NEW YORK -- The two doctors who saved
Italian driver Alex Zanardi's life in 2001 as part of the Champ
Car safety team have not been retained to provide medical care
by the CART series' new owners Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS).
Dr. Stephen Olvey, a professor and director of the
Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at Jackson Memorial
Hospital/University of Miami, will no longer be involved with
the series, which opens in Long Beach, Calif. on April 18.
Dr. Terry Trammell, an orthopaedic surgeon based in
Indianapolis, will continue to work for the series but only in
an advisory role related to 2005 chassis design.
"After 22 years neither myself nor Terry will be providing
medical care at the race track this year," said Olvey, who
established the CART safety team that eventually included a
mobile medical unit to provide on-the-scene medical care.
Former CART champion Zanardi, who has also driven in Formula
One for Lotus and Williams, survived a near fatal high speed
crash at the Lausitzring, Germany in Sept., 2001 but lost
two liters of blood and had to have both legs amputated.
Zanardi told Reuters by phone: "I can't imagine two doctors
with not only the experience but the passion for the sport. I
wouldn't be talking to you today if it were not for them."
Late last year Olvey had discussions with one of the three
OWRS principals about continuing to work for the series on a
cost reduction basis but recently was told by e-mail that his
contract would not be renewed as it previously existed.
Champ Car spokesman Eric Mauk confirmed that Olvey was being
replaced as the series medical director but said the organization
would have no further comment.
CART, which began racing in 1979, became a public company in
1998 but filed for bankruptcy last year after its shares
plummeted. In January a federal bankruptcy judge awarded the
assets of the bankrupt CART series to OWRS.