Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Suzuka, 2014

The context of Bianchi’s crash

2014 Japanese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Suzuka, 2014Jules Bianchi has been seriously injured after crashing out of the Japanese Grand Prix on his 42nd lap.

Although no footage of the crash has been broadcast, according to the FIA Bianchi lost control of his car in Dunlop curve (turn seven), which was under yellow flags. He was unfortunate enough to collide with a recovery vehicle which was attending to the Sauber of Adrian Sutil which had gone off on the previous lap.

Sutil said he had “aquaplaned” off the circuit and Bianchi had “more or less the same crash”. The water levels on the track, the extent of a driver’s tyre wear and how fast they are going can all contribute towards aquaplaning.

The amount of water on the track at the time had been increasing for several laps. DRS was disabled on lap 41, and before that drivers had been warned about the deteriorating conditions several times.

Some had already gone off, such as Sebastian Vettel on lap 39. At the same time a radio message from Lewis Hamilton reported “it is raining more”, to which he was told “it may build”.

Hamilton, however, had fresher tyres than Bianchi. The Marussia driver’s rubber was 17 laps old when he crashed, whereas Hamilton had pitted just seven laps earlier. The only drivers with older and potentially more worn tyres than Bianchi’s on that lap were his team mate Max Chilton (18 laps) and Jean-Eric Vergne (22 laps). The latter described the track conditions as “still OK” shortly before the crash.

As the conditions became more treacherous some drivers had already taken the decision to switch to full wet weather tyres: the Caterhams did on lap 39, Kevin Magnussen and Pastor Maldonado did on lap 40 and Jenson Button did at the same time Bianchi had his crash.

Sebastian Vettel said after the race it was a “borderline” call whether to stay out or pit for fresh intermediate or full wet tyres in the transitional track conditions.

“A couple of laps before it was getting quite bad, that’s why we decided to pit and we decided to go for intermediates again,” he said.

Vettel also said some drivers might have been discouraged from putting the full wet weather tyres on. “I think the problem, in general, is that once there is a lot of water, visibility is very poor and once there’s too much water, the inter doesn’t work any more and the [full] wet only has a very very narrow window where it works,” he said.

“Also, with a lot of water on the track, water drainage on the [full wet] tyres is not as good as it probably should be, so that’s why I think the window is narrow and that’s why other people probably decided to pit.”

The circumstances of the accident will inevitably become a focus of further scrutiny. For now however Bianchi’s wellbeing remains the priority.

Japanese Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5
Lewis HamiltonWet (14)Intermediate (21)Intermediate (9)
Nico RosbergWet (13)Intermediate (20)Intermediate (11)
Sebastian VettelWet (12)Intermediate (17)Intermediate (15)
Daniel RicciardoWet (11)Intermediate (25)Intermediate (8)
Jenson ButtonWet (9)Intermediate (22)Intermediate (11)Wet (2)
Valtteri BottasWet (11)Intermediate (27)Intermediate (6)
Felipe MassaWet (12)Intermediate (25)Intermediate (7)
Nico HulkenbergWet (12)Intermediate (14)Intermediate (17)Intermediate (1)
Jean-Eric VergneWet (11)Intermediate (8)Intermediate (25)
Sergio PerezWet (11)Intermediate (14)Intermediate (18)
Daniil KvyatWet (11)Intermediate (12)Intermediate (16)Intermediate (4)
Kimi RaikkonenWet (11)Intermediate (12)Intermediate (11)Intermediate (9)Wet (0)
Esteban GutierrezWet (11)Intermediate (23)Intermediate (9)
Kevin MagnussenWet (11)Intermediate (4)Intermediate (18)Intermediate (7)Wet (3)
Romain GrosjeanWet (11)Intermediate (10)Intermediate (13)Intermediate (9)Wet (0)
Pastor MaldonadoWet (9)Intermediate (13)Intermediate (18)Wet (3)
Marcus EricssonWet (11)Intermediate (14)Intermediate (14)Wet (4)
Max ChiltonWet (11)Intermediate (12)Intermediate (20)
Kamui KobayashiWet (11)Intermediate (15)Intermediate (12)Intermediate (1)Wet (4)
Jules BianchiWet (13)Intermediate (11)Intermediate (17)
Adrian SutilWet (12)Intermediate (10)Intermediate (10)Intermediate (8)
Fernando AlonsoWet (1)

Japanese Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull23.44329
2Romain GrosjeanLotus23.6560.21321
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes23.6770.23435
4Nico RosbergMercedes23.6960.25313
5Kevin MagnussenMcLaren23.7010.25833
6Romain GrosjeanLotus23.7450.30234
7Sebastian VettelRed Bull23.7640.32112
8Romain GrosjeanLotus23.7850.34243
9Nico HulkenbergForce India23.8730.43026
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes23.8910.44814
11Romain GrosjeanLotus24.0110.56811
12Kimi RaikkonenFerrari24.1730.73034
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull24.1840.74111
14Pastor MaldonadoLotus24.1840.74122
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso24.2220.77923
16Adrian SutilSauber24.3140.87132
17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso24.3530.91019
18Kevin MagnussenMcLaren24.3610.91840
19Felipe MassaWilliams24.3740.93112
20Adrian SutilSauber24.4070.96422
21Valtteri BottasWilliams24.4651.02211
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren24.5321.0899
23Kevin MagnussenMcLaren24.5501.10711
24Daniil KvyatToro Rosso24.5671.12411
25Sergio PerezForce India24.6221.17925
26Nico HulkenbergForce India24.6961.25312
27Jenson ButtonMcLaren24.7571.31442
28Kimi RaikkonenFerrari24.7681.32543
29Nico HulkenbergForce India24.7921.34943
30Nico RosbergMercedes24.8621.41933
31Esteban GutierrezSauber24.8731.43011
32Kamui KobayashiCaterham24.9071.46439
33Jules BianchiMarussia24.9101.46724
34Felipe MassaWilliams24.9301.48737
35Sergio PerezForce India24.9711.52811
36Valtteri BottasWilliams25.0521.60938
37Jules BianchiMarussia25.1161.67313
38Adrian SutilSauber25.1361.69312
39Kimi RaikkonenFerrari25.1911.74811
40Max ChiltonMarussia25.2781.83523
41Sergio PerezForce India25.3131.87043
42Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso25.4512.00811
43Pastor MaldonadoLotus25.4602.0179
44Kamui KobayashiCaterham25.5762.13338
45Daniel RicciardoRed Bull25.6072.16436
46Kamui KobayashiCaterham25.6352.19226
47Marcus EricssonCaterham25.6552.21239
48Max ChiltonMarussia25.8792.43611
49Marcus EricssonCaterham25.9772.53425
50Pastor MaldonadoLotus25.9812.53840
51Daniil KvyatToro Rosso26.5543.11139
52Esteban GutierrezSauber26.9433.50034
53Jenson ButtonMcLaren28.5475.10431
54Kamui KobayashiCaterham28.6565.21311
55Marcus EricssonCaterham31.1877.74411
56Kimi RaikkonenFerrari32.4669.02323
57Kevin MagnussenMcLaren33.2159.77215

Image © Marussia

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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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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87 comments on “The context of Bianchi’s crash”

  1. Good article but apart from tyres, rain and aquaplaning (all important) you fotgot to mention that there was a tractor/truck over there.

    1. See 2nd paragraph.

    2. From the article: “He was unfortunate enough to collide with a [b]recovery vehicle[/b] which was attending to the Sauber of Adrian Sutil which had gone off on the previous lap.”

      Maybe Sutil and Bianchi were taking slightly different lines than the other drivers which mean’t they touched on standing water and aquaplaned. Plus their cars have less downforce than others. I just hope Jules will make it and recover to race again and this will not be an unfortunate tragedy!

      1. I mean the tractor should not be working there under those circunstancies (without a safety car or even a red flag)

        1. Yes with wet conditions a repeat accident is likely due to aquaplaning and a safety car maybe should have been called, I expected a safety car immediately after Sutils crash was shown. I expect Charlie was thinking that Sutils car would be recovered quickly due to its position.

          Bianchi could have aquaplaned at safety car speeds also. I think it is just very unlucky for Bianchi.

          1. Richard Harris
            5th October 2014, 19:04

            The safety car was ALREADY out

          2. No it wasn’t at the time Jules crashed, it was deployed after he crashed, it was double waves yellows when he crashed.

        2. On the TV recordings from the crash site, they are waiving a green flag while the crane and both cars are still there and the martials and medics are still scrambling around.

          http://youtu.be/F7dJsOSkmt8?t=27s

          1. the green flag is AFTER the crash scene, and shows that no danger from this point on

          2. The video seems to have disappeared.

            Here is a working link.
            http://bcove.me/v8ulsf6n

  2. Obviously not much new to report here and he is still in surgery. Its very late here and I have stayed up waiting for some news but it may be sometime- I will be checking first thing in the morning for some good news and all positive thoughts to Jules and his family!!!

    I was only explaining to my lad in quali yesterday that F1 is so much safer than it used to be and as fast as they race they are pretty safe…………………………….

    1. I do appreciate what you mean and I don’t mean to slate you in what you say but motorsport is never safe, you only have to read signs around all the circuits around the world that quote more or less the same thing “motorsport is dangerous”, yes, I appreciate safer and than the past, I can agree there, same with anything else; with new technology being developed- road cars are safer, but drunks or idiots are still driving them unfortunately! But with this incident you still have slow vehicles on circuit & working at the side of the circuit, such an unfortunate circumstance, he is now out of surgery, breathing unaided not on life support, so I do hope he’s on the road to recovery and we don’t get some bad news as those have got to be good signs- coming from a very ill person here who spends a lot of her time in hospital having many operations & treatment. But please and as this has sadly reminded us, and I’ve witnessed as an ex F1 and Motorsport photographer, motorsport is never, ever safe!

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    5th October 2014, 15:02

    I was impressed with the mature and measured perspective offered by Button; the crash had little to do with the timing of the race it was just because Jules was on intermediate tyres on an increasingly wet race track. In essence the perils of being on the wrong tyre at the wrong time could have occurred at any time during a day of such dynamic conditions, and whilst it is tempting to throw culpability the way of the Japanese Grand Prix’s organizers, it is not correct to do so, although a full and comprehensive investigation must be carried out. Right now the focus must be with the health of the immensely talented 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series champion and potentially Ferrari bound Bianchi. Jules, I heartily wish you all the best.

  4. Some people say there should not be a tractor on track ever but what if the tractor wasn’t there? The car could’ve hit the marshals, hmm

    1. So you ARE saying the tractor was necessary to protect the marshalls? Come on, it was raining there was a high risk os losing control of the car due to aquaplaning, there can not be a truck, a Marshall or a potencially dangerous object there, and if it is necessary to work or operate over there race direction must stop use the safety car or red flag the race.

      1. @Paul2013 +10000. This position is supported by decades of safety research in high risk industry. Absolutely unacceptable to have a utility vehicle within the barriers and no control of the field in any way other than yellow flags. Unacceptable.

      2. I didn’t said that.

      3. Problem is that there was already a potentially dangerous object there – Sutil’s car.

        1. Yes, there was an object there and did not use the safety car inmediately, unacceptable.

          1. So you’re saying they should send out the safety car every time anyone crashes anywhere?

          2. @george raining, with risk of losing control due to aquaplaning, poor visibility… Yes.

          3. +1 car (Sutl’s) in unsafe position in adverse conditions and which couldn’t be recovered without using a tractor = immediate safety car…. or it should have been….

      4. In the 80’s the driver got out and they just left the car there.

        Maybe that is an option?

    2. If marshals are in harm’s way, then YES, THEY TOO must be protected by a red flag or safety car under these conditions. Any other approach is unacceptable from a safety standpoint. The reason is that NO ONE ELSE is making decisions in which safety is absolutely paramount, but rather somewhat secondary to performance and finishing position. If you are staying out on intermediates in increasingly wet conditions, you are making a calculated safety risk. Race direction exists for order and safety and NO OTHER REASON.

      1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        5th October 2014, 17:30

        The definition of double waved yellows is “Slow down and be prepared to stop”. In theory, red flags and safety car periods are no stronger an instruction to slow down and provide no greater protection than double waved yellows.

        A safety car period is essentially double waved yellows applied around the whole of the circuit and a red flag merely an instruction to stop at the startline/grid area at the end of the current lap and not to enter the pitlane.

        In practice however, “Slow down and be prepared to stop” never seems to be enforced and subsequently never fully adhered to by the drivers throughout motorsport, from F1 to the lowest tiers of club racing.

        1. the reason why “slow down and be prepared to stop” is not adhered to is an excellent example of human decision making in the moment: because the rest of the circuit is green, the driver knows he may potientially lose position or gap to anyone who slows less. The whole point of safety car is to take all performance calculations off the table to address a significant safety risk. Under full double yellows around the track, all performance calculations end because no one can gain an advantage anywhere. Weighing performance against safety is an inherent part of green flag racing, but cannot occur while safety vehicles on the circuit put driver’s lives at risk from non-sporting injury.

  5. “the [full] wet only has a very very narrow window where it works”

    As I said earlier, Pirelli needs to adress this issue cause it’s been like this for years now. What’s the point of having full wets if everyone prefers the intermediates in pretty much any weather.

    1. It used to be the exact opposite in the 2000s. The inter had a very narrow operating window so people would wait on the slicks until it was wet enough for the full wets and vice-versa. I think the narrow operating window for the full wets isn’t the only problem; every time the weather is too tough for the inters, the safety car pops up and drives them along until either the track improves and the inters are again the best tyre, either the weather doesn’t improve and the red flag is shown.

      1. ..and if I remember correctly, under red flag for undriveable conditions teams are allowed(obliged?) to switch to the full wets. There are no advantages to using the full wets. @paeschli

      2. The other problem with the full wets is that as odd as it may sound there too efficient at moving water.

        One reason they tend to stay under SC longer when full wets are used is not always because of the track conditions but more because of the poor visibility caused by the spray & a big part of that is how much water modern wet tyres displace.
        The 2014 full wets are displacing 65 liters of water every second so thats 65ltrs of water been thrown into the air & affecting the visibility for the cars behind. The intermediate’s displace 25ltrs per second so naturally they produce less spray.

        The thing I find frustrating is that often you will hear the radio messages from front runners, Such as Hamilton today talking about the track conditions been fine, However you never hear the radio messages from the cars at the back who are pretty much completely blind. Race control have all the radio messages & take the opinions of every team/driver into consideration, Yet with the TV viewers only getting the view of those at the front there view is often skewed on when its right to start it.
        Likewise the focus only ever tends to be put on the track conditions with the spray often less of a consideration for fans (And commentators actually).

        Its easy to say if you have bad visibility then lift off, But if you lift then you risk the guy behind running into you & there is also the risk of backing off & losing tyre/brake temperatures which puts you at higher risk of going off.

        1. Jean Eric Verge was also saying it’s ok to race when they were behind the safety car. I don’t remember him being near the front of the pack.

  6. Jenson could have a podium had Jules crash not happen, as the conditions improve (getting wetter) when the safety car, and then The Mercs and RBRs pitted for Inters, while Jenson on full wets. With the car bunched all the field, both Merc snd Red Bull will struggle to get downforce so they might easily overtaken by Button or pit for full wets (the risk will be bigger)

  7. Does anyone know if there has been official conformation of the reports that Bianchi is “breathing independently”?

    1. Yeah, I check it in L’eqquipe (really can’t spell the name)

    2. Depends on your definition of “official”; at least I can’t find any credible source for that.

    3. @vettel1 The BBC are now saying that he’s breathing independently.
      It does seem to be the consensus around many sources, so hopefully it is the truth!

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/29499545

    4. Breathing independently is a good sign that brain stem function is normal and that he hasn’t had pontine coning. Can’t really say more than that without more information. Best to wait for more from the family/representatives/FIA.

  8. Sutil in his interview said that is was pretty hard to see the patches of standing water due to the poor light levels.
    I think starting the race so late, especially in light of the weather forecast just so that FOM can make more money is a disgrace to be honest.

    1. @john-h – The FIA wanted it earlier. It was the circuit organisers who refused. Apparently the FIA asked them twice.

      1. Isn’t it the circuit organisers and FOM that could have sorted something out? I also think mine is a general comment for twilight races to appease the European audience at the cost of safety when races run long like this one, which let’s be honest has everything to do with FOM.

        Indeed, the FiA has no power to change the start time.

        1. Formula 1 clearly lacks a management/regulation structure that allows for executive decisions about the well being of the sport to be made. The FIA is powerless, Bernie/FOM have the power to control TV rights and where races go, but nobody has a firm executive power concerning the direction of the sport and overall decisions that need to be made in tough situations like this.

        2. “Isn’t it the circuit organisers and FOM that could have sorted something out?”

          Bernie was apparently fine with an earlier start time if the FIA felt it was the right thing to do. It was the circuit owners/promoters (Honda) that didn’t want to move the start time because of concerns about getting fans into/out of the circuit.

          I said on Friday that most of the fans use pre-booked public transport to get to the track & it all would have been arranged around the 3pm start time.
          Had the race been moved to an earlier slot (FIA wanted 11am) its probable the grandstands would have been well over 90% empty.

          I’ve also heard most of the other drivers talk about how visibility was still good & how track conditions were fine & anyone who’s done any laps round Suzuka in the wet will know where the standing water is & Dunlop has always been one of the worst areas. Even if it wasn’t easy to actually see, It should be expected at that location.

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            5th October 2014, 17:29

            I believe DC said during the race that most spectators also purchase a train ticket to get to the track, and that ticket has a particular window of time in which it can be used.

          2. @lite992 Yup, that’s Japanese transport efficiency for you – I believe DC mentioned that buying the ticket actually allocates the train ticket too.

            Of course, every system is fallible.

          3. As always, thanks for the informed reply @gt-racer. It’s nice to know that Bernie was at least trying but if the race promoter stands firm I guess there’s not much that can be done at such short notice.

            I do however think that leaving things so close to twilight is a bad move, simply because it gives zero flexibility for moving the race back an hour or so. Hopefully longer term everyone will learn from this – even if like you say this time they probably got the only window they could have run in.

  9. I don’t know what to think yet. I think this is how things are done usually: double waved yellows while marshalls and recovery trucks are on the track, but I wonder if it wasn’t a totally wrong call given the circumstances and given the place where they were working. Dunlop is an extremely tricky place even in the dry…

    The precedent for bad calls (aka risking people’s life, not just drivers) was set in stone at Germany, with Sutil’s car too….

    All I want is Jules to recover… You can do it, buddy ! let it be like Monaco !

    1. The precedent set was that drivers are not being punished for ignoring double waved yellows. If the stewards has cracked down on drivers not slowing down sufficently in Germany then perhaps today’s unfortunate event would not have happened.

    2. It all depends on the corner and the conditions. In many cases double-yellows are fine to cover marshalls/tractor recovery… in other cases (like this) it is unacceptable and there should have been an immediate safety car…. were none of the stewards around in 1994 ???

  10. Starting late for races like Suzuka, Melbourne and Kuala Lumpar shows that the FIA are more interested in money than driver safety. Melbourne must be a nightmare to drive in the last few laps with the low lying sun. What is worse is that the FIA have known for a few days how bad the weather was going to be on race day at that time.

    1. As stated above, the FIA is practically powerless to change the start time of the races.

      That’s the job of the commercial rights holder (Bernie) and race promoter (suzuka) which is actually a little bit ridiculous. Perhaps someone knows better than I about the FIA powers though.

      1. The FIA only have power over the sporting/technical regulations, The timetables & running of a race weekend falls to the promoter/circuit owners.

        With regards to the weather this weekend, They actually got the race in during the best of the conditions. The rain was actually heavier at periods during the morning/early afternoon with most of the 3-5pm slot the race was run in featuring no/very little rainfall at all. And according to most of the drivers even the rain at the end wasn’t actually that bad, Only drivers i’ve seen say otherwise are Sutil & Massa.

        Running the race earlier woudl have seen more light at the end of the race but the actual track conditions & rainfall would have been worse which woudl have made things more dangerous & possibly seen more cars go off during the race.

  11. “He was unfortunate enough to collide with a recovery vehicle which was attending to the Sauber of Adrian Sutil which had gone off on the previous lap.”

    He was not “unfortunate.” Race direction exposed EVERY DRIVER to the risk of deadly injury by not controlling the field with a safety car traveling at ABSOLUTE MINIMUM speed through the area, or red flag, prior to placing a utility vehicle inside the boundaries of the circuit where it could be contacted by a race car at speed. Safety CANNOT be left to human judgment in the moment. There must be strict procedures in place that are based on situation. In this case, the situation was a utility vehicle in a place it could be hit by a race car. Which happened. Which is not “unfortunate,” it was predictable. And could have been properly mitigated by correct use of a proper safety protocol for that situation. Just because we’ve gotten away with it in other situations does not make it correct or safe.

    1. @slowhands +1000 THAT is my opinion too.

    2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      6th October 2014, 13:43

      @slowhands well said. The cars and circuits have been designed together so that the sport is relatively safe, but the tractors aren’t part of that: if a tractor is necessary it’s probably best to call out a safety car – ESPECIALLY in wet conditions where it’s easy to lose control.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      6th October 2014, 14:11

      @slowhands, I agree. But it is not that simple.
      Every time there is a marshal on track they are exposed to ‘risk of deadly injury’ (even more so than the drivers). Thus following your logic there should be a safety car for every accident.
      However, even that would not be enough, as a car can also aquaplane behind the safety car (see Ericsson during the opening laps in Japan). Thus that means that after every accident the race needs to red flagged.
      That does not seem realistic either!

      1. The question is risk mitigation, not eradication. Risk is part of motorsport. It is essential, however, to distinguish between the types of risk: 1) sporting risk eg aquaplaning under rainy conditions, which yes, can happen at safety car speeds. The point is that the safety car shows that race control has recognized the risk and is doing ALL IT CAN to control the risk while it evaluates continuation of the sporting event “is it too wet to race?” This risk can never be reduced to zero without changing the sport itself, and all participants routinely discuss how much of this risk is acceptable and how far mitigation should go (eg adding asphalt runoff which then changes the “character” of a corner); and 2) non-sporting risk, eg deadly contact with a recovery or utility vehicle. This risk can and should be as close to ZERO as humanly possible because research has shown that it is preventable through proper protocols of communication, coordination, and planning which are put into place before any event takes place. There is a learning curve with this, but to say that we are still at a point where we are willing to place other drivers at risk of life-altering and career-ending injury while removing vehicles is beyond absurd. The whole point of a recovery vehicle is to remove risk; it is not acceptable that it at the same time increases the risk to other drivers.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th October 2014, 17:14

          @slowhands, and the marshals! don’t forget the marshals.

          1. @coldfly you are correct, I should have said drivers and marshals, thanks

    4. It should be remembered that Ericsson went off on the parade lap, on fresh inters and behind the safety car. Hamilton himself was saying that the safety car had to go faster which was running at around 55mph. When the yellows waved for Bianchi, Hamilton stood on the brakes and slowed to walking pace (be prepared to stop as per the rules). We have no idea exactly what speeds Bianchi was doing but clearly the key factor is that he was on the wrong tyres: others were in changing to full wets at the time, so the driver and team must bear some accountability for the potential of an accident given the conditions. In motor racing, however, when teams choose to roll the dice and try to gain significant advantage, risks increase exponentially. The one sensible thing that has come out of this is for the design (or modification) of a ‘Motorsport friendly circuit tractor’

      1. Sutil went off in the same place on much fresher intermediates, so it wasn’t just the tires. But yes, the teams really have to keep drivers’ safety more in mind when they time the pitstops. Too often we hear radio messages going something like, “I’ve lost all grip, these tires are undrivable” and “We hear you, stay out 5 more laps…”

      2. It looked like most drivers (or their team) were worried about coming in for full wets when it was likely a safety car would be deployed for the rain anyway, so decided to risk it by staying out in inters.
        It seems crazy that it may be considered so wet that the safety car needs to be deployed, but you can still drive on inters.

  12. When was the last time that not a single driver fitted slicks for at least one lap? Japan 2007 I would guess?

    1. Korea 2010

  13. Too many people on here offering hindsight views. This and many other situations like this are controlled by waved and double waved Yellows. Cars go off behind the safety car on occasions be careful not to judge to early. Thoughts are with Jules.

  14. I feel so sad for Bianchi’s family. Whoever is involved in a crash like that we would say how nice and friendly they are (because every driver is), but genuinely Jules struck me as an incredibly nice guy, in all the interviews with him – especially after Monaco-, he seemed incredibly modest, friendly and a little shy even, it is so unfortunate that a crash occurred, and that it was him involved. I really hope this isn’t detrimental to his career in any way, he is lined up to be one for the future, likely to be alongside Seb in the F16. I really hope that there’s an inquiry into this, and precautions are made so this never occurs again.

  15. Is it possible that Bianchi did not see the yellow?
    Bianchi was at the back, and enveloped in spray. In addition, the light conditions were deteriorating with the setting sun and the cloud cover.

    1. Those lights they use at the side of the track are bright enough judging by the onboards

    2. May I add that as per footage of the crash site immediately after bianchi’s crash (footage does not show crash and you can barely even see that his car is there anyway) the marshal on a tower was waving a green flag. Technically right as it was (immediately) after the crash site, but if you are driving and see the flag there over the crest I suppose a driver would assume all is well and accelerate again

    3. I think they also have the lights in their panel

  16. I do not think that it was just a very unlucky incident that could not be expected. If there is a wet patch on the track, drivers are on (worn) intermediate tyres, the visibility is poor and they do not see a wet patch and do not expect to hit it, then it is not surprising that more than one driver spins at the same place. Remember the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix? Several drivers spun off the wet track at the same point during the race.

    I am angry at the race organisers for refusing to start the race earlier. Now we know that the race would still have been wet but they would at least have tried to do something and maybe the visibility would have been better, too. I also agree with Alex Yoong that FIA should review how to remove cars from accidents in the future. This is not their first failure to remove a standing car accordingly this year, the retrieval of Sutil’s car in the German Grand Prix was potentially even more dangerous.

    I am so frustrated that millions have been spent on safety improvements in F1 and “gripping” movies are being made about it, yet the people in charge cannot do simple things to avoid sad incidents like this. This was not a freak accident, this could have been avoided.

    Get well soon, Jules Bianchi.

    1. It’s remarkable how just before this unfortunate incident, fans bitched and moaned about how the cars lately weren’t fast enough, how the safety modifications to racecourses had rendered them less challenging, how F1 had grown so ‘tame’. Now this happens, and panic-stricken fans are crawling out the woodwork, screaming themselves hoarse as they decry the recklessness, the coarsened insensitivity to driver safety, and the greed- oh, the blinding greed!

      People, F1 is an extreme sport. Weekend after weekend, these modern-day gladiators go out there and push their machines to the limit against each other at velocities cresting over 200km/h, and it stands to their credit and the professionalism of the organizers that fatalities are as few and far between as they are. But as long as unpredictable factors like weather and the human element exist, accidents can and will happen in such a competitive environment of excesses. That will never change. Reholster your fickle accusing fingers and offer something level-headed and constructive for a change.

      Or switch to Nickleodeon next time an F1 race is on.

      1. I am not sure why you have chosen to post your opinion as a reply to my comment as I have never complained about slow and “too safe” F1.

        For sure, it makes sense that we are now asking a lot of questions and pointing out obvious dangers that have been ignored, hoping that everything would be alright.

        As for “offering something level-headed”, I recommend everyone to read this article: http://www.foxsportsasia.com/motorsport/formula-one/news/detail/item1041131/Bianchi-crash-raises-further-questions

        1. @girts thanks for the link, good article

          this sentence says it all about human nature: “…pointing out obvious dangers that have been ignored, hoping that everything would be alright.”

      2. @Manny Saying that someone should expect to be crippled or die because they hit a utility vehicle that is not supposed to be on the circuit during racing is beyond absurd. This is not Rollerball. If this is indeed your idea of what is acceptable as the inherent risk of the sport, then there is no need for safety cars, ever. Indeed, stop extracting crashed cars and leave them where they end up, if it’s in the middle of the track, even better. The driver needs to be able to get to safety without assistance to be considered F1 material. That would certainly make the sport more gladiatorial, and then we would finally separate the men from the boys.

  17. This is not the first time an external vehicle is hit by a F1 causing a fatal accident (De Villota). Actually is not the first time a crane is hit by a F1 during a race in heavy rain (Luzzi, Germany 07). Bianchi was really unlucky no doubt about that but a better management of external vehicles in the track is needed.

  18. Trenthamfolk (@)
    5th October 2014, 20:08

    I recall after Räikkönen’s crash at Silverstone (I think, correct i’f I’m wrong), Nicki Lauda was very critical of the stewards for bringing out the safety car while the barriers were repaired, as the odds of another car falling off the track at the same point were also non-existent (as he put it). I like Laud’s outspoken style, but I hope he’s taking a good look at this incident and eating his words. I sincerely hope Bianchi is on the road to recovery soon… :-(

    1. @trenthamfolk Apples and oranges – Raikkonen’s crash was essentially its own protracted accident without external factors, whereas rain is the big unpredictable factor – as others have said, even under a Safety Car, Bianchi could quite have easily had exactly the same accident.

      Also, the barrier repair at Silverstone seemed to be work done by contractors (with their own white van), not trained racing marshals. After all, there seemed to be 4-5 guys at the scene, 4 of whom were watching the 5th guy work – proper British work that!

    2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      6th October 2014, 13:47

      @trenthamfolk Raikkonen crashed at a spot you wouldn’t normally expect a car to hit, whereas Bianchi crashed on one of the most dangerous corners at Suzuka – that’s the difference. I disagreed with Lauda, but I can see where he’s coming from.

  19. With regards to double waved yellows what is considered “slowing down”? Using the timing app I have done some quick analysis of the sector times of the lap before the yellows (lap 42) and the lap after (lap 43). It is a little trickier as where the accident occurred is the cut off for sector 1 and 2. It appears that Hulk was one the first drivers through and I have used his Bottas, Massa and Perez’s times.

    Lap S1 S2 Total
    Hulk. 42 43.06 50.53 1.55.70
    43. 43.89 50.90 1.56.86

    Bot. 42 41.99 50.24 1.54.10
    43 43.39 50.49 1.55.91

    Mas 42 42.94 50.52 1.55.31
    43 42.87 50.86 1.55.61

    Per 42 43.00 50.44 1.54.93
    43. 43.54 51.30 1.56.58

    While this is very basic and conditions were changing quickly (although I would have thought it would make them slower on the next lap as getting worse) but I thought double waved yellows meaning extreme danger be prepared to stop in wet conditions and getting darker would result in slower sector times than the above. Massa who was very outspoken went quicker in s1 under double yellows than the lap before.

    1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      6th October 2014, 13:50

      @douglst good post. Massa’s S1 times are a bad joke, the system obviously isn’t working well.

    2. @douglst Good post. This is the problem with the local yellow, it warns but still allows the driver to make the decision. There is minimal difference between single and double in a racing driver’s mind unless the double is full-course. Throughout his career, a racing driver is mentally programmed to go as fast as conditions allow, to bend rules as far as they can be bent, to concede as little time as possible regardless of situation, and to never think of fear. If a situation is critical, you cannot leave sector speed up to a racing driver, even when his own safety is in jeopardy, because in his mind that is not the priority. The whole raison d’etre of the safety car is that in this kind of arena, safety must be enforced externally.

    3. “Massa who was very outspoken” – mainly moaning about there being too much water and it being unsafe but him still continuing on intermediates instead of pitting for wets…

  20. A video of the crash from a spectator is online, if you feel like watching it.

    He’s gone off at such a high speed that, probably, there would have been consequences anyway.

  21. A lot of very interesting comments posted.

    What I am not sure of is how Bianchi’s car ended up with the damage it sustained. If you see the pictures circulating the whole rear end of the car is off, the air intake/roll bar is gone. Everything above head height (when sat in the car) is gone. He didn’t go under the tractor, it’s too low and if so the front end although damaged would have been completely destroyed.

    It’s a terrible situation, I wish Jules well and hope his family and friends are strong enough to cope.

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