Minutes after Robert Wickens went flying into the fence and spinning like a dreidel at the exit of turn 2 someone was disparaging his name. As Wickens sat on the backstretch with his status unknown to anyone outside of the AMR safety crew, Michael Andretti had some things to say.
The F1 burnout immediately blamed Wickens for the incident even as AMR tended to the driver. Instead of cordially wishing Wickens well, Andretti took a different tone.
Michael Andretti on RHR: "Yeah, he's fine." Thinks Wickens could have backed off. "Robert should have backed out of it … being the first lap, there was norhing to gain there and he was in Ryan's blind spot."
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) August 19, 2018
Andretti’s whole demeanor during the interview was that of annoyance and disgust with Wickens’ decision.
Wickens was halfway inside RHR at the point of contact in Turn 2. According to Michael, the #6 car should have backed out as if this isn’t a race and passing isn’t the point of racing. Instead, Andretti chose to be combative as a driver sat on track still in his car after a horrific incident. With no remorse to be had from Andretti his driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay was gracious in his interview. RHR merely wanted everyone to know he was fine but more importantly, he wanted Wickens to be alright and mentioned that multiple times.
As a car owner of an IndyCar powerhouse, you cannot bash a driver while everyone wonders if he’s actually alive. Instead, you should take the approach RHR did and wish him well and not worry about your own minuscule problems.
You would think Michael of all people would know how to handle these situations. Especially after Dan’s crash.
PR 101: if someone is being tended to after a dramatic crash, don’t bash them for what happened. Instead wish them well because you’re a human as well and you should have some decency in times of need.