Jack Aitken spies September return after Spa crash

© XPB 

Williams F1 reserve driver Jack Aitken is aiming to be back in a race seat next month, just weeks after suffering a huge crash at Spa-Francorchamps during the Spa 24 Hours GT World Challenge Endurance Cup.

The 25-year-old's Emil Frey Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was hit by several cars after getting into trouble at the top of Eau Rouge during the race at the start of August.

It left him with fractures to his collarbone and vertebra, requiring him to be flown to a nearby hospital for a lengthy stay for surgery and rehabilitation. But now Aitken is on the mend and talking with the media about his plans.

"I got away without hitting my head on anything, which was quite amazing,” he told Motorsport.com, talking this week about the accident. “I just had a bit of a bit of a dizzy moment after the crash.

"It did happen very quickly," he recalled. "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."

The car was left in the middle of the track where it was hit by Franck Perera,
Kevin Estre and Davide Rigon who had no time to react as they arrived at the scene.

"You know you're at the top of Eau Rouge, you know you've got a lot of cars coming towards," he said.

“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

“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.

“I'm feeling pretty good,” he continued. "Good enough that occasionally I forget that I've broken a couple of things and I get up too quickly!

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

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

Aitken currently has to wear a brace to help him rest his back, and is due to undergo further surgery on his collarbone next week.

While admitting that it's "going to be really difficult for me to make" the next GT round at the Nurburgring, he's intending to be back in action for the season finale at Catalunya at the start of October.

“I'm looking to get back in quickly, rather than whether I can get back in this season at all,” he said. "I'm hoping to be back racing by the end of September."

Aitken is also keen to get back to his job at Grove where he is Williams F1's simulator driver supporting full-time drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.

Williams test and reserve driver Jack Aitken.

© Williams F1

“Williams have already been asking when I can get back in the sim," Aitken said. "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," he stated, with an eye on getting a real world outing in Friday practice at some point in the remaining races of 2021

"I'm still talking to them about when we'll do my FP1," he confirmed. "Depending on how the calendar shakes out, it's probably going to be in flyaway races coming at the end of the year.

"I definitely want to be fit for that, and ready to jump in obviously if I'm needed," he added, referring to his role as reserve in case either Russell or Latifi are unavailable at any point.

Aitken made his F1 debut for Williams at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when Russell was loaned out to Mercedes following a positive coronavirus test for world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Russell took his first championship points that weekend, while Aiken managed to largely stay out of trouble and successfully completed 87 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit outer loop.

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