Video of Simona de Silvestro and Markus Niemela crash

A video related to these two letters on the crash between Marcus Niemela and Simona de Silvestro in the corkscrew at Laguna Seca during the Atlantic Series finale can be found on our Home Page.

Dear Jensen Motorsport, Quite frankly, after viewing the video several times, both at normal speed and frame by frame, I feel that Markus Niemela deserved a far more stringent penalty than that which he received. It was, in my opinion, an utterly awful display of poor judgment on his part. Simona de Silvestro was clearly ahead of him before they even turned in for the first part of the corkscrew, and he had ample opportunity to avoid contact. Instead, (and you can clearly hear it in the audio of the video) he accelerated and attempted a highly ill-advised pass on her by straight-lining the second part of the turn, and in my mind it completely responsible for the collision that followed. He spilled the milk on the entry, and tried to get it back in the bottle at the exit. Even if contact were avoided and he somehow could have regained his position (which I doubt, given how far behind De Silvestro he was at that point) he should have received a penalty for driving off course in an attempt to advance. As evidence of the fact that De Silvestro had clearly already passed him, thus making him the overtaking driver (and thus making him responsible for making any subsequent passing attempt a safe on) if evidence was needed beyond our own eyes, is the fact that his left front clipped her right rear. That should NEVER happen, and you all know it full well.

Markus is very fortunate to receive only a 30 second penalty. He deserved to be excluded from the race entirely, and possibly fined as well. Michael P. Gonos, San Francisco, CA

Thanks Michael for taking the time to write. One terrific result created by this incident is the amount of passionate racing fans who have taken the time to view our in-car video from Markus' perspective, and then to voice their opinion about who was at fault..

My personal view – albeit not unbiased – is that Simona is culpable for not leaving enough track for Markus in the right hand portion of the corkscrew. Markus left room for Simona in the left hand portion, and Markus remained beside Simona going down the hill. If Simona had left enough room for Markus, she still would have had the advantage as the next corner is a left-hander and there she surely would have completed the pass successfully.

But regardless of our opinions, much credit goes to both Simona and Markus. In Formula One and IndyCar, racing fans are rarely treated to such on track passing action. So, thanks to them both for entertaining us with their bravery and talent. It is an incident like this, in the world famous Laguna Seca corkscrew at the final race of the 2009 Atlantic Championship season with a $1 million dollar prize on the line, which is the reason why racing fans enjoy following our sport. Eric Jensen, President – Jensen MotorSport

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