I recall watching the two grand prix that were held that month, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I fortunately did not lose any loved ones on that day, but it was a period of time that can only be described as a melancholic fog; a collection of incoherent mental images that left me feeling like I received a couple of knockout punches. Another kick in the teeth was the fact that two of the hijacked aircraft came out of out my hometown of Boston, MA.
As far as the racing went, there were three things I can distinctly recall about that race weekend. One, the Italian GP was already under a pall as the 2000 race was marred by the death of fire marshal, Paolo Ghislimberti. Two, I was preparing to get news that then CART racer and ex-F1 driver Alex Zanardi was going to die after losing both his legs in a horrible crash in Germany. Three, remembering then Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya winning the race and thinking what a shitty race and time to get your first F1 win. Thankfully, Zanardi survived his accident and to this day proves to be an enduring testament to the power of human will. As it relates to the USGP, I honestly could not tell you who one the race without having to look it up. I was a bit more caught up in the acts of solidarity. An interesting bit of numerology is that 10 years after those tragic events, this year's Italian Grand Prix will be on September 11th. I wonder if there will be remembrances given the very classy way Ferrari acted.
Below you will find a collection of some quotes and news story excerpts in the F1 community in regards to those events:
"In mid August, having won our third consecutive Constructors' Championship, we decided to meet the international Formula One press. At the time, we could not have predicted the events of yesterday. I was at the Frankfurt Motor Show and was deeply affected. Personally, I feel very close to the USA, as I was at university in New York. I admire the democracy in the USA." Luca di Montezemolo, Atlas F1 News Service, 9/12/01
"The Jaguar Racing team may withdraw from the Italian Grand Prix this weekend following the terrorist attacks in the United States on Tuesday. 'We are reviewing the situation all the time,' a Jaguar spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Times. 'We want to do what is best.' ...Two of Jaguar's main sponsors, HSBC and AT&T, had offices within the World Trade Center, which collapsed after two planes crashed into both towers." Jaguar Considering Pulling Out of Italian GP, Atlas F1 New Service, 9/13/01
"It's pretty difficult to find the right expression for what has happened there and what we feel. I think in all of us it is pretty much the same... the sympathy is naturally all with them and the support as much as we can support. It's going to be a tough time." Michael Schumacher, 9/13/01
"It (USGP for 9/30) should go ahead, I believe it. What happened there is crazy, absolutely mental but I think the worse thing they could do is to try to stop the country...if they do that it would be more joy to whoever did it. It is a tough thing but they should try to keep going and it could help take the mind off (things) for a lot of people." Juan Pablo Montoya, Atlas F1 News Service, 9/13/01
"Daimler-Chrysler, parent of team partners Mercedes, have started a $10 million fund and McLaren said they would donate heavily. 'There is extensive communication through to all the members of the organization throughout the world and many of them are already pledging either personal income or funding,' said McLaren team boss Ron Dennis at the Italian Grand Prix. 'That will be supplemented by the TAG McLaren Group. There are going to be a lot of kids without parents...The aftermath of this is going to be very much felt by young people.' " Alan Baldwin, F1 Mourns Terror Victims, Atlas F1 News Service, 9/14/01
"I think it is the whole world's tragedy. We have to look at what is happening and the feeling in the paddock is not the best. No one is happy. Normally F1 is a celebration but there's nothing to celebrate here when we see what is happening around the world. There is stress, everybody is concerned and the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is to turn the television on to see if there is any news. We still have to carry on, we have to take care of what is happening but we can't stop otherwise the people that attacked the USA will have won their battle and we cannot let this happen." Jarno Trulli, 9/14/01