New video shows Bianchi’s runaway Marussia

2013 German Grand Prix

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An F1 fan at the German Grand Prix captured this video showing the alarming moment when Jules Bianchi’s empty Marussia rolled backwards across the track during the race.

Bianchi had suffered an engine problem on lap 22 which caused a fire at the rear of the car. He came to a stop on the uphill approach to the Veedol chicane while race engineer Paul Davison told him to “get out – fire the fire extinguisher and get out quickly”.

Bianchi sprang from the cockpit having first put the car into neutral as required by the rules. But before the marshals could secure the car it began rolling backwards.

As the video above shows it crossed the track shortly before race leader Sebastian Vettel passed by, the Red Bull driver going off-line to avoid it.

The MR02 then rolled into an advertising board and came to a stop. Marussia said they were not sure what caused the engine failure.

Did you go to the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring? Share your videos here:

Thanks to @andae23 for the tip.

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    48 comments on “New video shows Bianchi’s runaway Marussia”

    1. And we get a safety car that lasts 6 laps for THAT!! stupid rules…

      1. Yeah sucks Mark Webber had to unlap himself. If the rules were differently – like allowing the other drivers to overtake the lapped cars or having them stop on the pits until they could assume their positions at the back of the grid, it would’ve been three laps or so.

        1. allowing the other drivers to overtake the lapped cars

          This keeps getting suggested by people but there’s a very good reason why it’s a bad idea as explained in a Comment of the Day a while ago:

      2. I think this incident does highlight a problem with the safety car rules. Effectively, the biggest danger was actually gone the moment the safety car was deployed, hence the minimum duration for a safety car is 6 laps, when practically no work has to be done.

        I say: bring back the old safety car rules. Let the cars run at near-racing speed to catch up to the safety car, then send the safety car back in as soon as the danger is gone. If cars queue up quicker behind the SC, marshals can get to work earlier, and I think drivers can be sensible about slowing down for yellow flag zones.

        Not allowing lapped cars to unlap themselves can in some cases take away some excitement from the battle for the lead, but on the other hand that is also fair to the drivers who had built up a lead and lapped more cars than others.

        Under the current rules, too much of the race is wasted behind the safety car.

        1. If drivers could be sensible about slowing down for yellow flag zones, there would be no need for safety cars.

          Near-racing speeds during SC is asking for disaster.

          1. @losd, there is a difference between sensibly driving past an incident site, and driving past marshals cleaning up the mess. Especially for the latter, it’s safest if the field is bunched up behind the SC, so the marshals can work two minutes uninterrupted.

            1. Hmmmm, good point.

        2. I think the safety car isn’t for safety anymore.

          What we have here is more comparable to ”warnings flags” in Nascar and Indy. It’s not a single thing to do with safety, it’s to get the cars back together and make the race more exciting.

          The one big error they have made is thinking NASCAR fans and F1 fans want the same thing, when in reality we are polar opposites.

        3. @adrianmorse

          “I say: bring back the old safety car rules. Let the cars run at near-racing speed to catch up to the safety car”

          Perhaps you don’t remember Brazil 03? Alonso ramming his Renault in Webber’s wreckage. I’m still amazed Alonso walked out of that one, without any serious injury.

      3. That’s not what Mark Webber was thinking!!!!

      4. Why not make the pit limiter mandatory in yellow flag zones? Once clear, limiter off, green flag rules. Even add a tiered limiter: Normal pit speed on limiter one, (anticipating changes after 07 July,) and 30kph between the relevant flashing/waving yellows if personnel are on track.

        If you need more than that, wave the red and bring them to the paddock.

    2. Erm, a car rolling backwards down the track is kinda a big deal….

      Plus, you now have the rules where guys can join the back of the pack, so you know.

      I think that’s a bit of an overreaction. It’s perfectly reasonable.

      1. @ecwdanselby Exactly. If it wasn’t for the fact the car just happened to start rolling at the exact period that there was a gap in the traffic, we could’ve seen an absolutely massive accident.

        Charlie Whiting made the right call by throwing the SC out immediately when he saw what was happening.

        1. @magnificent-geoffrey The problem, in my opinion, is that the safety car stayed far too long to remove a car that, once stopped by the advertising board, shouldn’t warrant a safety car in the first place. And that was just because of the “lapped cars may overtake rule”, which in my opinion is unacceptable wether it is Chilton or Webber who is lapped. I reality that safety car should have stayed just long enough to remove the Marussia and for the field to catch up. The two extra laps it took for Webber to catch up were two racing laps thrown away.

          1. Yes. How many of us were thinking after the race “I wish that had gone on 2 laps longer”? Probably everyone except Vettel…

            Why can’t they just throw the green flag sooner, with the lapped guys half way round the lap somewhere? No need for them to catch the queue (and on long tracks beginning with S like Silverstone, Spa and Singapore that takes forever) They’d see the green flags immediately, and would still be better off than being a lap down as they’d have a clear track to run at full speed for a while.

        2. I don’t think anyone disputes that, but why wasn’t it cancelled, i.e. in at end of that lap, when it was absolutely clear that the danger had passed.

      2. It doesn’t matter how much of a big deal it was because even before the safety car managed to be deployed the danger had long passed. So it got out on the track for no reason in the end.
        It was more like getting it out to show a serious reaction than anything to do about safety.

    3. Martin Brundle had a hilarious quote about Charlie Whiting’s “nightmare” regarding this scenario! (Glad no one was hurt, but holy smokes that was funny, what Brundle said…)

      1. I think it was ‘Charlie Whiting has nightmares at night, and for sure this is one of them’, or something to that degree!

    4. I think I read somewhere before marshals are able to put the car in neutral from the outside of the car. Is that true or not? If so, why must a driver put the car in neutral himself? Leaving it in gear before someone arrives fixes future cases like this.

      1. They can (big ‘N’ on the outside). It’s probably like reattaching the steering wheel, where it’s an aid to the marshalls and you get fined if you don’t help ’em

      2. If the car’s engine is out, leaving it in gear would make more sense, actually.

    5. The first of the Caterhams had a real moment there at 0:01! Hideous danger! But the safety car was called out after the danger had passed. The Marussia actually parked itself in a safer place, as far as I could see. But if the call for a safety car is made, the rules must be followed. Otherwise there would be Total Anarchy. ;)

      1. Not really, the Marussia was still off-line when the first Caterham passed by. It was just still on the racing line when Vettel passed by. But as I mentioned before, I don’t think it was really dangerous, as the drivers saw the car from quite far away. And whether the car is stationary or rolling slowly doesn’t really make a big difference.

        1. Hmmm… I’m not sure I agree: Being stationary, there’s no chance it will change direction. Even when moving slowly, a sudden directional change (the oncoming drivers cannot see what is going on) would be extremely dangerous.

        2. Really. First, of all, quite far away is not very far at the speeds the cars are going, with your head 2ft off the ground. Second, the other drivers had no way of knowing that the car was unmanned and thus necessarily going to continue in straight line or whatever. Third, note the presence of the giant tractor just on the edge of the track, taking away 50% of the options for dramatic evasive action. Having that thing right on the edge of a live track alone is scary enough. Finally, you would have had track workers possibly on the verge or on the track trying to lasso the car as soon as possible, and thus very much in harms way. After the terrible accident in Canada, these kinds of situations need to be addressed with a heavy thumb on the scale of safety.

          1. I think it’s safe to assume the team told Vettel there was a car loose over the radio. Thanks to the circuit tracker, which all teams have access to, they’d also be able to tell him exactly where it was.
            And the marshalls would be waving the white ‘slow vehicle on track’ flag.

            1. It’s nice to know that some assumptions are safe but we know for a fact that track workers are often not safe. I reckon memories are short. I recall Mario Andretti slamming into the back of parked safety vehicle on the edge of the track at Long Beach under an SC. Very bad things can happen in these scenarios, even with radios and people waving colored cloths on sticks.

          2. You can hear Vettel is off throttle well before he comes across the Marussia, indicating he’s adhered to the double yellows and most probably the team radio warning him of an out of control car. I think the bigger danger was the tractor on the other side of the track that was trying to catch up with the Marussia.
            It stopped right at the edge of the track and would’ve been a bigger threat to the cars than the Marussia.

    6. If I remember rightly, he pulled up jumped out walked away marshall came up to decide if it need the fire extinguisher. Jules came back put the steering wheel in walked away again, tractor started coming over before it started rolling away.

    7. They should put handbrake on the car

      1. Maybe Bianchi was worried about getting burn… even so, they should have made sure that car wousln´t move…

      2. Not much help if the fire has taken out the hydraulics. You’d have to have a wired system, but they are hardly fire proof either…

      3. Might help Webber’s starts – although he did ok this time.

    8. I laughed soo hard when i saw this on TV. Soo much rules, security, marshall etc, and than this happens.. lol

    9. I want to say how this roll started, I got a feeling it might have been the tractor that touched it while trying to get a grip on it – as was standing in one spot for about 2 minutes when it first stopped.

    10. Jared H (@thejaredhuang)
      8th July 2013, 20:37

      My biggest complaint about the safety car is that it takes them 3-4 laps before they get to the last stage of letting lapped cars go around. If they could let them go around after the first lap we would save at least 2-3 laps each safety car period. The FIA probably needs better positioning and lap time delta systems so that it can tell drivers where they can go fast to catch up to the SC and where they have to slow down to avoid the sectors with incidents.

      1. Yes, it’s rather baffling that race control hasn’t figured this out yet. If you’re going to require the unlapped drivers to maintain the same delta speed as everyone else (when not queued behind the SC), that’s fine. Ideally, you’d like to see the unlapped drivers take the track as fast as they would want to, not unlike a practice outlap. They do this in many varying series here in America.

        But if they don’t want to chance that and risk greying the waters with when you can go at race speed and when you can’t (this would undoubtedly involved classifying certain zones of the track as clear or not and that is a non-static variable), the first thing race control should do, considering there isn’t a possibility of a red flag, is to unlap those lapped queued behind the leader along with those in front of the leader who get the green light simultaneously.

        The drivers ahead of the leader on track picked up by the SC are released in the first portion of the first SC lap. There should be no need to delay this, though I understand lapped cars pit as well, but it should be clear who is on the lead lap and who is not.

        There is no reason to clear the track of the SC’s cause (unless it requires serious detail), wasting laps and waiting for the lapped drivers to get the okay to pass the field and the SC when plenty of drivers do this before the leader is picked up by the SC in the first place.

    11. Firstly, they just had to press the big yellow button when that camera shot appeared. I was instantly horrified. Guess they perhaps *could* have cancelled it 5 seconds later when the situation resolved itself, but that’s never been done, and was probably too late anyway.

      Secondly, I do wonder if the cars need a mechanical handbrake fitted for this purpose. With a full tank and next year’s heavier cars, the gravity on slopes can easily overcome those sticky tyres’ rolling resistance. It’s a miracle I can’t remember it happening before.

      Lastly, they simply have to change the safety car regulations, as someone on the F1 Fanatic live forum correctly spotted that Webber set his fastest lap of his race up until that point whilst still under safety car conditions! I didn’t realise the rules defining a minimum sector time delta don’t apply for cars unlapping themselves. So presumably, by that point, the safety car clearly no longer has anything to do with safety, as surely the incident and marshalls will have already been safely cleared for those kind of speeds to be allowable.

      So with that in mind, why oh why do the FIA prolong the *safety* car period for several laps after the track has been made safe? For *fairness*? Clearly not, as Webber was a lap down purely of his own (OK, of his team’s) making. So he is gaining an unjustified advantage. Is it for entertainment? To be honest, the number of times a safety car period has seemingly gone on forever whilst we wait for the slower cars to catch up has historically been far more boring than the small number of times a genuine contender has been given a chance to mount an entertaining comeback. Long safety car periods just make people change channel. This part of the safety car rule is completely nonsensical.

      C’mon, COTD, please… I’ve never had one, and when I do post, I really try so hard! :)

      1. Webber clearly did not set the then-fastest lap of the race under the SC. It took one and half laps under SC conditions for him to circulate behind the queue.

        Someone is terribly mistaken about that.

        1. I didn’t say that. I said that he set *his* fastest lap of his race thus far. Laptime was green on Live Timing.

    12. Having watched this spectator video, I can comfortably say that the multiple views, multiple replays, all in hi-def provided by FOM via SKYF1HD during the actual race coverage, sufficed to give me all the “looks” at this that I would’ve wanted! lol…

    13. Why dont they let the cars overtake the lapped cars and let them drop to the back, and then just update the race score so that it is as if the lapped cars have gone around to the back again. Therefore it is much faster, and the lapped cars are at the back again and on the lead lap. The safety car can come in and we can go racing….problem solved

      1. But then, the car that has dropped to back has done one fewer lap. And that could be an advantage. Tires are one lap fresher; one lap’s worth of fuel is still in the tank. That driver can push that little bit harder. It’s not a big advantage, but it’s still a free lap.

        A 60 lap race is 60 laps. If a lapped car just gets dropped to the back and the score-sheet adjusted to put them back on the lead lap, then that car only has to do 59 laps. I don’t think that’s fair.

    14. they shouted to Bianchi, ABBANDON SHIP! NOW! and the ship sunk without his captain! :p

    15. What I don’t get is how there wasn’t a single marshall thinking “Hey, let’s make sure this car dosen’t move.”…?
      It’s a car weighting around 600 kg (without the driver), with no one to control it directly, put into neutral gear, on a slope. Any creature smarter than a garbage can would’ve figured it will roll…

    16. Safety car went on far too long. It drives me crazy when it goes round and round and round and round and all the while we’re losing racing laps. The guy in second never gets a sniff up the back of the leader on the restart anyway so the might as well abandon the ‘line up in formation’ rule.

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