Kobayashi not responsible for Massa crash – stewards

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The FIA stewards have ruled Kamui Kobayashi was not responsible for causing the first-corner collision with removed him and Felipe Massa from the race.

A fault in Kobayashi’s Caterham was blamed for his loss of control at turn one as the race began.

“Having heard from the driver and the technical representatives of the team, and especially reviewing the technical data, the stewards determine that the incident was caused by a serious technical failure completely outside the control of the driver.

“The team is directed to work with the FIA technical delegate in determining the cause of the systems failure.”

Kobayashi said he was “sorry for the team and for Felipe that both our races ended early”.

“I had a really good start but then into turn one I made contact with Felipe. From the initial data it looked like I had a brake system issue which obviously meant I couldn’t do much about the contact and when we got the car back and looked at the information in much more detail it was clear that was the problem.”

Massa initially blamed Kobayashi for the collision and called for him to be banned following the crash.

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2014 Australian Grand Prix articles

Image © Caterham/LAT

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

39 comments on “Kobayashi not responsible for Massa crash – stewards”

  1. Mr Massa you should give Koba an apology now !!!!

    1. Yup. It’s always smartest to find out exactly what happened before throwing your toys out of the pram.

    2. @tifoso1989 @textuality In fairness to Massa, Kobayashi himself thought it was his fault to begin with. He was apologising to the team on the radio.

      1. yes. He also said it was probably his fault when interviewing right after the accident.

      2. He did really lay into him though, saying he should definitely be banned and that what he did was ‘the same as Grosjean in Spa’. He was right to be annoyed, but that struck me as an unfair overreaction even if Kobayashi had missed his braking point.

      3. @keithcollantine do you think that the Kobayashi incident proved that Adrian Newey was correct in his assessment of the dangers of the new noses? When you replay that crash it could have come out a lot worse. I didn’t realise at the time the potential seriousness because what you mostly saw was the Caterham with detached wheels hurtling over the gravel. Had the closing speeds been greater I hate to think what could have happened to Kobayashi had his car gone further under Massa’s Williams. With a cloud still hanging over the brake-by-wire systems on virtually all of these cars, this is probably not the last time in 2014 one car is going to dive under another. I just hope that the driver of the submarining car comes out of it unscathed.

    3. But as in 2011, when Massa starts to feel his oats, he tries to be a bully. His reaction was over the top. He acts like he never plowed into anyone apropos of nothing. Kobayashi should be sitting in his seat, or one of better quality, and I expect to seek Kamui prove it this season.

      1. As has already been mentioned above, Kobayashi said he thought he was at fault on the team radio and in both his Sky and BBC interviews; both of those TV crews then interviewed Massa leading with some variation of the phrase “Kamui says it was his fault, what do you think about that?” With that information, Massa was absolutely right to be fuming, and the comparison to Grosjean is hardly unreasonable.

        1. Missing a braking point and running somebody off the track on a straight are two very different degrees of wrong.

    4. Hmmm. Kobayashi admitted it was his fault at the time and apologized. The technical data then came later, after the comments were made. Now it seems Kobayashi is backtracking, once an excuse arose. In the circumstances of what was known and said at the time, you can hardly blame Massa

  2. That is worrying. The hydraulic brakes are supposed to work in they event of a failure of the BBW, and should be as dependable as “traditional” F1 braking systems.

    1. Yeah, you’d think the “normal” brakes would be good enough to slow him down, weird…

    2. I agree. In the one scenario when a brake problem is probably most dangerous the system has failed. The stewards have even acknowledged how badly

    3. The car did break but it wasn’t an ideal situation that’s for sure.

    4. If I have understood correctly, you do not have direct control over the rear axel brakes – brake-by-wire. You have electronics (not hydraulics) between “the pedal” and the brake discs, that determine how large force is to be applied to the brake discs. Braking force is applied using an electrical motor – the rest of the “braking” of the rear axel is supposed to be done by harvesting.
      You still have pure hydraulic brakes for the front axel though.

      1. No, there is a hydraulic link to the rear brakes still. That is a mandatory safety requirement, but usually it is governed by the electronic braking system.

    5. They did work. Thats why the wheels locked.

      1. Was that just front the fronts locking up though? If the rear brakes weren’t doing the job, it would explain why he couldn’t get the car slowed down. It’s a shame he was sandwiched as he might have been able to avoid an accident if he was on the outside.

  3. So the car took away control from the driver and left him out of control and unable to brake and aviod hitting two other cars. This has the potential to be a major incident in the making. A driver going very fast, who has no control of his brakes, is a disaster waiting to happen.

    1. A bit dramatic. Kobi did brake (see the smoke?). Everyone knows that once the brakes lock, you are just a passenger.

  4. I’m hoping this isn’t a cue for people to jump on the new regs. This is a team/supplier based failure, not a regulatory one.

  5. I’m relieved that Kobayashi has been vindicated, but unhappy that my fears of a turn one brake failure proved to be well founded. Caterham must get this sorted so that it does not happen again.

  6. Looking on the bright side. At least it tested the effectiveness of the new lower nose :-(

  7. I already suspected it when I watched the replay, it seemed like Koba was braking at the right moment but the car deosn’t wanted to slow down.

    That’s quite worrying …

  8. Only heard the race on 5Live, but it was reported that his wheels locked, or at least the fronts. I don’t trust James Allen’s commentary very far, but if this was the case, then the brakes sound fine, and a stuck throttle sounds more likely. Either is very serious, but before we all jump to conclusions (like Massa did), we should wait for more info.

    1. but it was reported that his wheels locked, or at least the fronts.

      The fronts did lock. It was only the rear brakes which failed.

      Before peopel jump on the Brake-By-Wire it should be remember similar things have occurred with the normal braking system seen before.
      Schumacher’s Silverstone 1999 crash was caused by a rear braking failure & Massa had the same happen at Monaco in 2002.

  9. It was rear brake failure I believe

  10. No type of BBW can stop a kamikaze

  11. I especially like this quote:

    “The team is directed to work with the FIA technical delegate in determining the cause of the systems failure.”

    it appears its not his fault, even though they don’t know what caused his rear brake system to fail? If it even did fail, how did it fail? I guess we are all supposed to believe there was a failure?

    maybe Kobayashi had a setup problem and was driving beyond the limit of his car? I mean cmon now, that car was really slow anyways, maybe trying to hang with the big boys caught him out. I don’t really believe anything until I see the data or a better explanation.

    what qualifies as a failure, when you don’t provide evidence of a failure or know what caused the failure? Those Caterhams were the slowest cars on the grid, even Max was catching them up, I don’t buy it, and I think the Stewards are just trying to help keep a troubled team from taking too much flak.

    1. Easy, just look at the data. If Kobayashi pushed the brake but the car didn’t react to it, then it’s a brake failure. As to what cause it, that is what they try to find out. Since the rear brake in this year car is much more complicated, there are lots of point of failure that one of them might cause the brake failure.

  12. Whatever the reason it was so frustrating for Massa. A podium was on the cards today. Looking at his team mate, messed up big time and still came in 6th.

  13. Give Massa an inch and he tries to take a yard….if anything goes against him he turns to righteous indignation, forgetting his own mistakes.

  14. Glad to the see this crash justified. By the looks of it he tore past 4 or 5 cars before the crash. Had the brakes been working correctly, i think he would have slotted himself in nicely

  15. I know they have experts saying it’s safer to have the nose below the wheel’s axel, but I just can’t ‘feel’ the intuition behind that. I find it so easy to visualize a driver submarining into another car and getting decapitated, whereas the alternative may result in more Webbering, but there at least the driver’s head isn’t likely to ever make contact with anything. There also seem to be a lot more broken parts to cause freak Senna-esque issues, but with a flip, you’re just dealing with more blunt-force and the possibility of not having braking power. I mean I trust the experts, it just worries me. Seems safer on average, but with higher danger volatility, and so will result in more safer crashes, but also a longer tail of really dangerous ones.

  16. Perhaps the rear brake failure mode was to instantly lock up hard when he touched the pedal. Locked wheels don’t slow you down properly. If the fronts were fine and the rears were not working at all I’d expect the car to spin?

  17. Alexander (@)
    18th March 2014, 12:54

    Just saw some interesting pictures of the crash, Kobayashi actually hit Räikkönen first and very hard, and then Massa… Kimi was pretty damn lucky! (Link in finnish)

    1. Yes he was aiming for Kimi and broke the front right wheel before crashing into Massa.

Comments are closed.