Aitken targets Williams F1 sim return and GT comeback next month

Jack Aitken hopes to be back in the Williams Formula 1 simulator and racing GT3 cars next month as he recovers from injuries suffered in his Spa 24 Hours crash.

Aitken targets Williams F1 sim return and GT comeback next month

The Williams F1 reserve suffered fractures to his collarbone and vertebra in a violent multi-car accident in the opening laps of the GT World Challenge Europe blue ribband round, when his stricken Emil Frey Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo was hit by unsighted cars over the crest at Raidillon.

Speaking for the first time at length since the high-speed crash, Aitken said that he was“feeling pretty good” and is hopeful that surgery on his collarbone next week will mark an important step in his recovery.

“I've been to see a couple of specialists, both for the fracture in my back and for my collarbone, so I’m getting a bit more information about all of that and it's actually been quite helpful,” he said.

“Sitting around all day wondering when I'm going to be better is pretty painful in itself, but not too bad.”

Aitken is currently wearing a back brace, and said his back will be the defining factor on his return to action.

He is optimistic of returning to the Williams simulator next month to assist with development work, but expects he will have to sit out the GT World Challenge rounds at Brands Hatch (28/29 August) and the Nurburgring (September 3-5).

A full return is targeted for the Valencia event on 25/26 September, while his next FP1 outing with Williams has yet to be determined. 

“I'm looking to get back in quickly, rather than whether I can get back in this season at all,” he said.

Jack Aitken driving the Williams FW43 in Abu Dhabi

Jack Aitken driving the Williams FW43 in Abu Dhabi

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“There's a couple of races on the GT calendar, which come up at the end of the [F1] shutdown, which I think are going to be really difficult for me to make. So I will probably miss those, but I'm hoping to be back racing by the end of September.

“Williams have already been asking when I can get back in the sim, because there was quite a lot of good work I was doing and unfortunately, it's been interrupted. I've said I'm looking to get back sometime in September.

“I'm still talking to them about when we'll do my FP1. Depending on how the calendar shakes out, it's probably going to be in flyaway races coming at the end of the year, so I definitely want to be fit for that and ready to jump in obviously if I'm needed [as a reserve].”

Aitken says he has a full recollection of the accident as he maintained consciousness throughout, despite his car taking two sizeable impacts.

“I do remember everything because I got away without hitting my head on anything, which was quite amazing,” he explained. “I just had a bit of a dizzy moment after the crash.

“The marshals got to me very quickly, which is great. And as soon as I said that I had some pain in my back, they knew what to do with the extraction.

“I remember one of them was basically shouting at me to stay awake. I didn't have much option, but I was feeling a bit drowsy at one point. They took amazing care of me.”

Asked how he felt in those moments when his car was stranded in the middle of the track, Aitken said: “When I look back and think about the crash now, it's very easy to pick out what was going on in each second. 

#114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo: Arthur Rougier, Konsta Lappalainen, Jack Aitken

#114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo: Arthur Rougier, Konsta Lappalainen, Jack Aitken

Photo by: SRO

“In the moment, it did happen very quickly. From realising that I had a snap in the middle of Eau Rouge, correcting it, realising it had over-corrected and then realising that you are about to hit a barrier very hard, pretty much head on.

“Then I hit the barrier, had the pain already in my back and before that had processed, Franck [Perera], in the car behind hit me from the back.

“And then there was a couple of other hits with Kevin [Estre] and Davide [Rigon]. That hit me into the barrier, and all of that happened very, very quickly.

“You're just kind of hyper aware of what's happening with all the debris flying. You know you're at the top of Eau Rouge, you know you've got a lot of cars coming towards you and you are just kind of praying that it's going to put you off the circuit rather than in the middle. And you hope that it's going to stop some time soon.

“When the dust settled, and I saw that there was basically nothing left of the car, but I was off the track and the other cars had started to slow down, I was finally able to relax a little bit despite the damage it done to me.”

shares
comments

Related video

Why F1’s latest battleground offers unlimited opportunities
Previous article

Why F1’s latest battleground offers unlimited opportunities

Next article

Aston Martin withdraws appeal against Vettel Hungarian GP disqualification

Aston Martin withdraws appeal against Vettel Hungarian GP disqualification
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022