Dario Franchitti: IndyCar seeks to make races safer after crash

Franchitti crashes in Houston

IndyCar officials are investigating to see how to make races safer after four-time world champion Dario Franchitti suffered a serious injury on Sunday.

The Scot, 40, suffered two broken vertebrae in his spine and also broke his right ankle and cracked two ribs in a crash at the Houston Grand Prix.

In 2011, English IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon died when he crashed in a race.

"Reducing the risks that are associated with racing is one of our highest priorities," an IndyCar statement read.

"IndyCar is thoroughly reviewing the incident. Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the accident."

Franchitti's car flipped into the air following a final-lap collision with Japanese driver Takuma Sato and hit the safety fence.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner's car smashed into several pieces but did not catch fire, while an official and 13 spectators also suffered injuries after being hit by debris.

Franchitti has had surgery on his right ankle at the Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center and will remain in Houston for a few days before being transported to Indianapolis for further evaluation.

Wheldon was killed when he crashed at the Las Vegas Super Speedway in October 2011, but safety measures he had helped to introduce could have saved Franchitti's life.

A reinforced chassis called DW12, which Wheldon helped design and is now named after the Englishman, remained intact during Franchitti's crash and it has been claimedexternal-link this prevented the driver from sustaining further injury.

Earlier this year in an interview with roadandtrack.com,external-link Franchitti praised the new chassis and believed the cars felt safer.

He said: "Inside the cockpit, instead of the seat being the only deformable structure, now we have the seat sitting in about two inches of special impact foam in all directions. I'm hoping this will translate into a safer car.

"Dan had so much to do with the initial chassis development, I think it's a nice tribute and another way of keeping him in people's thoughts."