Wheldon work saved Franchitti

INDYCAR racer Dario Franchitti, who fractured his spine at the Houston Grand Prix, avoided further injury thanks to modifications championed by former team-mate Dan Wheldon.

Wheldon was killed two years ago in a crash at the Las Vegas Indy 300, but had been working on designs for a reinforced chassis in all cars, named DW12 in the Englishman’s memory.

The special impact foam that now surrounds a car’s cockpit spared Franchitti from further injury, but IndyCar officials say they still hope to introduce enhanced safety measures.