Scheckter wants son to quit

2011-10-18 09:00

Las Vegas - South Africa's only Formula One world champion, Jody Scheckter, said on Monday that he wanted his son to quit IndyCar racing following the death of Briton Dan Wheldon.

VIDEO: Drivers react to Dan Wheldon's death

Scheckter, 61, was watching as a spectator at Sunday's Las Vegas Indy 300 and had an anxious wait before discovering that his 31-year-old son Tomas, who has been competing in the series since 2002, had escaped unharmed from the 15-car crash.

"I've wanted him to give up for a while," Scheckter, who won the Formula One title in 1979, said on BBC Radio Berkshire. "Hopefully this will knock some sense into him and realise there is more to life. It really isn't worth it."

Wheldon, 33, was airlifted to hospital after he was involved in a horrific crash on lap 11 of Sunday's race but died of his injuries.

Asked whether the sport was safe, Scheckter added: "No. It is the most dangerous form of motor racing at the moment. I think the set-up they put in so it can be more of a spectacle makes it very, very dangerous on circuits like this. Some others (circuits) aren't as bad."

Scheckter, who now runs an organic farm near Basingstoke, claimed the crash was "inevitable" due to the changes designed at making IndyCar more competitive, along with the number of drivers - 34 - who took part in the race.

Scheckter said he was in a hospitality suite when the crash happened and feared the worst for his son, who has competed in 115 races, winning two.

"We really just hoped," he said. "I had the headset on through to his channel and I heard him say 'someone had hit me in the back' so I knew he was OK after that. Dan raced with or against some of my sons in England in Formula Vauxhall. We have known him for years really. He has been very successful. A bubbly guy all the time. It is very sad."