Last Sunday, 17 year old British Formula 4 driver Billy Monger was the victim of a horrific accident while in the weekend's final race at Donington Park. The car of Patrik Pasma, which had slid off ahead of Monger in the slick conditions, rejoined as a gaggle of cars were approaching, one of which was Monger's. With no time to react, Monger's car slammed into the rear of Pasma, ending both their races. Pasma was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital, but Monger was less fortunate. It took two hours to free him from the wreckage of his Formula 4 car. Since being put into an induced coma to reduce the strain on his body, Monger's lower legs were amputated, in spite of efforts made to save his limbs.
Friends and family were prepared for Billy to be devastated by his loss of limbs, which may have a serious impact on his racing dreams. Instead, however, when Monger became aware of the extend of his injuries, his first reaction was not one of woe is me, but one of what now? JHR Developments head honcho Steven Hunter, who fields Monger in British Formula 4 and Ginetta Juniors, reported to motorsport.com that Billy is already working on how to operate a hand clutch rather than the traditional foot clutch. Monger is not the only case of drivers bouncing back from amputations; Indycar champ Alex Zanardi survived a grisly crash in 2001 which obliterated his legs below the knee, and has since returned to driving touring and GT cars professionally, not to mention his two Paralympic gold medals.
Steven Hunter booted up a fundraising campaign for Monger, which has since surpassed its £260,000 goal twofold. Big names have contributed to the future of the young Brit, such as Formula One drivers Jenson Button and Max Verstappen, who both contributed £15,000. Even a former rival of Monger's, Devlin DeFrancesco, donated a whopping £26,000 to him.
The motorsport world is a harsh, Darwinian place in which talent and money speak, but it's not a cruel place. At the end of the day, the people who you race against would rather have you on track than not. Godspeed, Billy.