Adrian Sutil, Sauber, Suzuka, 2014

Sutil: Bianchi hit crane on lap after crash

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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Adrian Sutil said Jules Bianchi hit the crane which was sent to recover his car after he crashed at the Dunlop curve during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Bianchi was taken to hospital unconscious following the crash, according to the FIA.

Sutil said he aquaplaned off at the corner and went into the barrier. “It’s a tricky one,” he said, “as the rain got more and more the visibility got less and less”.

“And one lap later, with waved yellow flags, Jules came around and had the same spin there and that was it. It was more or less the same crash, Just the outcome was different.”

“The [crane] came out to rescue my car and then it all happened,” Sutil added.

The Sauber driver said race control should have considered recovering his car under the Safety Car because of the dangers of the corner.

“In respect of this corner, everyone knows that this corner is one of the most trickiest ones,” he said. “Especially when it’s getting late and the rain increases if you have an accident there you should probably think about a Safety Car.”

“But it’s a tricky condition today anyway and I think not easy to make a right decision absolutely on the right moment.”

The start of the race was delayed because of heavy rain at the track, which Sutil believes was the right decision.

“I thought at the beginning of the race we managed it quite well with the Safety Car, when it came in the visibility was OK, the track was OK to drive, but it just got a little bit dark in the end and maybe we should have stopped the race a bit earlier.”

However he added more thought should have been given to starting the race early after week-long warnings about heavy rain.

“I think they spoke about it,” he said. “We weren’t asked about out opinion so there’s nothing really I can say.”

“It was very clear that it got more wet the whole day though, it would have been quite easy to make the race a bit earlier. But as I said it’s not in my hands.”

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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55 comments on “Sutil: Bianchi hit crane on lap after crash”

  1. Didn’t he say ‘no comment’ in the BBC Forum?

    1. No comment to what he saw after the crash, he repeated that on German television. Guess he has seen something horrific…

      1. Guessing “something horrific” didn’t help-

    2. he didn’t want to say more in the first interview. A while later in an interview he was maybe up to giving a bit more detail.

  2. Such a horrific crash. Every single F1 fan, no matter who they support, is wishing u the best Jules!

  3. It really was unfortunate that he spun out at THAT particular area and had to crash into the crane. #KeepFightingJules

  4. Oh dear, 2nd time in 2 years mobile cranes have caused a horrible incident

  5. Looking at the car on several pictures this does not look good. Entire rear is destroyed. The chances his head got hit are very big.

  6. Poor Jules. This race should have been run yesterday.

  7. Really terrible news, I hope he is ok but I’m not very hopeful having seen some photos flying round on twitter, The leading edge of the roll hoop is badly smashed suggesting he has gone under the counterweight head first.

    1. No, from those pictures its the rear that went under the counterweight most likely. But it was a big crash and he could have hit part of that truck sideways with the cockpit too.

      Good luck Jules.

      1. There is a photograph of the car being craned onto the truck and you can clearly see a large part of the leading edge of the roll hoop.

        1. is missing, sorry forgot those words.

          Really hope he is ok though and regardless of the outcome I am unsure what effect this will have on procedure for future accidents, do we safety car any crash on the outside of a corner in the rain?

  8. This is really worrying right now, i see the pic and it looks very awful.

    1. The picture shows the wreack of the car, the rear end looks like it got under the JCB and cockpit might have hit the concrete part of the barrier sideways, possibly in the cockpit aerea. Not a nice pic to look at.

    2. Removed.. sorry, prob breaching someone’s copyright.

  9. Its weird how FIA made regulations so it can safer than last couple of years, but we had seen many worse crash this season (Raikkonen in Silverstone, Massa in Germany, Gutierrez in Bahrain) and Bianchi

  10. On our coverage we didn’t see Bianchi’s car involved at all and was thinking a marshal had been hit. It wasn’t until the cars had stopped in pit lane they said Jules had an incident- here’s hoping he isn’t too badly hurt and make a full recovery!!!

    1. Yeah I was thinking the same, a marshal might have been hit if there was a car flying in there but I guess we would have heard about it by now.

    2. The only thing that was visible on the world feed was Bianchi’s name (while showing Sutil’s car) when the SC was out.

  11. Its always easy to say what should have happened after the fact.

    Yes conditions were not great, But they had been a little worse earlier on & while Sutil had gone off there its not as if cars were flying off everywhere. And remember that Sutil’s car was right next to an opening in the barrier which is why the tractor got there as quickly as it did so race control were likely expecting a very quick removal.

    What I do think needs to be looked at it 2 things.
    Firstly as has been done in Indycar since Mario Andretti drove under a safety vehicle I think they should look at putting skirts on all recovery vehicles to prevent cars going under them.
    And secondly they should look at adopting those ‘Slow Zones’ which WEC have introduced this year. This basically sets a speed limit (Usually the pit speed so drivers can run on the pit limiter) through a particular part of the circuit to allow marshal’s to clean up incidents safer.

    1. Good points.

    2. I remember watching the 24h race at Le Mans and thinking that slow zones would be really really good in F1 as well, completely on-board with that one. They could just use the marshall sectors (ex. slow zone between sector 13-15), therefore nobody would lose time, since it’s the same time loss for everyone.

    3. Yes. Nice alternative to safety cars, fake closed-up races and unlapping delays too. Just needs strong enforcement – if you pass the big flashing light and you’re not on the limiter, you’re nabbed and you’ll be using that limiter again in a minute, through the pits.

      At Le Mans there were concerns about closing speeds etc, but if 150+ drivers of varying abilities there can be trained to use the system, then so can the 22 best drivers in the world (cough) in the Pinnacle of Motorsport (cough, splutter, choke).

    4. Skirts around recovery vehicles is a very good idea. I’m actually surprised this hasn’t been done or looked at before (Brundle has talked about this eventuality for the last 15 years in fact), and now this.

      Well, hopefully they will think about it now.

    5. @stefmeister I posted the following thoughts in reply to another thread, but they are relevant here as well. They come out of my experience in analyzing safety in both sport and industry. There is a very simple way to minimize “after-the-fact” second-guessing, and that is situation-triggered safety protocols that remove ALL human decision-making. Le Mans “slow zones” are an example of such an invariant protocol.

      In ANY high-risk industry (medicine, aviation, racing), careful research shows that the only safety rules that are effective are what you refer to as “blanket” rules (otherwise known as mandatory emergency procedures, checklists, etc). This is because they remove all human judgment (which is remarkably error-prone regardless of expertise and experience of participants) once certain situational factors arise, and instead replace “judgment” with specific, invariant sequences of actions that have been thoroughly vetted as best practices in that situation. We will never get to zero fatalities in any high-risk endeavour, but the only way to get as close to zero as possible is with strict policies that are triggered by situation and not decision. The absolutely most dangerous situation for a racing driver in an open-cockpit car is a utility vehicle of any kind where he can contact it. They have elevated protuberances, are rigidly built, and absorb no crash energy, so all energy is transferred to the race car and driver. And it doesn’t matter how unlikely it may be, history has shown us that years or even decades may pass, but the unlikely eventually happens. The instant a utility or medical vehicle is on the circuit, dry or wet, the safety car MUST be out, no question, full stop. All other protocols (yellow flags) require human judgment and are thus prone to error. Without “blanket” rules, one’s safety protocol is indefensible on safety grounds, and you have not maximized your safety protocol.

    6. It’s always amazed me that the recovery vehicles’ ride height is exactly the height you’d make it if you wanted to maximise danger to the drivers, and no under-ride protection is fitted to them. The last serious injury in an F1 car, Maria de Villota’s, was an under-ride situation. Under-ride protection is mandatory for road-going trucks in many (most?) countries, so it should be good enough for F1.

      Another thing that amazes me is the assumption that seems to be built into procedure that if a driver has gone off the track it’s entirely due to a vehicle condition or an error on his part, not a track condition, and therefore the fact that one driver has gone off does not indicate any heightened risk that other drivers will follow. This isn’t the first time that one driver’s gone off and the recovery vehicle has started romping around the run-off area only to have another driver arrive a lap later.

  12. There’s a picture circulating on Twitter showing the rear end of the car underneath the crane. I won’t post the link but it can be found easily enough.

  13. From an interview with AmuS (German) – http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/adrian-sutil-zum-bianchi-crash-ich-habe-es-kommen-sehen-8637633.html – its clear that Sutil thinks the race should have been stopped earlier.
    At the same time he also comments that procedures at the accident spot had been going on perfectly fine and the medical car arrived as fast as it should have.

  14. After looking at the pictures, it seems more than understood that the Marussia made a very heavy contact with the troctor, continued rolling underneath, and settled below the tractor.

    This would have exposed Jules’ s head directly to the tractor’s underbody.

    And then they talk about track safety, Safety car, FIA, FOM, Management……

    It is high time that the safety in F1 should be given a big upgrade.

    Jules, race your way back to us.

  15. Mika Salo said (for Finnish TV) that the footage the stewards have seen shows Bianchi’s car going underneath the tractor head first and not sideways.

    1. That is what I feared when I saw the damage to the leading edge of the roll hoop mentioned above it was clear that had taken a big impact.

      From what I have seen I think he has gone under the counterweight nose first and the crushed rear seen in most of the pictures is from going all the way under not from going in side first.

      Really hope I’m wrong.

  16. There should be some new rule stating that vehicles other than F1 cars can never be on track without a safety car being deployed.

    1. in which case there would be a lot more safety cars which would turn races into a complete lottery as you often see in america where a safety car comes out in indycar/nascar every time a car spins/stops on track.

      as someone says above all they need to do is adopt the slow zones used at le mans to get everyone on the pit lane speed limiter through an area where the safety crews need to be infront of the barriers to recover cars or clean up oils/debris.

      1. Or they could use more cranes instead of tractors.
        But I’m still convinced big heavy equipment should not be on track when cars fly by…
        Using slow zones could be an answer… How does that work? Will Charlie push a button and everyone’s car goes into the limiter? If that is possible… We wouldn’t even need a safetycar..

  17. I fell very gutted and very worried for jules get well soon

  18. B.t.w. I think it’s really weird that the race was allowed to be run when the medical helicopter couldn’t take off due to the weather…. I remember a WTTC race nog being able to start because Putin was flying over and disallowing any air traffic at that moment…

    1. Ted Kravitz on Sky was saying that the medical helicopter was at the track & could fly (It took off just before Jules was loaded into the road ambulance) but that the medical people decided not to use it.

      I’ve also seen it reported that they went for the road ambulance because it would have taken no longer to arrive at the hospital as the helicopter would have & additionally the road ambulance gave the medical team the ability to further stabilize his condition as it has some equipment the helicopter does not.

  19. This has really annoyed me because not once does it mention that Sutil was worried about Bianchi’s wellbeing and condition. All it says about Sutil is that he only cared about how Bianchi crashed. He even mention that it was the same spin as his but the outcome was different so he knows that Bianchi was hurt. But did say that he hopes Jules is ok? NOPE!

    That makes me feel sick. That should be the first thing on your mind after any crash, big or small. @keithcollantine unless you didn’t mention that he did say he hopes Jules is ok, I have no respect for Sutil and he’s dead to me

    1. Come on get over it. He obviously not happy or anything. And he won’t go around repeating the same thing in all interviews. To judge people based on this is foolish and immature.

    2. Saw the interview, don’t really remember if he sent any good wishes or anything but he seemed really shocked and affected while answering the questions. I take that as a sign of compassion from him, so that counts in my book.

    3. You can’t judge Sutil on what you sawon TV. What you’ve seen is a limited version of reality given to you by cameraman & directors. Just Chill for now.

    4. He knows Jules’ condition better than the other drivers, no point saying he hopes he’s ok if he knows he isn’t.

    5. Oh, come on @mattypf1, you can’t be serious. First of all, Sutil did mention that he wished the best for Jules. But more importantly, the guy was clearly still shocked by what he had just seen/been next to.

      To blame him for anything is really completely uncalled for here.

      1. @bascb

        –the guy was clearly still shocked by what he had just seen/been next to.–

        The sombre faces after the race showed that news had spread about the seriousness of the accident. AS had the misfortune to see it first hand, so I don’t blame him for being shocked into numbness.

        In the interview I watched on the BBC, AS refused to provide details of what he saw. He simply replied “no comment” or something like that. I’m glad he didn’t provide any details. I know the crash was serious and that’s all I want to know.

        Amateur footage might find its way online. I won’t be watching it: those details should only be made available for the accident investigators to analyse, not public entertainment.

        1. Yeah, I have seen too many pictures from close up, including one showing Bianchi still sitting in the car, the marshalls taking care of him that was retweeted by an angry Taki Inoue saying “how is it possible this can still happen”.

          I really think these pictures are bad, especially when shown without warning and nowadays twitter auto shows them too.

    6. Yeah come on, I saw BBC interview with him and he was obviously shocked, I am surprised he went to the pen.

    7. The guy looked like a zombie during the interview I saw on Sky. Shouldn’t have even been sent to the interview area.

    8. Oh my god seriously!? He’d just seen what had happened and of course he cares about Jules! He was asked what happened as he was one of the very few who saw it.
      Personally I find “I hope Jules is alright” etc a pointless comment. Of course everyone hopes he’s alright!

  20. Sutil has been crashing out a lot lately.

  21. It is crazy to think that Silverstone was red-flagged on a dry day to repair the barrier in a place where it would have been very unlikely that someone else would hit that, while here there is an obstacle in a place where it could be hit easily, in very poor conditions.

    I don’t think there are any easy solutions. Maybe the cranes should have crash barriers on the sides like lorries are mandated to have in Europe so that cars cannot go under the lorry?

  22. The tractor shold not move in to that part of the run-off area,
    until the race is red-flagged.

  23. Monaco is by far the tightest circuit and they seem to recover a car very fast (and therefore safer for all) so maybe their procedures could be look at for other circuits.

    Also I think we need to be easy on Adrian Sutil as the guy was quite clearly in a lot of shock and I actually think a real bad call from Sauber to have him doing any PR after the race at all.

  24. I think the issue of employing yellow flags, safety cars or slow zones in those conditions just increases the chances of more incidents occurring in the same location from reduced downforce or colder tyre temperatures resulting in a loss of grip.

    Just an idea but what about having a vehicle or preferably 2 that have mobile barriers attached to them. They park 10 mtrs away from crash site between it and the track then interlock their barriers to create a stronger structure. This would allow the crane to be shielded, the marshalls to work in a safer environment and in the off chance of another incident the car/driver has something a lot safer to crash into.

    As the platform is mobile it could travel in parallel to the crane as it leaves the track allowing a faster and safer pace to be maintained by the drivers.

    I know it sounds over the top but if it saves just one individual from injury and keeps the focus on the racing in this great sport then the investment would be worth it.

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