After drinking in Red Bull’s title success in Korea, formula one awoke on Monday morning to terrible news from the world’s other premier single seater series.
33-year-old Dan Wheldon, the 2005 Indycar champion and two-time Indy 500 winner, was killed on Sunday during the American category’s 2011 finale at Las Vegas speedway.
Given his nationality and his earlier links with a possible move to formula one, the Briton was well-known in the F1 paddock.
“On a train from Mokpo to Seoul,” wrote Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary on Twitter. “News from Vegas puts everything in perspective.”
Agreed the Mirror’s Byron Young: “Usual cheerful voices that fill the train leaving Mokpo are absent today.”
Wheldon, who due to an Indycar promotional gimmick stood to win $5 million if he won on Sunday, was caught up in a spectacular 15-car crash on lap 12.
Series CEO Randy Bernard said he died “from unsurvivable injuries”.
“Rest in peace Dan,” tweeted Mark Webber. “I remember our early days in the UK (in) 95/96. Miss ya.”
Added The Times’ Kevin Eason: “Dan Wheldon reminds us that motor racing remains almost the only sport in which death is the highest price.”
And former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson said: “Spent so many races trying to match Daniel as we grew up and raced together. I’m utterly devastated to hear the sad news.”
Wheldon leaves behind his wife Susie and sons Sebastian (2) and Oliver, who was born this year.
“This is a cruel sport,” said BBC commentator Martin Brundle.
Added Jenson Button: “I can’t begin to imagine what his family are going through and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.
“I have so many good memories of racing with him in the early 90s, a true fighter.”
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