Bianchi has “severe head injury” after crash – FIA

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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Jules Bianchi suffered a severe head injury in his crash during the Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA has confirmed.

The Marussia driver was taken to Mie General Hopital where he a computerised tomography (CT) scan revealed the extent of his injuries. He is currently undergoing surgery, after which he will be moved to intensive care.

The hospital will issue further updates on Bianchi’s conditions.

Bianchi was in 17th place when he went off the track on his 42nd lap. He crashed at the Dunlop curve where marshals were already at the scene of a similar crash involving Adrian Sutil, who had crashed while following Bianchi on the previous lap.

Sutil later said Bianchi’s car had struck a recovery vehicle the marshals were using to move his Sauber.

FIA statement on Jules Bianchi’s crash

On lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of turn seven. The marshals displayed double waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was despatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guardrail. While this was being done the driver of car 17, Jules Bianchi, lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.

Once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were despatched and the Safety Car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and an ambulance.

The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital.

The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.

Mie General Hospital will issue an update as soon as further information becomes available.

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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Image © Marussia

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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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147 comments on “Bianchi has “severe head injury” after crash – FIA”

  1. Poor Jules, very unlucky. I wish him a speedy recovery.

    1. I’m happy you stress the word “luck”. According to Sutil, Bianchi did also aquaplane of the road. I get a pinch of finger pointing from the FIA as they deal with the unjust comments some people have been addressing to them. I feel that this is not the time to blame people.

      1. There is very little “luck” operating in the physical world. The vast majority of poor outcomes in any sphere are due to incorrect decision-making of some sort. Aquaplaning is a result of misjudging conditions and therefore exceeding the speed allowed by tires and conditions. But I place complete responsibility at the feet of the stewards, as Bianchi should have NEVER been exposed to the risk of contacting a vehicle from which his car provided him NO protection. Thus the results of the crash were not “luck.” Racing cars are not built to protect the driver from contact with a tractor. Utility vehicles are elevated, rigid, and do not absorb crash energy, they inflict it on the driver, particularly the exposed head. A utility vehicle inside the barriers without the field controlled by a safety car is unacceptable breach of safety protocol, no matter how “safe” the spot is thought to be. This is why in any high risk endeavour, strict safety protocols are automatic, triggered by situation (in this case a utility vehicle within the circuit where it could be hit by a race car), and invariant thus not dependent on decision making by error- and misjudgment-prone humans.

      2. Very Unlucky to hit the crane, however Yellow flags mean slow down and be prepared to stop. If you crash in a spot with double waved yellow flags, you are going too fast. I expect FIA will introduce safety car any time another vehicle needs to get on the track from now on.

        1. Not unlucky. It should have been expected given the conditions and the fact that similar accidents have happened in other racing at all levels. A formula car cannot adequately protect the driver in an impact with a utility vehicle for lots of reasons. That is well known. In the race series I have been involved with, extraction vehicles were never allowed on track until the field is controlled by full course double yellows and a safety car or red flag. Local yellows are insufficient in any race series when a non-racing vehicle is inside the barriers where it may be struck. This is not new knowledge. FIA way behind the curve on this one.

        2. Low visibility may have prevented him from seeing the yellow lights and flags in time.

          1. They should have yellow lights on their dash when entering a yellow flag sector.

        3. I expect FIA will introduce safety car any time another vehicle needs to get on the track from now on.

          This is a good thing.

        4. Rewatch the video and you’ll see the flag man was waving a green flag at the exact location of the Sutil crash so…and it was waving when Bianchi hit that area.

    2. CW step down please ! . . I saw Sutil go of , saw the tractor come on and instandly started to scream –SAFETY CAR – SAFETY CAR !!!!! . Fool to not have put the safety car first before deploying the tractor when at a wet race . . So CW step down ! . And mr Lauda once stopped and threw away his chances of becoming champion now is so brave to express what ?? . .

  2. Oh no! Hope he gets better. Awful.

    1. He was reportedly breathing on his own but unconscious when he left the compound, which is certainly encouraging if you have seen the photos of the car and read the details of the crash. Most likely he will have had the operation to relieve pressure on his cranium. The prognosis is still wide open, but these kinds of injuries are rarely without some long term consequence (Massa was exceedingly lucky, just look at Schumacher’s or Maria DeVilotta’s accident). All we can do is wait for more news and hope it starts to be the good kind. At least he is young and fit, which should count for something. My utmost hopes are for a complete recovery and perhaps we will be lucky enough to see him back as soon as next season. #forzaJules

      1. I have also read thar his helmet was intact, which is another good sign.

        1. Is it? Aren’t these helmets designed to break on impact?

  3. Best wishes for Jules, family and friends….

  4. Still with us, and in good hands. Hope his recovery’s as quick as his driving.

  5. I have been refreshing the page for more news ever since the accident happened. Terrible news. I hope he’s going to be okay.

  6. Does this mean he’s out of life danger?

    1. No, it means he has a severe head injury and is being operated on, it is not good news.

      1. it sounds like his head hit a tractor engine at over 100mph. I despair for him

    2. I know… I was aiming on all the comments speaking about recovery already so just wondering..

      Hopefully he will survive this horrible situation.

  7. oh god… poor Jules… come on buddy, you can do it ! Keep it up !

    1. I know, it’s so awful, one of the nicest guys out there, wish there was more we could do to help.

      1. Oh and #ForzaJules

      2. I love my F1. But this takes everything aware from that.
        I hope so badly that he is ok.

  8. Decided not to stay up to watch this race and this is what I wake up to? I really hope he can make a full recovery.

    Jules is one of my favourite drivers and right now I can’t even care that Hamilton won a Suzuka GP at last though I should be ecstatic.

    1. bennett franklin
      5th October 2014, 16:31

      My work has taken me to the states.So i didnot want to stay up to 4 am either.
      Poor,poor jules. I cant hope hard enough for him to recover.

  9. jonny speedriff
    5th October 2014, 13:01

    Thoughts and prayers to Jules, his loved ones and the Marussia team. Terrible thing to happen. Getwell soon, keep fighting

  10. these young drivers are very strong, I hope his system recovers the same way Massa did. I wouldn’t be surprised if coma induced to help recovery. hopefully it is not another Schumacher situation.

  11. Keep fighting Jules! Lovely guy, feisty driver, I hope he recovers…

    1. @jmc200

      F1 Fanatics 2014 Monaco GP Driver Of The Weekend!


  12. It has been a long time since there has been an accident in F1 that is of this order of seriousness. The lack of any news in the immediate aftermath was also a bit strange, hinting that this was not just another crash.
    What is also quite odd is that he went off in the same place last year and a near identical (possibly the same) crane-truck lifted his car out that time around.
    I have never warmed to Adrian Sutil however I feel some feelings for him today, he must have some survivor’s guilt to deal with. Regardless of procedures and safety standards, had he not gone off then the crane would not have been there.
    This has been a reminder that no matter how well every eventuality is prepared for there will be scenarios when F1 is revealed to be inherently dangerous. The show goes on though, ultimately, as per any job, nobody is indispensable, even the driver in F1. Yet, was it all worth it, driving round a figure of eight in the rain on a Sunday? For Jules, no, not today.
    A while ago after Kimi’s crash Lauda was wondering whether it was worth delaying the race for the barrier to be fixed. His thinking was that nobody else would go off *there*. Maybe we need more safety first, perhaps yellow flags should mean pit lane speeds.
    As well as wishing that Jules can recover from this incident I hope that F1 can review safety to make sure this does not happen again.

    1. Well, Massa’s crash in 2009 was pretty serious though. But perhaps not as serious as this

    2. It hasnt even been two years since Maria de Villota had a similar acident.

      1. The conditions of a private test are very different to those of a race proper or even race weekend.

  13. Reports state that Jules was taken to hospital in an ambulance “because the helicopter could not fly in the conditions”. Should the race even have started without the essential medivac helicopter cover. If cover was available at the start, but later withdrawn because of the weather, surely the race should have been ‘red flagged’ and stopped at that point. Do I hear the phrase, $$”The show must go on”$$?

    1. I have read that they decided to transport him by ground because of his condition, and that the helicopter could have been and would have been used had it been best.

      1. Alexander (@)
        5th October 2014, 14:07

        Well the helicopter was in the air, thats what the finnish commentators said, “they saw it with their own eyes”

        1. There were even photos of the helicopter taking off online.

        2. Sky was reporting that it did take off, but Jules wasn’t on it.

          1. @lateralus I’m pretty sure that Sky said the heli couldn’t even arrive at the circuit due to the weather…

            However, I thought it was mandatory to have a medivac heli at EVERY GP?

          2. As Gary Hartstein commented earlier today, it’s mandatory to be able to reach the hospital in a certain time scale (I believe 20 mins). So the inability for the helicopter per se is not a reason t stop the race, if a hospital is close enough by road.

            There have been mutterings about the pressure changes while flying and their effect on head injuries being a factor in the decision to move him by road. Pressure changes can be kept pretty minimal, and are unlikely to have more of an effect then getting him to the hospital quickly.

    2. This rumour has already been debunked. The helicopter was able to fly, the medical team decided it was better to use ground transport. This kind of decision is often taken where severe head injuries are involved (altitude and pressure can make the injuries worse).

  14. Should cockpits be closed after this horendous crash?

    I think there will be a big push for it. Lets face, a closed cockpit would have saved Senna’s life 20 years ago, and who know what will happen to Jules.

    I really am hoping for the best.

    1. I’m afraid the picture I’ve just seen, which I don’t feel comfortable linking to, seems to show that the entire upper part of the car was destroyed or came off: engine cover, air box, roll hoop, everything. I don’t think a closed cockpit would’ve helped here.

      The only positive I can offer is that, in the picture, the helmet appears in tact. It isn’t much, but I’ll take any smidgen of positive-looking information in these sorts of circumstances.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      5th October 2014, 14:37

      @brunes – I don’t think it’s a case of closed cockpits, it’s more a case of not driving a JCB onto the track in an area where someone has just aquaplaned off the track! My missus even said “isn’t that dodgy if someone has just gone off there” when she saw the tractor parked up there.

      1. That’s true. How many times have we seen cars aquaplaning off at the same point of the track and ending up in virtually the same place? Combined with the speed of the corner, that situation had to be better managed.

        1. The drivers weren’t taking the corner at speed, there were double waved yellows. I assume that the aquaplaning by Bianchi was despite running at reduced speed not because of high speed.

          1. I suspect so, I think there’s something to learn about having recovery vehicles on the track.

            Honestly, I don’t know what there wasn’t a safety car, given that Sutil went off on the outside of a corner. It’s something they have reliably done in the past. And given that it was wet, it should have been more pressing.

            HAAAAVING said that. I do not think you can blame Charlie, there are a huge amount of competing concerns he and the FIA have to deal with. I think it was the wrong decision, but not only is it easy to say in hindsight, it might not have helped anyway.

          2. @jerseyF1 – Agreed. The SkyF1 feed even spent some time discussing this during the safety car period at the start of the race. Martin was saying that at such relatively low speeds, the aero was not working to push the cars onto the tarmac, thus it was easier to aquaplane (or hydroplane in the States).

            Assuming this description is accurate, cars at the back of the field were likely in a lose-lose situation. They have less downforce anyway, and can more easily go off at speed (Sutil), which is even further reduced by slowing down and having old tyres (Bianchi).


        2. Just like WEC at COTA this year. The cars just sat there in the trap/runoff area…

    3. @brunes Should motor racing be banned after the crash? :)

    4. Knee jerk time. It was terrible what happened to Bianchi but please let’s not start jumping around insisting on closed cockpits. The cause of this tragedy was the crane out on track in dangerous conditions. Why not focus on that?

      1. Partly because closed cockpits would help make a range of incidents safer, and I can’t really think of any downsides. And leaving the car where was would have been an absurd response – what would you have done?

  15. Very sad news…. :-(
    He is young and has a lot of potential.
    God bless him

  16. hope he pulls through.are there any vid of it how fast was the crash?

    1. I expect the FIA to release some footage of the crash in the next few days.

      1. Matthew Coyne
        5th October 2014, 13:53

        You expect this?

        I highly doubt it will ever be officially released whether he survives or not.

        It may well get “leaked” at some point though.

        1. Which is a bad thing. It’s not appropriate.

          I think really we have to realize how disrespectful that is.

      2. Its FOM policy to not show replays of serious accidents during a live broadcast until a drivers condition has come back as non-life threatening.

        If during the live broadcast its not certain that the driver will survive no replays will be shown. If Jules pull’s through its possible that some footage of some sort will end up on the end of year review, However if he succumbs to his injuries or if his life is permanently altered by the injuries then its likely they will never put the official footage out.

        There is also no chance of a leak from FOM as there the only one’s to have access to footage not played out live & its not something that can be accessed without authorization.

        1. @gt-racer That is of course understandable. I wonder if anyone at the circuit has recorded it – I’m thinking of the Webber-Vettel coming together at Fuji, which only became apparent after a fan video leaked (was that due to the conditions or just TV cameras initially missing the shot?).

          1. Fuji 2007 was been covered by a local broadcaster (FujiTV) & they simply missed it with there trackside cameras. In part because they had less than half the number of trackside cameras than FOM would take for races we covered (We tried to have at least 2 cameras covering every corner).

            We had in-car shots from both Vettel & Webber but at the time additional in-car video feeds were not available to the local broadcasters.

        2. Even if he makes a full recovery, I don’t want them to release the footage. F1 isn’t about crashes, unlike other forms of motorsports, I don’t want to see it, and neither should any one else because of how serious the crash is.

          1. @williamstuart – The sentiment behind your comment is surely coming from the right place. But it doesn’t make sense, to me, for the FIA to never release the footage.

            Things have to be learned from this incident and I, for one, do not trust the FIA to learn the right things or implement the proper actions/procedures in response while simultaneously holding secret evidence. Furthermore, this should be public information. How would it serve the world any good if Senna’s accident was just a big black hole of information?

            In my opinion, just like with all the other issues facing F1 right now, transparency is needed.

  17. Matthew Coyne
    5th October 2014, 13:48

    Picture now doing the rounds on twitter with Bianchi still in the car showing entire roll hoop gone – It is clear that he has gone nose first into the counterweight and the entire car has gone completely under it and come out the other side – Critically his helmet appears to be completely intact.

    1. I was under impression he hit the tractor sideways, but the missing front wheels suggest you’re closer to thw truth

      hope he recovers without compications

      1. yeah has an article with a picture in it that shows jules with helmet on and the rool hoop completely gone

  18. Formula-I (@)
    5th October 2014, 14:01

    I believe you can make ot Jules

  19. What a dreadful business. His poor family must be absolutely frantic with worry. I desperately hope he makes it.

  20. First of all, I hope Jules can make a full and rapid recovery and continue to live his dream. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

    This type of think has been an accident waiting to happen for too long, something should have been done when the marshall was killed in Canada last season, if not before.

    These devices have no place on or a near a race track, they need cranes like they used to use, which extract the car from above and behind the barrier. Bear in mind that even if this takes a little long, these cars are designed to have impacts with each other, much more than they are designed to crash into plant machinery.

    I hope these procedures are modified with immediate effect.

    1. There are cranes around the circuit in places where there’s room for them & they are used when necessary but there isn’t the room to have a crane everywhere.

      And the place this accident took place is one such area. You have 130R on the other side of that barrier, A grass bank (Where many fans sit) on the other side of the circuit & then there’s the cross-over bridge & another grass bank on the left.

      “these cars are designed to have impacts with each other”

      Not the sort of impact they would have if you just left a car at the side of the road for x laps. Going off & hitting another car is a far harder/more severe impact than hitting a tyre wall. Additionally if a car goes off & hits a stationary car at the wrong angle it could be launched over it, Into the catch-fencing or over a barrier.

      Look what happened in 1990 when Alesi spun into a stationary car, He came close to going over the barrier & into a spectator area-

      1. Car design in 1990 has nothing to do with this incident, it’s completely irrelevant.

        My point is, if cars are flying off the circuit in tricky conditions sending plant machinery on to recover it from where another car can do the same is not safe. It is safer to leave the car until the race is neutralised. If one car can do something, there is no reason another car can’t do the same.

        Choice of hitting another car with an impact structure vs hitting a giant, heavy, solid head high device – I know which I would choose.

        Also they can fit a crane on that service road no problem.

        1. @djdaveyp87 It is safer to leave the car until the race is neutralised, and in this case that’s exactly what happened. Double waved yellows not only neutralised racing in that part of the circuit but also sent the message to drivers that there is a marshal or machinery at the corner so to excercise extreme caution.

          I’m not sure what else you expect them to do – bring out a safety car whenever a car stops on or near the circuit regardless of how easily and quickly it can be removed – some races might just as well be run entirely behind the safety car (and even then a car can easily go off when catching up to the back of the safety car or behind the safety car so there’s no guarantee it would have made any difference in this case). This looks like a very unfortunate accident and certainly hasn’t been something which is a common problem in F1.

          And as a last point I’m pretty sure that at no point in the design and testing process are cars designed to crash into each other. Though this does raise one possible issue for improvement which is considering the design of the recovery vehicles (or perhaps adding features to reduce the effect of a car crashing into it, although this would only work if it didn’t reduce the recovery vehicle’s ability to carry out its work).

          1. Agree completely – that scenario is exactly what double yellows is for. The FIA took every reasonable precaution to remove the car safely and minimise the risk to the marshals and drivers. If drivers suitably slow down for the double yellows (and I’m absolutely not suggesting that Jules wasn’t) then the risk of an additional accident in exactly the same place is massively reduced. And for it to happen on the very next lap? 30s more and the tractor would likely have been out of the way. (I’ve heard reports the Sutils car was lifted at the time of impact, and fell off the crane afterwards)

            This is a terrible tragedy, and we should absolutely be looking for ways to prevent it happening again, but some of the finger pointing that’s going in is wholly inappropriate.

  21. Good luck to Bianchi.

    Is there anyway of developing some kind of rapidly self-mounting barrier that can be deployed in these situations? Just a few meters of absorbent material that provides a layer of protection to trackside crews and cars when someone crashes? Anything would be better than nothing surely.

  22. I am sure we have all been amazed at the improvement in the safety aspects of f1 over the years and how drivers walk away from what sometimes seem to be horrendous situations. However, incidents like this serve to remind us all of the risks the drivers take to provide entertainment to so many people around the world. Get well Jules – everyone is rooting for you

  23. Couple comments.

    Firstly the decision not to bring out the SC was understandable. There was a gap in the barrier right next to Sutil’s car so a very quick recovery would of been expected. Additionally with double waved yellows in that section no further problems would of been expected either.

    Secondly the decision with the safety car in the early laps would not have been just for track conditions, It would have been for the visibility. Drivers towards the front like Lewis Hamilton may have been fine with starting the race but drivers towards the back would be blind in the spray & race control listen to the views of all the teams/drivers & not just the few at the front.

    Thirdly the conditions throughout the race were not actually that bad, It was wet but there have been wetter races in recent years (As Hamilton said post race). Also moving the race to an earlier time likely woudl not have made any difference as even at 11am it was raining & the track was wetter at that time than it turned out to be during the race.
    It actually stopped raining during the period the race took place, It had been raining before it & was raining afterwards so they got the race in during what turned out to be the driest part of the day.

    And as Anthony Davidson, Johnny Herbert & Martin Brundle discussed on Sky’s coverage the accidents were simply down to normal wet conditions, They were not caused because the rain was torrential because It wasn’t raining that hard at the time. It was just normal wet conditions, Starting earlier would not have made the accidents any less likely given how it was just as wet (If not wetter) earlier in the day.

  24. Some good news which I hope is accurate…

    L’Equipe report that Jules Bianchi’s operation is complete and that he is breathing independently.

    1. Hope that is true, would be very very good news!

    2. I hope you are right man. Jules is one of the future champs in my eyes and now all that doesn’t matter as I pray for his life and not his career. If he goes through this situation without consequences than I`m sure that he will be a champ one day. Mika did that and I hope that Jules can do it as well. God bless him.

    3. I don’t consider L’Equipe a very reliable source, for example:

  25. warning, don’t look if you are sensitive to crash photos.

    1. I found a photo tweet linked on the l’equipe web site, but to be honest
      don’t want to post the link as Bianchi was still in the car and I would feel like a heel…

      I’m terrified by what on earth happened to the crash structure, as it looks
      ripped off pretty much level with the top of his helmet. Some review of whether crash tests were passed with adequate margin, and whether the structures either side of the helmet are sufficient is required in my view.

      1. Why would there need to be adequate margin over crash tests? You either pass or fail, the FIA is hardly going to say “you passed the crash test but we’re not going to let you race anyway because you didn’t pass by enough” .

        1. You are quite right.

          I could have phrased that better. I’m amazed that the roll hoop
          and air intake were ripped off, and question whether the tests
          have enough margin. The structures on either side of the helmet
          should be changed to make a frontal impact on the helmet from a flat structure impossible – they were much larger in 2006 as I recall.

          Also, with benefit of hindsight, a long tow cable and dragging/winching cars in Sutil’s situation would be safer. and not have required the tractor to cross the line of barriers.

  26. Of course my thoughts are with Jules and his family.

    There has been a lot of speculation concerning the safety car not being deployed or the usage of a tractor instead of a crane outside of the barriers. We must not forget that when Jules crashed there were a handful of marshals all around that tractor; all of whom could have easily been injured or killed.

    For me, if this entire situation were in the dry a safety car would rarely be needed because double yellow flags would slow down the cars to speeds that any Formula 1 driver on X number of laps old tires could safely maneuver and control the car near the accident. However, double yellows were clearly not enough to slow down the field, especially when a portion of the field was on older tires. Even without the tractor, Jules could easily have hit and killed multiple marshals in that situation. Bottom line- the combination of ANY personnel or equipment outside of the barriers, on an increasingly wet track should be treated with extreme caution and likely a safety car.

    That is just my opinion. While F1 is dangerous, this was entirely avoidable. We need not create more danger in a sport that is inherently dangerous.

    1. Problem is a safety car doesn’t take effect immediately and you then completely distrupt the race and have to wait for backmarkers to pass through and the pitlane gets filled with drivers making pitstops etc.

      Perhaps a speed limiter should be introduced for yellow flag incidents instead. Flashing light on the wheel and a beep in the helmet along with the flags, drivers flick on the limiter.

      1. I meant to write double yellow flags.

      2. I agree. There could certainly be a logical way to help manage incidents like this, such as the one you described.

      3. Maybe they need to consider Le Mans type slow down in double yellows zone, mandatory use of pit lane speed limiter.

        1. Yep. You can’t mess around in double yellow zones with people and heavy machinery on track. The speed you need to slow down to is always open to interpretation and drivers are always trying to push the limit. A limiter would stop all that.
          I only think the limiter should be used for double yellows and not just single yellow flags.

  27. Awful news, awful.

    His father said Jules had an hematoma, I really hope it is not too serious and that he will swiftly recover!

  28. There are a few pictures that show the aftermath of Bianchis accident, and it seems an awful lot like his car went under the tractor, the top half of the car has been completely sheared off. Horrible to think his head in the middle of all that.

    Hopefully he’ll makes a speedy and full recovery.

  29. I really wish Jules the best luck in the world. However, after 20yrs of watching f1, i really hope there are no knee jerk reactions to this. I have never seen someone go off so badly at a double waved yellows situation. I would fully accept armco on tow vehicles or le man style safety zones. Just please keep f1 racing with a minimum of safety cars in bad weather. Conditions have been much worse over the years

  30. One thing no-one has picked up on. In the many photos from this incident, taken by spectators or gleaned from official sources i noticed that throughout the rescue, from the initial medics to the departure of the ambulance, ant shots that include the tractor unit show the driver, in orange coveralls still sat at his post. That poor man must be in so much shock after feeling the impact and seeing the result of the accident. I’ll bet he doesn’t sleep for weeks from the grief.

    1. Yeah, feel very bad for the guy. mistakes happen.

  31. BBC are reporting he’s out of surgery and breathing on his own.

  32. I’ve given myself a few hours of breathing space to think about it all.

    I am incredibly saddened by this, and it was a sad, sad way to end a pretty good Grand Prix. I have to give Keith credit for postponing/cancelling the rate the race out of respect. I wish for nothing more than for Jules Bianchi – a driver who has driven pretty well this year in my books, to be absolutely 100% okay as quickly as possible.

    Motorsport is never safe. It never has been. It never will be. I have not felt as scared as I did earlier since the 2013 Grand Prix of Houston, where Dario Franchitti had a very nasty accident which ended his career. I was also absolutely devastated when Dan Wheldon lost his life at Las Vegas – the first time a series that I was following suffered a fatal accident.

    I think a lot of people were incredibly quick to blame the FIA and/or the promoters for this accident. I do not think that is the right way to go about it. It is not uncommon for the FIA to wave double yellow flags when a recovery vehicle is on track, it happened at Germany for example. Even behind the safety car, it is still possible to aquaplane off the circuit, as Marcus Ericsson did. I do not believe that moving the event forward would have guaranteed that something like this would not have happened either. When that colossal deluge happened at roughly fifteen minutes before the start time, say the race started one hour earlier, we would have had the same problem as we had in the race with the rain coming down heavier.

    I think from this, Formula One and its fans must learn that even when the tools are used to make the situation safe, it is still not safe at all. I have seen some suggestions that Formula One either uses ‘Code 60’ or a more frequent use of a safety car as IndyCar does, but I’d like to see more ideas proposed. I’d prefer it if those who come up with the ideas are not the ones who thought that Vuvuzelas, double points and standing safety car restarts are a good idea however.

    Get well soon Jules Bianchi, my thoughts are with you, your friends, family and Marussia F1 Team colleagues at this time.

    1. Very well said @craig-o

      First and foremost my prayers go out to Jules Bianchi, his family and loved ones.

      Having some knowledge of these kinds of injuries with relatives and friends I can only say each case is different and it appears he is receiving excellent care. Hope and prayers also for the doctors and professionals watching over him.

      I agree with your assessment of those quick to blame the FIA, track officials, et al. Even if a safety car was employed immediately after Sutil’s accident it would likely not have arrived in time to prevent Bianchi’s accident 1 lap later. The timing of the race and such issues likely would have made no difference.

      The thing that is most haunting to me is Brundle’s recalling of his similar accident in the same spot in nearly the same way with a tractor in 1994. As has been pointed out, there cannot be a crane everywhere in every race. Sometimes they do not fit as seems to be the case here. Maybe not letting tractors in the runoff area without further precautions, safety car, full course yellow, something, I don’t know what the answer is for sure. Whatever can be done to add more safety is not always completely conclusive. Hopefully something can be done to keep F1 cars and tractors away from each other.

      My F1 experience goes all the way back to watching Jim Clark on TV as a kid and becoming a F1 fan at that time. I still miss Jim Clark. Safety has come a long way since then and improvements can still be made. Racing and life itself can be dangerous, but we can still do things to mitigate what factors we are able to. Three weeks ago today one of my best friends was in a motorcycle accident that cost him his life. Obviously, in life we can’t always tell what may happen next. We can only take as much care as possible and live life the best we can. Jules is a fit and strong young man, i hope and pray he will recover and live well.

      God bless Jules Bianchi.

  33. So sick about this. Seeing the Marussia guys’ faces, and then realizing that FOM had embargoed images of what happened, I could hardly sleep after. From the long shots, the fact that the marussia was only barely evident was chilling. It’s so rare to see a chassis really shattered in a wreck structurally these days, you know what it means. I hope he recovers and lives well afterward.

  34. should FIA look to increase downforce or grip somehow due to safety in wet conditions?..i personally dont like the decreased grip levels so i’d like that change

    1. @aqibqadeer I was thinking this. They need to make the full wet compound easier to turn on and increase its grip. I’m sure there is still performance in hand for Pirelli to add to their compound as Bridgestone had a ridiculously good wet tyre circa 2004. Every wet race recently shows drivers itching to get on to intermediates because of its greater performance advantage even in awful conditions not too dissimilar to the start of today’s race.

      1. @giggsy11 i think its not very simple for pirelli to do that they have always wanted more testing maybe increasing the dimensions of the tyres might help and a relaxation in aero rules to increase some downforce through a cheaper solution

  35. Another interesdting point, If the race had started a t13:00 as is historically correct before the TV rights owners started messing with things and calling the tune, would this accident have happened? Before TV world coverage, and money spinning empires, all races started at 13:00 local. However the commercial rights deals mean that peak viewing requires awkward starting times from non European races.. So where should we be pointing fingers if any.. ?

  36. I think incidents such as today, Massa 2009 and Spa 2012 tells us that a cockpit canopy is needed to ensure the safety of drivers in such events.

    I will take driver safety over tradition any day.

    1. A canopy would not have helped in this case.

      1. A canopy would likely have helped a great deal in this case. While obviously we don’t have them in F1 yet, assuming that they would be similar to the canopies used it military jets, the canopy would at the very least absorbed a huge amount of energy from the impact. It may even have been enough to sufficiently deflect objects away from Jules head.

        1. I just feel that it is it bit premature to claim that a canopy could have prevented this accident when we have not even seen a video of the incident. Everything up to this point is speculation.

      2. @irejag A canopy would have taken some or all of the force of the head-level impact. It can only have helped.

        We don’t know the speed of the collision but we haven’t heard about any skull fractures so far. Extrapolating from that suggests that (say) a 16mm polycarbonate canopy could quite possibly have prevented the injury.

        Not that it’s a full solution IMO. They have to give the tractors underrun protection or keep them the hell away from racing cars.

        1. edit I agree with @fluxsource (had my tab open for ages)

    2. Great idea. Maybe we could then change the name of the type of car something to else. LMP1 sounds catchy.

    3. open cockpit formula nuff said they know the risks,
      skirts all the way dowm on recover vechicals to avoid going under

    4. No it doesn’t. It just reminds you how out of place heavy machinery is on track around a formula 1 car.
      If driver’s can’t lower their speeds in double yellow zones themselves. Force them to use a speed limiter in double yellow zones.

      A canopy wouldn’t make a difference in a situation like this, it would have only made driver extrication more difficult and possibly caused more injury. What about all the times cars have caught fire this year?

  37. Any news on how the surgery went?

  38. @irejag
    BBC states he’s out of surgery & breathing on his own, which sounds promising but doesn’t say how successful it was

    1. Unfortunately that BBC report is now showing that there are conflicting reports in the media so the is no certainty if he is or isn’t breathing on his own.

      1. Sky has a reporter at the hospital and they say he is not breathing on his own. It is more likely that a patient having undergone brain surgery be intubated, but is not by itself an indicator of how serious the injuries may or may not be. To be honest, the reports of him breathing on his own after undergoing brain surgery seemed a bit optimistic.

        Really, all reports, short of official reports by the hospital or his doctors or family should be taken with a grain of salt. His parents are said to be on their way to Japan, but are having some difficulty getting there due to the typhoon.

        Continued prayers and hope for Jules Bianchi.

    2. @3dom – If indeed the report is correct that he is breathing on his own and not intubated, that could be taken as one positive sign in an area where many more are needed before drawing any conclusions.

      Continued hope and prayers for Jules Bianchi.

  39. @3dom
    Thanks. I am glad to read he is breathing on his own. The headlines on Canadian news stations are saying that he is still in critical condition but they didn’t say anything about the surgery.

  40. Some good news: just read on the BBC F1 site that Bianchi’s out of surgery and breathing normally (unassisted). No word on if he’s still comatose, but I imagine that’s been induced artificially to aid mending of the wounds.

    1. Oops! I see @Irejag‘s already dished the uplifting update:) I’m just glad there’s a bigger chance now of him coming out the woods. Man, what a day it’s been. What a race!

  41. A sad, sad, day today. Bianchi, promising driver, fighting for his live in an hospital bed. And De Cesaris, a name in the F1 of the 90’s, dying in a stupid motorbike accident. Honestly, I don’t understand days like today.

  42. #ForzaJules If you can put a Marussia in the points, you can do this.

  43. Sad day to motorsport, Jules Bianchi accident and De Cesaris death

  44. Brundle’s been talking about this day for 20 years. And now it’s happened.

    1. Well now the FIA is going to change that. No more tractors good job Brundle.


  45. Matthew Coyne
    5th October 2014, 22:45

    After some thought and analysis of the photographs that have been leaked and following various sources throughout the day I believe the event to have gone like this:

    – He has entered the corner and has been registered leaving the track at 207km/h – the first question has to be is 207km/h a safe speed to be doing in a double yellow zone when you are to “slow down and be prepared to stop”

    – The rear of the car has certainly gone under the counterweight on the JCB drivers left rear first.

    – I don’t think the cockpit itself went under the JCB based on the damage to the front of the car and the fact that the point where the damage on the rear of the car ends is lower than the cockpit and the nose of the car, this could however be caused by the sheer energy in the crash ripping off bodywork below the line of impact.

    – If the entire car had gone under the weight you would expect there to be heavy damage to the top of the nose aswell and there does not appear to be.

    – Additionally if you look at the height of the JCB in comparison to the height of the car if the whole car had gone under then he would certainly have been killed instantly as it is way way lower than head height.

    – The section that is removed by drivers when getting out of the cockpit is also undamaged and there is a small section visible of the base of the roll hoop still attached directly behind bianchis’ head.

    – His helmet from the right hand side at least looks to be completely in tact but based on the above the left hand side could have taken some sort of impact.

    – As the visor appears to be still attached to the helmet on both sides it is a reasonable assumption to make that the impact to his head was not significant if any has occurred.

    – If the rear of the car has gone under first then the several tonne JCB will have caused the car to almost instantly decelerate, the wall has not taken a significant impact.

    Based on all that my personal belief is that his head injury is a result of the forces involved in the impact rather than any sort of significant blow to the head – I saw one report of 51g being recorded but would have expected it to be more based on Kubica at Canada recording 75g, admittedly that was a much quicker crash (Estimated 186mph at point of impact)

    This is just my ramblings, the most important thing above all this is that I hope he is ok – I have spent literally my entire day following this story non stop. It is important to note that the analysis I have made above is purely my opinion, I am not trained to do so and I carried it out purely out of trying to find some positives if such a thing exists from the accident to focus on.

    Fingers crossed for Jules that he can pull through, the latest UNCONFIRMED report circulating on twitter is that he is suffering further cranial bleeding and has gone in for a second operation – I have no seen this reported by any credible source to date which makes me think it is just a rumour, the original report of his first operation was quickly reported by several credible sources.

    1. I think you are wrong with your comment. The fact that jules bianchi got out of the surgery abd doesn’t need any machine in order to breath and that he is breathing on his own is really good news and this most likely will mean that he won’t have any long term injury and that he will be able to recover fully and be a normal and healthy human being again. The surgery was done as a way to allow the brain space to expand and let the brain more appropiate conditions to recover. Bianchi has a hematoma due to the hit he suffered on his head. The hit was so strong that cause a hematoma and hemmoragia in the place where ge received the hit. This is most likely the same surgery that michael shumacher had and the hit was most likely similar to the one schumy suffered. Unfortunately i just read somewhere that his condition made a turn to the worst and that he needed to be intubated again and that he may need a surgery once again. I hooe this is not true because if it is ,those are really bad news. Those bad news come from a reliable source who was really accurate and reliable in everything he claimed about michael schumacher and all the events he went thru with his accident.

      1. Matthew Coyne
        5th October 2014, 23:41

        I don’t think you can compare an off piste ski accident to a 207km/h formula 1 crash.

        1. What Toto says is quite possible, the injury could be very similar to Michael’s. A fall at walking speed on to a hard surface could also cause the same damage to an unprotected head.

    2. Sorry I posted to the wrong thread. Mathew Coyne thank you for your analysis, have you seen the video?

  46. any news? or fan vids? his helmet seems intact and some say the roll hoop was removed by extraction team?

    hope he is ok godspeed Jules x

  47. Predictably elements of the mainstream media are seizing on Massa’s comments about screaming on the radio to make the whole thing sound like some sort of cruel man made horror rather than just an accident.

  48. I’m wondering if the car has arrived sideways facing the opposite way from the loader, hit half-way along and then rotated round the back of the loader. Maybe while the loader was reversing. Hope his neck’s okay. I can’t help hoping it might go like Karl Wendlinger’s brain injury, though the loader is a lot harder than the Monaco barrier.

  49. The waiting for news is awful although I can only imagine what it is like for his family, friends and team. Poor Jules, thoughts with you and hoping for a good outcome. Also with the track crew who witnessed this awful crash. Appreciate updates as they come, Keith.

  50. FIA, it’s time for Canopies.

    1. @prof-kirk Canopies protect against flying debris — not this.

  51. Terrible news to hear
    Our thoughts are with Jules Bianchi & Family/Friends/Fans.
    I have been a fan of F1 since 1997 – Schumacher & Irvine Day’s.
    It is easy to make comments about what has happened after the accident occurred.
    In an almost “Over-Safety” “Paranoid” F1 Environment that we know today, why do they allow “Construction” equipment on the circuit in the direct firing line for any F1 cars that may loose control.
    This is a huge safety risk, look at what has happened!
    The F1 safety board must realize that they need mobile cranes that can lift cars over the barrier & not enter onto the circuit runoff areas.
    I can’t even comprehend how the F1 safety board can allow cars to be driving at normal race speed when there is construction equipment out there!!! I know it is easy to say, but I have often thought of this happening before, because I have seen so many cars being lifted of in so many races, and it is usually in a place where cars run of because the driver has been caught napping, so therefore it is possible to happen again.

    This may not have happened if the race started like a race should start, instead of S/C. The drivers want to, and know how to drive in the wet, and they will drive according to the conditions, they are not idiots!. The teams all had maximum wet setups, they knew there was a typhoon possibility.
    I am not as big a F1 fan as I used to be, it is becoming quite lame.
    F1 used to be like watching Moto GP on 4 Wheels.
    Raw racing, not Rehearsed racing is what it should be.
    We Hope You Get Well Jules Bianchi

  52. FIA, it’s time for the driver to be outside the cars and control them remotely. To safe costs make the cars virtual !

    F1 is a dangerous sport, everyone whom enters it knows it. Speculating over what and how it happened without any data is useless. Let FIA do there job, the one thing they are actually good at is safety.

    For now best wishes Bianchi, hope it is not as severe as it looks.

  53. He crashed head on and everything higher than the cockpit was ripped off, so I imagine that a canopy would have killed him in this case.

  54. I feel sorry for him, as he could well be out for the season and possibly not even race again. Who is going to replace him this weekend for the Sochi Grand Prix.

  55. As seen on the video, car’s nose lifted up tractor’s rear. This allows me to hope that his head suffered a tangentional hit. And another thing: tractor’s rear end has a bevel on it, without it Jules could be decapitated. I assume he got head injury due to a serious g-force, or maybe some part of his car hit him, most likely a front wheel. Anyways let’s pray for him.

  56. Darren Stevens
    9th October 2014, 18:20

    FIA COVER UP? In my opinion The FIA are trying to ban online video of the japan crash. In the video you can clearly see waved green flags ( all clear ) being waved. Not double waved yellows.!!

    1. Formula One Group, not the FIA, are the commercial rights holders of Formula One and it is in their name that the video has been pulled from some video sharing sites (but not many other sites who have reproduced it) for copyright reasons.

      The green flag use was correct, as already explained here:

      2014 Japanese Grand Prix fans’ video gallery

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