Months after his horror crash, Robert Wickens paid a visit to the IndyCar paddock at St. Petersburg, the venue for Round 1 of the 2019 season.
As he recovers from his multiple injuries in the hospital, Wickens made sure to visit the IndyCar paddock during Round 1 of the 2019 season at St. Petersburg, where he not only greeted his fans but also held a press conference to update his situation.
It has been a long and hard battle for the Canadian in the last few months as he pushes himself to recover enough to re-start his racing career – whether in IndyCar or any other form where he can do what he knows and has done for years.
The common question on everybody’s mind was ‘why he wants to race again?’, especially having nearly lost his life doing that. “It’s all I know,” Wickens starte. “That’s the biggest thing. From such a young age, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
“I told my parents when I was 9 or 10 that I wanted to be a race-car driver. They kind of laughed at me. They told me that they were in bed that night saying, ‘Our kid wants to be a race-car driver.’ It was this unachievable thing that I wanted to do.
“It was like telling him I wanted to be the first man to go to Mars. They’re [family, friends and rivals] right there behind me, motivating me and reassuring me that I can do it. Honestly, when those drivers reach out to you, you want to do it even more.
“That’s the bigger thing. I want to finish this journey not just for myself, but for the whole motorsports community. I don’t want to fall short in any way.” While the goal for him is to race in IndyCar again through hand controls but he is not limiting himself just to that.
Speaking about the other forms, Wickens took the example of Billy Monger and the legendary Alex Zanardi, with the former having recently raced in the Daytona 24 Hours for BMW Motorsport using hand controls.
Moving on from racing, Wickens detailed about his health condition, which he admitted to be a bit of an unknown as he states it cannot be made certain in such cases. He added that the doctors have been positive about the progression though, but it is still a bit to go.
His fiance Karli Woods has been documenting his recovery and also informing Wickens about the humongous support he has received thus far. “It’s been amazing,” he said. “I was expecting a lot of support, but it’s already kind of gone way out of what I expected.
“I mean, heading to the pit lane for the first session, I thought the fans would kind of be more focused on the racecars, like I would have been when I was a fan attending a race. All they seemed to care about was me. Everyone was cheering my name.
“It’s really cool to see team personnel from other teams just saying it’s great to see me. Never even seen them before. It goes to show how great the IndyCar community is, how close it is, but then the fans are just fantastic, as well.
“Everyone is just giving me such an outpour of support. It’s been fantastic. I haven’t been home to Indianapolis since that day. I’ve heard through Karli and the team that there are cases and cases of mail waiting for us to open.
“Honestly, the outreach has been fantastic.” His team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson to compete in the 2019 season, but they have kept Wickens’ car ready, for whenever he wants to return.
Off to St.Pete! I love trying new things! There was no accessible way onto the jet so we tried waking up the stairs! Got it first try… #teamwork #spinalcordrecovery #SCI #FirestoneGP pic.twitter.com/ISLGtHoRyO
— Robert Wickens (@robertwickens) March 7, 2019
— Arrow Schmidt Peterson (@SPMIndyCar) March 8, 2019