depending on the point in their lives they are at, the danger outweighs the reward when it comes to IndyCar and oval racing. A decision I can respect, choosing life and family over an evanescent moment of glory.

My complete interviews with Scott Speed and Bruno Senna will be showcased later on Motorsport.com.

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About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Dan Wheldon , Scott Speed , Mike Conway , Bruno Senna
Author Nick DeGroot
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