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F1 community mourns loss of former driver Wilson

25 Aug 2015

Ex-Formula One driver Justin Wilson has passed away after succumbing to head injuries sustained in a crash in Sunday’s IndyCar race at Pocono in the United States. The former Minardi and Jaguar racer was 37.

Wilson contested the 2003 F1 season, making his debut with Minardi before switching to Jaguar midway through the year to replace Antonio Pizzonia. The British driver scored his best result - an eighth place - at the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis.

Former rival Jenson Button was among those paying tribute. “The motorsport world comes to a standstill once again,” said the McLaren star on Twitter. “Justin Wilson was a great person and racing driver. My thoughts are with his family.

"I raced with Justin as far back as 1989 in karting and remember his smile was infectious, such a lovely guy."

Formula One group CEO Bernie Ecclestone stated: "I remember Justin Wilson as a talented driver who raced in F1 on merit and enjoyed the respect and affection of his team mates and fellow racers."

One of those team mates, nine-time Grand Prix winner Mark Webber who partnered Wilson at Jaguar in '03, commented: “Last night a very good man left us. Mate. So sorry. RIP Justin. My thoughts are with your loved ones."

Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull (who formed from Jaguar in 2005), said many at their UK base in Milton Keynes had been affected by the news, especially those who had worked with Wilson.

"There are many sad faces at the factory today," he said. "Justin left his mark on many who worked with him during the Jaguar days; he is remembered fondly for the kind and humble person he was.

"I followed his successful career with interest over the years. Justin will be remembered not only as a talented driver but also as quite simply one of the nicest blokes in motorsport.”

Similarly at the Italian factory of Toro Rosso - previously Minardi - former colleagues expressed fond memories. “The Englishman's Formula One career started in 2003, here in Faenza," stated team principal Franz Tost.

"Therefore many of our Scuderia Toro Rosso team members worked with Justin back then, and remember him as a friendly, gentle person and talented true racer. It’s a very sad day."

Wilson’s Pocono crash came after he was struck on the helmet by the nose section of another car, which had broken free after spinning into the wall. The former F3000 champion and seven-time Indycar winner was immediately airlifted to hospital, but died on Monday afternoon.

He is survived by wife Julia and two daughters.