Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

De Silvestro wants to race in 500 despite bad burns

  • Print

BOSTON -- Simona de Silvestro's hands are wrapped in thick gauze and tape from her wrists to fingertips, protecting the raw tissue beneath from exposure as it heals from the burns caused by a horrific crash during practice for the Indianapolis 500.

She jokingly called them her "Mickey Mouse" gloves and is planning to wear a much more streamlined version Saturday under her protective driving gloves.

This is Indy. As long as she can grip the wheel, the 22-year-old Swiss driver plans to be racing at The Brickyard.

"I'm going to try. You never know," de Silvestro said. "Sometimes, it's too risky. But I'm going to try as much as I can to stay out there."

De Silvestro is actually thankful her hands, which are healing from second- and some third-degree burns, were the only casualty in the crash that could have easily killed her on Thursday.

The car slammed into a wall, flew off the track and flipped several times before coming to a stop upside down and in flames. Smoke billowed from the wreckage as her crew worked to turn it over and get her out. The burning fuel was hot enough to get through her protective gloves, but that was the only physical damage on de Silvestro.

"Just coming out with a couple burns, I think it's not so bad," she said. "I usually close my eyes when I crash. I thought it was over and all of a sudden I open my eyes and I'm flying off again. You just hope it's over as soon as possible and then you just try to get out of it. I was lucky that I didn't pass out or anything."

Mentally, she was rattled and remained so until she got into her backup car on Saturday. After a few tentative laps, she had enough confidence to go for it and ended up qualifying 24th.

"She's my hero," said Tony Kanaan, who is No. 23 in Saturday's lineup for the 100th anniversary race. "What a great spirit that she has. I saw it because she came and talked to me about it. It looked bad. Real bad. What she did gives me goosebumps."

De Silvestro and fellow drivers Will Power and Justin Wilson were in Boston on Monday during a promotion for Indy car racing's return to New England. The circuit will race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August for the first time since 1998.

Each driver was presented with a large, freshly cooked lobster which de Silvestro nibbled on, picking off tiny pieces with the very ends of her fingers while trying to keep her hand dressing from getting soaked with butter.

The bandages are changed twice a day as doctors see how the burned flesh is recovering. On Sunday, she had layers of dead skin removed, exposing the raw underlayers and causing another round of pain.

"They just kind of peel it off. It looks like in the movies after," she said. "It's pretty disgusting."

De Silvestro said she also burned her hands last summer in a crash at Texas, although not nearly as severely as her recent wreck. She will learn later this week if she'll need skin grafts.


-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2011 C9

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Winnipeg Cheapskate: Home buying

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.

View More Gallery Photos


Which Jets prospect has the best chance of making NHL team this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google