APRIL 5, 1999
Badoer fractures his hand
LUCA BADOER crashed heavily last week at Ferrari's Fiorano test track in Italy, while testing his Minardi-Ford M01. The Italian driver - who knows the circuit well because of his testing duties with Ferrari - had completed 49 laps of the circuit when his fly-by-wire throttle system appears to have malfunctioned, sending the car off the road at high speed. It crashed heavily into the barriers and Badoer suffered a fractured right hand.
He was taken immediately to the local hospital, in the town of Modena, where he underwent a small operation to try to ensure that the injury would heal quickly. Fortunately, Modena is home to the famous Italian sport surgeon Dr. Claudio Costa, who is based at the city's St. Agostini's hospital. He operates the Costa Equipe emergency service which is present at all rounds of the World Motorcycle Championship.
Dr. Costa examined Badoer's injury and concluded that if everything goes well he thinks Luca will be able to race for Minardi in Brazil. While Minardi has announced no plans to replace Badoer in Brazil, it is still uncertain whether he will be able to drive in Brazil. The Interlagos circuit is bumpy enough to make it uncomfortable for totally fit drivers and an injured hand could be a serious handicap. Minardi's decision not to test another driver after Badoer's crash means that the team may suffer in Brazil. The only driver other than Badoer and his team mate Marc Gene who has driven the current Minardi is Gastone Mazzacane, who tested for the team in February at Mugello. The Argentine driver has very limited Formula 1 experience and a wiser choice for Minardi would probably be to bring back one of its 1998 drivers. Shinji Nakano was negotiating for the drive during the offseason and is understood to be available if necessary.
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