Todt asks Whiting to investigate Bianchi crash

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In the round-up: FIA president Jean Todt requests a report into the circumstances of Jules Bianchi’s crash in the Japanese Grand Prix from race director Charlie Whiting.


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FIA launch Bianchi crash investigation (The Telegraph)

“Charlie Whiting, the race director, was asked directly by Jean Todt, the FIA president, to compile a report into the exact circumstances of the collision during the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.”

Jules Bianchi ‘critical but stable’ as the FIA asks for report on Japanese GP (The Guardian)

“The FIA, the sport’s governing body, issued a statement of its own, saying Bianchi was ‘critical but stable’ at Mie general medical centre in Yokkaichi. The driver’s family are expected to see him on Tuesday after being delayed due to typhoon Phanfone.”

‘It is very, very serious’: F1 driver Jules Bianchi in critical condition after severe head injury (The Age)

“FIA press officer Matteo Bonciani, who is close to Bianchi, said: ‘It should be understood that it is very, very serious.'”

Open article Raikkonen: ‘Is it safe ever?’ (Crash)

“Obviously it had started to rain a bit more on intermediates but it was still OK. It didn’t look so bad, obviously some places got a little bit more wet but it depends on how old your tyres are what your car is doing.”

Smedley: Closed cockpits easy to do (Autosport)

“From a technical point of view it’s something very easy to implement. It’s something that we’ve looked at in lots of the technical working group meetings and we’ve been back and forwards.”

Max Mosley Q&A (Sky)

“I think what happened in Suzuka was very unfortunate, a freak accident, and I can’t really fault any of the people involved – the marshals, or the race director, or any of those people. Everything was done as it should have been.”

How French driver Jules Bianchi’s freak crash could easily have been avoided (Sydney Morning Herald)

“Why was the recovery crane deployed in a vulnerable location while the cars were still going past in atrocious conditions?”

Stories… (Joeblogsf1)

“There has been some noise in the mainstream media about whether or not the race should have been stopped but the voices quoted are few and far between I think race control did an excellent job in very difficult circumstances.”

Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid – Suzuka aero upgrades (part one) (F1)

“For Japan the Mercedes’ sidepods were totally revised.”

Andrea de Cesaris: ‘A truly lovely person’ (ESPN)

Former Jordan commercial manager Ian Phillips: “The guy was quick; there was never any doubt about that. He may have had a poor reputation but he rarely put our car in the wall.”


Comment of the day

Would ‘slow zones’ of the type used at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year be a better way of protecting drivers and marshals when vehicles are needed to recover stranded cars?

I think that any time there are marshals and/or equipment dealing with a disabled car, as has been suggested by others regarding a rule change in the World Endurance Championship, there should be an automatic zone where one must use the pit lane limiter until one is past the situation in question. This might even eliminate the need for a safety car in many situations. If a medical vehicle(s) is needed, perhaps they should red flag the race and line up in the pit lane as they did yesterday.

The problem yesterday was that the rules allowed for Bianchi to still be carrying enough speed to aquaplane in spite of double yellow flags being out. If he was going at the speed of the pit lane limit, even if he somehow still lost control of the car, the spin would have been at very low speed and any contact with anything very very likely harmless. His car would likely not even have reached the tractor let alone hit it with such force.

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On this day in F1

The new Nurburgring held its first grand prix 30 years ago today and set up a final-race title decider. Alain Prost won for McLaren ahead of Michele Alboreto and Nelson Piquet, both of which limped home low on fuel (see video).

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172 comments on “Todt asks Whiting to investigate Bianchi crash”

  1. Mark Hitchcock
    7th October 2014, 0:14

    Would a closed cockpit really have helped in this situation? Given the force of the impact with the tractor I imagine a closed cockpit would have been destroyed like the roll-hoop was.

    1. the roll-hoop is not designed for this kind of crash, so I expect close cockpit would have helped, at least deflect some impact.

      1. However in these circumstances a fully closed cockpit may have hampered removal of the driver, or if it broke away like the roll hoop may have added to the injuries.

        1. Enclosed cockpits, they would need to be air-conditioned if the Singapore experience is taken into consideration.

          1. It is possible to develop passive cooling systems – Audi have been using such a system on the R18 – although they are limited in terms of operating range.

            As to the closed cockpit issue, it’s rather debatable whether it would have actually helped given Bianchi’s injuries are now thought to be a consequence of the violent deceleration that he experienced.
            A certain parallel can be drawn with Simonsen’s fatal accident at Le Mans only a year ago, where the internal injuries that caused his death were not caused by blunt trauma from striking an object, but rather from the violent deceleration caused by the defective design of the safety barriers.

            In that situation, having an open or a closed cockpit probably would not have changed the nature of his injuries unless the cockpit cover could have somehow helped slow down the rate at which he decelerated.

    2. There will never be 100% safety, but every bit helps. I’m sure that they can make super-strong canopies, and the aerodynamic shape alone could be enough to deflect the object or the car.

    3. Closed cockpits would help but they run a risk of maybe jamming and leaving a heavily bleeding driver inside. Of course they will add safety precautions like an easy release but it’s still a possibility.

      I think they should add thrusters under the car and a large inflatable cushion. When a car goes out of control, the driver has to hit the big red switch which will activate the thrusters, throwing the car into the air and then the large inflatable cushion pops out. This cushion has to be so large that even if it lands in the grand stands, everyone will survive (Maybe with a few bruisers from their faces smashing against the chairs)

      1. Putting the ridiculous end to your comment to one side, perhaps airbags made from sort sort of kevlar based fabric may be a better solution than closed cockpits for the reasons given in the comments above.

        Not sure how it would help the marshalls, but I’m guessing nothing really would on the car, more so better deployment of the SC when risk of aquaplaning becomes a possibility.

        I still can’t believe they had marshalls on the track at Germany with no SC. Maybe Todt can get a report on that one too.

        1. Airbags? Closed Cockpits? I think its not logical to be looking for a solution on how to survive a impact with a marshal or tractor in this rare case.
          What should be done is “preventing” such a incident from ever occurring again, either by deploying safety cars whenever a track vehicle needs to enter the theater or enforcing limits on speed as they do in the pit lane. nothing more is needed.

          1. In fact I think the airbag idea is not that bad – consider a double lever pull or something in the cockpit that the driver can go for if they realise they are a passenger or about to have a big hit – think Perez in Monaco, 2011.

            Hands off the wheel, pull the Kevlar bag lever. Protection could sprout up at the front and sides of the cockpit.

      2. @marc512 are you 8 years old or something? in all seriousness, something like a Tech Pro barrier around the crane may have helped but the impact in question would still have potentially caused injury.

        if anything the question of marshall safety is more concerning – that car could have easily gone the other side of the JCB and at that speed it would been curtains for the marshall. i’ve been thinking about this a lot and it boils down to 2 things:

        1. bianchi was driving too fast through a double-waved yellow zone. he knew he was on worn tyres and that the rain was increasing. in poor visibility, slower is clearly better.

        2. the conditions had deteriorated to the point that drivers could not see the warning flags/lights. hence, marshalls (and recovery vehicles) should never have been on the outside of a corner. the race should have been neutralised.

        a third but less related point is that the race started too late for a GP to be held (as was mentioned on the Motorsportmagazine review). 3pm start plus 4 hours (the maximum length of a GP) takes us way past sunset. that should be called into question at some point too.

    4. Having seen the accident, I doubt closed cockpit would have helped. The impact was so big that the recovery truck jumped. I hope he pulls through.

      1. @manu Bianchi’s helmet must have glanced off the loader, so I think a canopy adding some further deflection to the path of the car could well have made a crucial difference.

        1. Maybe it would have. I only said that because the roll hoop was wiped out so I’m not sure if a canopy would have also survived given the velocity of impact (enough to move the truck) Maybe they can get trucks with longer arms so it can pull the car without coming into the track.

          1. we all think we are engineers here, myself I think a canopy made of something similar to the visor itself on the helmet will definitely help. I have read the visors are designed to withstand a hit from a shot gun from a few meters away. they can engineer a material of enough hardness, it is the 21st century.

    5. Closed cockpits are NOT the answer – frankly, this is knee jerk at its worse. I cannot believe race engineers or even team principals are even discussing this!

      The answer is simple – under no circumstance should a green flag come BACK OUT while a recovery vehicle is on the course. They jumped the gun because they assumed the crane would get out of the way in a matter of seconds, instead, as soon as the thing was moving, they decided to go green ..and guess who was about to come around the corner seeing green flags?

      Or perhaps they should just have a mandatory safety car when its raining. Either way I see the green flag as an error of judgement.

      They were waving double yellows. They then started waving the green. The recovery vehicle had barely started moving at that point.

      There needs to be some sort of solidification regarding when to go back to green – simply because the station was technically ahead of the accident is a weak reasoning and clearly flawed. And look how quickly they went to the SC sign afterwards!

      A lot of small factors came into play here – and they shouldn’t have.

      “When the recovery vehicle is outside the barriers and potentially in danger of being hit by another car, do we switch back to green just because it’s moving, or do we wait until it’s completely inside?”

      If they have to ask, something is fundamentally wrong.

      1. the tractor should not of been on the track, full stop…
        corners like this should have cranes operating from behind the barriers if F1 wants to keep cars racing while accident cars are being removed,
        F1 i feel have been pushing the boundaries for sometime with another incident where marshals pushed a car off the track while cars where still going around,
        its time they had another look at themselves and decided what is best for the drivers not the spectators or the Media….

      2. maybe not the answer as a knee jerk reaction, but a strong answer for safety in general. I would like to see it first in indycars to be honest on the super speedways.

      3. They didn’t go back to green at all.

        The green flag indicates the end of the danger zone, the drivers are not to return to racing speed until they are past it. Before then they should be well aware of danger through the double yellow signals

    6. Closed cockpits have not been in discussion because of the risk of a car hitting a tractor. So let’s not beat down a strawn man in trying the reject this good idea. If that were the only serious risk F1 drivers faced of head injury from impacts then F1 would have arrived 25 yeras in the future of safety. Closed cockpits would aid in a wide variety of common risk scenarios, say, a piece of debris or car part striking a driver’s face mask, or in dissipating the energy of an errant tire. We have whistled past the graveyard a number of time in recent years, to name only a few instances: Webber going over Kovalainen, Luizzi almost decapatating Schumacher in Abu Dhabi, The Grosjean pile up at Spa that put Alonso very near to serious head-contact. Add to this any number of instances of tires bouncing down pit lane or the track. It’s amazing how peole can cook up fanciful hypothetical scenarios about how the canopy could get “stuck” or whatever, when the risks it would address are obvious and documented. It reminds me of how people didn’t want airbags, and before that, seatbelts, because of all the supposed scenarios where the safety system may malfunction or some freak scenario where it would be better not to have it. It’s just as foolish in this case.

      1. @dmw, there may be many accidents where a canopy would help but in this particular accident I think the canopy would have been ripped off the chassis and may well have taken the drivers head with it, sorry to be blunt.

  2. I think the amount of questions in the CotD forum link show the slow zone isn’t a simple thing they can just throw in at the next race. Whatever changes they make should be for next year so they have enough time to consider them, while obviously being more cautious for the remaining races this season.

    1. Slow zones seem particularly dangerous, and they would especially have been in this circumstance. The difference between pit limiter and racing speed is just dangerously high, and then moreso when you consider the possibility of drivers locking up in the wet through Dunlop to comply with the double yellows – thereby losing control of the vehicle immediately

  3. chandler (@captaingiblets)
    7th October 2014, 0:28

    I don’t think closed cockpits should ever be in F1. Jules had a freak incident and a closed cockpit wouldn’t have done much, mainly just shatter. And it would take away F1s history, its always been open cockpit. I think we just shouldn’t have a crane out on the track while cars are going 200+ KPH, or maybe just have cranes that stick over the tire walls. #ForzaJules

    1. This is it, no tractor, equipment or marshals etc should be on the side of a live corner. People keep saying this would help that would help but if that tractor was not there Jules would have been dusting himself off at the side of the track watching the last few laps of the race.They needed to when sutil crashed a)left the car there b) had a way of removing the car with no equipment that side of the barrier.

      1. It wasn’t a ‘live’ corner. There were double waved yellows, which means that drivers are expected to slow down or be prepared to stop. I don’t want to make any judgements, but it’s hard to see how a driver obeying that instruction could have had the accident that Bianchi did. From the video, his car hit the tractor at some fair speed, and while I do take the point that there was a green flag at the following marshal post, they’re not expected to speed up until AFTER they pass that flag, not before. I’m not speculating on why Bianchi was going that fast – maybe he didn’t see the flag, maybe there was a problem with the car, maybe he was trying to minimise the time he’s lost and historically drivers are allowed to simply lift slightly when passing double yellows. Who knows. I’m sure it’ll all come out in an investigation. But it should be entirely possible for a situation with marshals and cranes on track to be managed under flags alone, as long as the drivers respect that.

        1. I meant live as in cars going through it, the problem is drivers dont want to lose time to competitors so there is to much pressure to go through these double waved zones as fast as they can get away with. If they can have equipment like that on the track then why not one of these diggers with a tyre walled barrier built on the side to protect marshalls etc that can shield any incedent?

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          7th October 2014, 12:23

          @mazdachris – the problem is that a car had just aquaplaned off the track. “Slow” for an F1 car still isn’t really “slow” and the more you slow down, the less downforce you carry and as such, the more chance there if of you aquaplaning straight off anyway!

          For that corner to be safe, they would have had to go through it at safety car pace and without a safety car on track, doing so would be completly unprecedented.

          I heard an interview on Sky Sports from Max Mosely who mentioned that double yellows mean “slow right down and be prepared to stop.” Would you say any drivers actually do that?

          Honestly, at the time I thought a safety car wasn’t needed but in hindsight, clearly it was. Having seen the video, it’s unbelievable that others weren’t hurt.

          What is the solution though? Static cranes? You’d still need guys on the circuit to attach it. Delta times for double yellows? Would be very hard to manage and would leave a lot of grey areas if the accident happened just in front of you… More safety cars? Would you want F1 to turn into Indycar though???

          1. matthew Coyne
            7th October 2014, 12:41

            Completely agree that it is partially down to the FIA for not clamping down on the speeds people go through double yellow zones.

            I would suggest that the main cause of the incident was the fact he didn’t slow down – If he had slowed down to be prepared to stop (207km/h at the point he left the circuit is not slown down and being prepared to stop) then even if he had aquaplaned off he may not have even got as far as the tractor and if he had the speed of impact would have been far far less.

            A simple solution is to enforce the use of the pit lane speed limiter in a double yellow zone – other motorsport formula already do this and it is very successful, the feature is already built into the cars so requires no significant costs to implement and it ensures everyone slows down to the same speed.

          2. @petebaldwin I don’t think safety cars are necessary in order to keep the corner safe. As I say, the expectation is for drivers to slow down and be prepared to stop, and clearly that is not followed in the sense that usually drivers simply demonstrate that they have slowed a little and that is taken as satisfactory. Yet obviously it isn’t. A car should be driven WELL within the limits in order to ensure that the driver isn’t going to make a mistake. Drivers should be capable of doing this by themselves, and yet clearly they don’t. They’re racers and it’s understandable that they would always take the risk to maximise performance.

            The solution is simply to ensure that drivers slow down sufficiently. I suspect in the immediate aftermath of this accident, that’s not going to be difficult to accomplish, but it’ll only be a matter of time before things speed up again. So you either hand out massive punishments like disqualifications for going too fast (presumably mandated by deltas) or you make it physically impossible for a driver to drive too fast by using limiters.

            The latter is the solution recently employed in WEC and works well. Actually, it was introduced for Le Mans so they didn’t have to put the entire course under caution for a single incident. An accident triggers a ‘slow zone’ where drivers must put on a speed limiter and coast through. That feels like the simplest solution, and pretty foolproof. There are questions about having to hit limiters mid-corner etc, but I think a little logical rethink of marshal posts and how sectors are zoned would easily remedy this. For the moment the pitlane speed limiter would suffice, but in future you could have a more complex additional torque limiter which would prevent drivers from putting their foot down and spinning the wheels (with the pit limiter on you can still spin the wheels when accelerating up to the speed limit).

          3. petebaldwin (@)
            7th October 2014, 14:13

            @mazdachris – I think it’s the only way to do it to have slow zones. You can’t put the reliance on drivers to slow down to a “safe speed” because their job is to push the limits!

            I’d put in temporary measures for the remainder of the season followed by an automatic system for next year. Once your dash receives information that you are entering a slow zone, the limiter automatically cuts in.

            It’s also important to not make a knee-jerk reaction to this. We don’t need slow zones every time a car goes off. It should be pre-determined which corners would require slow zones or perhaps, all corners in the wet.

        3. they all went fast through that zone, they always do. if you are going to blame Jules for that, blame the whole field of drivers.

          1. Actually, I do blame all of the drivers and you can add the stewards to that too.
            With the increase in car safety they have become very cavalier in their attitude to double waved yellows and nobody has been penalised for a long time.

          2. petebaldwin (@)
            8th October 2014, 16:54

            @ztubert @kpcart

            I actually lay no blame at the feet of the drivers. Their job is to maximise everything they can to go as fast as possible. If the FIA deem it acceptable to simply lift off when double yellows are show, that is what the drivers are going to do.

            If one driver slowed right down every time there was double yellows and the rest didn’t, no-one would congratulate him for being safe. They (fans, press and the driver’s team) would criticise him for being slow.

            I blame the FIA for not doing something about it until now (when they inevitably will) following a serious accident.

    2. @captaingiblets polycarbonate doesn’t shatter, whatever you do to it.

  4. Random thoughts,
    1; Drivers should be capable of judging a safe pace under double-yellows, if they can’t or wont then a system like the one mentioned in the COTD will have to be adopted.
    2; A portable section of tyre wall would massively reduce those damaging Gforces and their deployment should be considered.
    3; The full wet tyres must be better, currently they seem pointless, and the intermediate should not degrade so rapidly on a fully wet track.

    1. I think that the problem with full wets is that there’s a small margin between the point when they become necessary and the point when the bottom of car will do aquaplanning regardless of the tyres. Maybe a solution could be to make full wets a little larger so as to rise the cars a bit, but I don’t know how feasible that is.

      1. The minds involved in F1 are fully capable of solving the problem you so rightly identify, and they should do so immediately, if not sooner.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        7th October 2014, 2:51

        I think the titanium skids for next year will require the car to ride higher than it does this year.

        I do agree that the wets should be bigger. These days, a wet race is on intermediate tires and not raining. The wets are only used to clear the track under safety car.

      3. The full wet tyres are currently bigger to help increase the ride height. If memory serves they are about 10mm bigger (happy to be corrected on the size though).

        1. You are spot on. Inters raise the car by 5mm and full wets raise it by 10mm.

    2. Hm, would slow zones work well though @hohum? After all, F1 cars are really light and get their downforce from the air moving over it. With very low speeds, the cars (especially the backmarkers) are going to have even less downforce, as it really only starts to work with a speed of maybe 90-100 kmh.

      1. @bascb, I don’t think there is a simple solution which is why it is currently up to the driver to decide, but surely even with the narrow operating band of the Pirelli tyres there must be a safe speed, if there weren’t pit crews would be going down like tenpins. I of course would prefer more mechanical grip and less aero-dependence but don’t want to use this tragedy as a weapon in that fight.

        1. I certainly think the FIA, teams etc should have a look at how to solve this, some kind of slow zones could well be the right solution, but we don’t need “immediate action” on this. It needs to be carefully looked into, we need engineers and process experts etc to have a good think about how best to improve this aspect, keeping in mind physical changes (i.e. barriers, temporary barriers, different equipment used, etc), speed changes, procedural changes, whatever (surely a lot of people inside the sport have good ideas) and then come with an overhaul of how to improve @hohum.

          1. @bascb, totally agree, no quick band-aids on the FIA derriere.

    3. Some form of portable barrier is the best suggestion I’ve heard yet to be honest. This would also help protect the marshalls whilst they are dealing with a stricken car.

      There is lots of interesting research on deployable structures that could be applicable to such a problem.

      1. Any kind of barrier has to be anchored to the ground or it’s not going to do much. The alternative is that the portable barrier is large and heavy. How then are the marshals going to move it around? With a tractor? :-) Also you would need to have one at every corner where there was likely to be a crash which becomes impractical. I suppose it could be inflatable, but again you have to somehow quickly attach it to the ground.

        I think it would be easier to put the temporary barrier around the tractor. A little bit of cushioning, but mostly to deflect the car. The problem with this though is that you have made the tractor wider and it can’t so easily nip through gaps onto the circuit. If you’re deflecting a car that hits it to the side then I suppose you have basically massively increased the chance that a group of the nearby marshals will be wiped out. ….So hm difficult.

        I suppose what you really want is for there to be no part of the vehicle which the F1 car can go under. You could put the attached barrier / inflatable pieces just at strategic points so that in a crash the F1 car strikes it with it’s nose or with the rear crash structure. I think that’s about the best thing you could do.

    4. While my heart goes out to Jules and his family, your first comment, drivers should judge what the safe pace is, is both the beginning and end to the argument. Under double waved yellows the driver must be prepared to stop and so it is up to the driver to determine what a safe pace is and for the race stewards to judge whether it is. Adding a limiter to restrict the pace during double waved yellows further diminishes the necessary skill to drive these cars.

      Only last week we were concerned with making the cars more difficult to drive and limiting the coaching over the radio’s

      1. @sars In theory you are right, but in practice I suspect if it were studied we would find that drivers are not actually restricting pace significantly under either single or double waved yellows (and anyone who knows anything about psychology could probably tell you that in that situation their judgement is never going to be sufficient to create a safe situation, regardless of (or indeed because of their own view of) how good they are at driving). The drivers do not want to lose any more time than any competitor in these zones and so will slow down as little as they think they can get away with.

        As for the race stewards judging what is that is very difficult unless the rule is made more specific (how can they test if a driver is capable of stopping in a controlled way and suddenly unless the go out there and try to stop them). I think that this is the crux of the issue and the issue that needs to be considered since it reflects the risk to both drivers and marshals, rather than the recovery vehicle design/protection which ignores the risk to marshals.

      2. @sars this only holds if he could see the caution flags/lights. if he could not then the race was being run in unsafe conditions.

        i did see it mentioned that reducing speed causes the tyres to cool very quickly and could contribute to spinning. in that case it’s almost catch 22.

        1. I think you will find he had driven past the scene of the accident at least once and tbh after seeing the horrific footage I’m not sure you can aquaplane completely straight the way he did, though it’s not impossible theoretically and so was it actually driver error at all

      3. petebaldwin (@)
        7th October 2014, 12:44

        @sars – The problem with that is that whilst drivers want to be safe, their primary goal is to be the quickest. If you go at a speed you feel is safe but others are going 50kph quicker and feel that is safe, you are going to speed up.

        Letting the drivers control the speeds results in what we have in place now.

        I’m sure Bianchi felt he was going a safe speed but he aquaplaned so it was largely out of his hands. I’m sure Sutil felt he wasn’t going to go off either. With track conditions changing rapidly, I don’t think the drivers always do know what is a safe speed.

        Personally, I’d make it automatic. When cars enter a section of track with double yellows, a limiter is automatically applied. It keeps it safe, equal, doesn’t force the drivers to decide between safety and speed.

    5. petebaldwin (@)
      7th October 2014, 12:33

      @hohum – Problem with option 2 is how would a portable section of tyre wall be put in place? Someone would have to do it or you’d have to use a tractor… Doesn’t really help!

      In regards to the wet tyres, something needs to be done. The very fact that the track was “too dangerous to race on” and as soon as it was deemed safe, cars started coming in for inters and were doing quicker laps shows that somethign isn’t right! Basically, it seems wets are only in existance to follow a safety car around with!

      1. Problem with option 2 is how would a portable section of tyre wall be put in place?

        It could be attached to a vehicle. So this vehicle, protected by the barrier, is driven into place so it is protecting the area. Would probably take more than one. These are heavy vehicles, JCBs or similar, so the barriers are quite firmly anchored just by that.

        Not 100% thought through, but it is one way I can see for it to work.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          7th October 2014, 14:17

          Yeah I suppose but the risk is that you are basically adding risk to the situation by using more machineary. What happens whilst it’s being put in place? It’d have to be off the ground whilst they are manouvering it into place and someone could go into it then. The new noses would go under the tyres and they’d go face first into the tyres.

          The solution has to be to control the speed of the cars passing through the area.

    6. drivers don’t manage a safe pace ever, because they also have to think about keeping their race position, and not lose time to a competitor, that is why they all take the risk and do the minimum required – ie don’t go too fast in that sector to avoid a penalty. making them all use the pitlane speed limiter is an ideal solution, as the drivers wont need to worry about losing time to competitors.

    7. One observation, the last time Bianchi changed tyres was on lap 24.

  5. Having Charlie Whiting examine among other things his own decision-making relevant to this incident is not appropriate. He is intimately involved in a highly charged event and thus, like any other human, cannot be expected to be completely objective about a situation in which he has any responsibility, and this affects the analysis and the search for solutions. This is a well-known issue and why you have independent investigations. And that should be done here.

    1. @slowhands – I came here to say this. There needs to be an independent, or at least relatively independent, third party. Bring in former (i.e. no longer under the thumb of Bernie, the FIA, or Jean Todt) technical director(s), some engineers, safety personnel, and drivers and convene a full review.

      If Charlie finds anything other than, ‘safety car should have been deployed and will now be any time marshals or vehicles are exposed to the circuit,’ it will just expose this for the farce it is.

      1. If Charlie finds anything other than, ‘safety car should have been deployed and will now be any time marshals or vehicles are exposed to the circuit,’ it will just expose this for the farce it is.

        I really hope this isn’t the “conclusion”, for several reasons.

        Firstly, there is a good chance this would not have helped. We had already seen a driver going off the track under the safety car. Remember, although it is a snails pace to an F1 car, safety car speeds are still very fast, and yet the cars have lost most of their downforce at those speeds already.

        Secondly, this would mean any time a car crashes, there would be a safety car. From a spectators point of view, this would be horrible.

        I also would like to go back to my many time suggestion: Get rid of the safety car. If there is a minor “safety car” level accident, it could often be eliminated if the drivers were placed under a speed limit (which could also be used in double yellow areas). If it is a more serious one, use a “quick” red flag procedure. Line the cars up on the grid, limit pit crew access to only the most essential, and restart the race as quickly as possible once the work is complete. We get more racing, and a safer environment for the marshals and drivers.

        Disclosure: I loath the safety car.

        1. @drmouse – Your point about “a good chance [a safety car] would not have helped,” is just wrong on its face. Yes, Ericsson went off under the safety car, but he went off the road a few feet. He did not fly off the road at high speed and spear into anything. So you may hate the safety car, but that point is just ridiculous.

          I agree that it would cause issues having a safety car out for car recoveries but I think driver and marshal safety should be paramount. Your (and others’) speed limit idea seems a reasonable alternative. In lieu of releasing the safety car, place them under the safety car speed limit and that would effectively produce the same result. How they would restart/go green again might require some work but not a bad idea in general.

          1. @hobo, Tell that to Liuzzi:

            A deployed safety car and a driver unwilling to slow down has the same outcome as just a driver unwilling to slow down. The problem lies in the slowing down.

            It’s like the double penalty for unsafe releases. For years safety while releasing cars wasn’t a concern for the teams. Which is odd because a loose wheel also means end of the race, but in F1 they are trained to assume accidents will never happen to them. Still, FIA didn’t like TV crew and marshalls endangered by this practice, so they decided to punish unsafe releases harder. Then low and behold the teams deploy measures/procedures to prevent unsafe releases.

            Same thing needs to happen to double waved yellows. Slow down enough to actually be able to stop or get a hefty penalty. The first few penalties they will whine that it’s unfair, but eventually the idea will sink in and they will comply.

      2. Firstly I wish to convey my thoughts to Jules Bianchi and wish him a speedy recovery.

        @Slowhands & @Hobo, I completely agree with both of you on this point. Whilst I have complete and utter respect for Charlie Whiting he isn’t the right man to investigate this terrible accident. Ultimately a vital part of this investigation is to question the role that Race Control played in the events leading up to Jules’ accident. As Charlie in his role as Race Director is in charge of Race Control. His decision making (along with the other race officials) will need to come under scrutiny along with all the other factors such as the actions of the marshals attending to Sutil’s car and of course the driver involved Jules Bianchi. Maybe a panel of Stewards from a similar track (say Spa or Silverstone) should convene along with a Driver Steward & a former Technical Director to investigate and find a way forward so F1 can move on and learn the lessons from this horrible crash.

        Whilst I am no expert on race safety I do think the Safety Car (as much as I loathe it) should have been deployed as soon as it was apparent that Sutil’s car needed recovering following his spin. Light was failing, the track was getting wetter, there were competitors racing around on worn out inters in conditions that were borderline for the tyres, the corner itself Dunlop Curve (a high speed bend) is on a brow of a hill which means cars will be getting ‘light’ as they crest the hill and water will start to flow across the track causing a ‘river’ making it a likely place for aquaplaning and in my mind more importantly this kind of incident had happened before in 1994 at the exact same corner when Martin Brundle hit a marshal attending to Morbidelli’s car. The race should have been neutralised to allow safe recovery of Sutil’s car, I can understand the reluctance of using the Safety Car in this instance as it would have ruined what had been an excellent race up to that point and I wonder whether not wishing to be seen to influence the race was a factor here, however I do think F1 (and motor-sport in general) needs to find a better way of neutralising races for safety. The WEC method for Les Mans of ‘safety zones’ is quite good but F1 tracks are generally shorter than Les Mans so that may not work, I like the idea of having a full course yellow where a driver has to slow down to a pre-determined maximum speed ‘as soon as safely possible’ is better, this way any advantage a driver has gained in the race can be more or less maintained and the race can be restarted far quicker (lets say with a 10 second warning to drivers of the restart of racing) after any obstruction has been cleared is a better way to go.

        I hope the lessons can be learned without a knee jerk reaction of Safety Cars for every little incident can be avoided.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      7th October 2014, 11:57

      @slowhands, fully agree.
      It should be an independent expert investigating this.

  6. Was there no report about Bianchi’s crash? Because for Todt to ask for one, instead of being handed whatever the stewards (supposedly) reported, is very odd.

    1. I imagine the forthcoming report will go beyond the normal collation of facts and report on the physics and structural strengths involved along with possible solutions and modifications.

  7. mike brennan
    7th October 2014, 1:01

    The recently released footage from a spectator reveals the brutal impact.

    It also shows that a broadcast camera panned as Jules left the track and followed it to the point of impact. It is probable that the image from the broadcast camera was recorded.

    Does F1 have a protocol in place where such footage (which was not broadcast) is quickly made available to trauma teams?
    Trauma teams appreciate any details of an accident, a video record is very descriptive.
    Whilst it is apparently F1 policy not to broadcast such impacts, they do have the personal and equipment to provide a timely copy to medical staff.

    Mike Brennan

  8. I am tired of hearing how this is a “freak” accident. Max of all people should know better. This is a clear safety protocol issue. People use that word to make themselves feel better that “there was nothing anyone who should have known better could have done.” When more than one experienced racing driver recounts how they almost had the same thing happen to them, it can no longer be classified as “freak.” I have watched a number of races where several cars spun off in identical fashion at the same corner to collide into the car that did it first. The worse the conditions, the more likely for something like this to happen. To me, “freak” = “no need to look too closely here, no one to blame, move along, move along.”

    1. @slowhands I could not agree more. Mosley is disgracing himself.

      For sure, no one would have been hurt if Sutil’s car had simply been left there. Bianchi might have crashed into it but both him and marshals would have been safe. As many have said, F1 cars are designed to hit other cars or barriers but not tractors. And marshals were unnecessarily put at risk for the second time this year. It is not acceptable that no one is held responsible for that.

      There were also many options to bring the start forward. If it was not safe to hold the race on Sunday, then why not move it to Saturday afternoon? Following simple safety measures does not equal overprotecting.

      1. @girts “As many have said, F1 cars are designed to hit other cars”

        You are right – many people have been saying this the last couple of days, it doesn’t make it true. I don’t know of any aspect of car design other than the current low nose specification which relates to safety when crashing into other cars. Crashing into a stationary car could in fact be extremely dangerous.

        1. @JerseyF1 As far as I understand, Bianchi was not injured because he hit a standing object, the problem is that he hit it with his head. Such a collision is obviously much less likely if you hit another car or track walls. In fact, the last years have more than once shown that driver’s head is the least protected part of the body in today’s F1 cars.

          1. @girts I can’t disagree with that, but I would still contend that leaving Sutil’s car there would not have been a safe (or safer) option.

            I’m not suggesting that hitting Sutil’s car is as big a risk as hitting the tractor but nonetheless it would not be safe, and the probability of a collision would be much higher for a static car remaining there than a transient tractor. The important thing is expected outcome multiplied by probability so reducing the expected outcome but increasing the probability of a bad outcome might modify without reducing the overall risk.

    2. @slowhands Agree entirely. But I’m not surprised at this, because Max was in F1 in the bad old days of the 1970s, when shrugging off avoidable driver fatalities as “freak accidents” was part of the job description. In the 21st Century there is no place for that mentality.

      1. Max Mosley (along with Sid Watkins) is the man responsible for the huge improvements in safety we had from ’94 onwards. He knows what he’s talking about, which is more than I can say about those criticising his comments on here, and has saved more lives than you will ever know.

    3. Yes these “freak accident” comments usually imply “…so let’s do nothing!”.
      I think comments by Max Mosley like this should be removed from search engines…

    4. @slowhands I agree. In no sense was this a freak accident. In fact, these exact circumstances have been predicted for years. Look at Martin Brundle – on TV commentary, virtually every time a recovery vehicle was on track, he would say, “I nearly went under one of those things once.”

      It’s more akin to the pit lane incidents we saw over the last few years, where the rush to complete tyre changes as quickly as possible saw several incidents where drivers were released without all four wheels being properly attached. People pointed out how dangerous this was, but very little was actually done until a cameraman was hit by an errant tyre.

      Here we also have an obviously dangerous situation, but nothing has been done about it until it’s too late. People should be held responsible for that, not be allowed to handwave it away as a “freak accident.”

    5. You are right, It was not a freak accident, it was (I hate to say) either Bianchi driving too fast under double waved yellows (He hit that tractor at an awful rate of knots) or it was a car failure. The rules and the organisers shouldn’t be lambasted for the accident and the existing protocols are more than sufficient to cover recovery vehicles on circuit. They just need to be followed/enforced properly. If drivers can’t be trusted to drive through a doubled waved yellow zone at an appropriate speed then perhaps some form of speed limiter should be implemented.

      All that being said, my thoughts are with Jules and his family at this time.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        7th October 2014, 14:24

        @asanator – without seeing data, I don’t want to blame Jules. It’s more than likely that others drove at the same speed as Jules and we haven’t seen any punishments handed out so I would put the blame with the FIA for that.

        If Jules slowed right down to a safe speed but others didn’t, you’d be creating an additional hazard on the track. There’d be more chance of others not seeing Jules, trying to get out of the way and flying off the track themselves.

        It may of course, be that everyone else slowed down and Jules didn’t. Whilst Jules would have to take the blame for that, it’s something that has happened several times before. Indeed, Alonso was guilty of exactly the same thing when he failed to slow down on the start/finish straight at Brazil and smashed into debris from Webber’s car.

    6. Nurburgring 2007 Vitantonio Liuzzi just hit the recovery vehicle so it’s happened before can anyone think of any other times it has happened .

  9. On a lighter note, I was struck by the similarity of the 1984 EuroGP soundtrack with current race soundtrack.

  10. @hohum I must give some credit to my COTD to @slowhands from reading his remarks and add that some of my comment was truncated. Slowhands speaks of, for safety reasons, taking the human decision-making or judgement out of it. So for example with your first random thought the problem is that even under double yellows racers are still racers and are going to slow, but only to the bare minimum necessary to appease the stewards. If the trouble spot became a speed restricted zone, like the pit lane is, then it is an automatic thing and the driver no longer has the opportunity to make a judgement call that might end up legal but lethal. And they’ve already got a button on the steering wheel for it. I think the only thing that would create a bit of a challenge is, depending on the location on the track, getting the cars slowed in time to then engage the limiter, but that should be able to be handled with a flag that signifies ‘speed restricted zone ahead.’ Perhaps the double yellows could signify that in the future.

    1. Was supposed to be attached to @hohum ‘s random thoughts comment.

      1. Yes, a very good point or 2, obviously drivers can’t hit the speed limiter mid-corner anymore than they can jump on the brakes but the sequence of yellow flags should allow the speed limiter to be deployed at double yellows.

    2. @robbie Appreciate your thoughtful comments, thanks

  11. With all due concern for Bianchi’s health, there is another race next weekend- will Marussia only run 1 car or does this put Alexander Rossi in the race seat? Assuming this site’s driver lists are up to date…

    1. Why not Marciello? Would then still be a Ferrari driver in the second seat…

      1. Is there a second seat to be filled, I doubt it.

    2. Marussia signed a new reserve driver last week who may or may not have precedence over Rossi.

      1. Will Stevens hasn’t had any time in the car though. Alexander Rossi would be more likely I would have thought. Assuming Marussia have enough parts to run two cars in Sochi that is.

        1. I’d think they would go with Alex Rossi as he’s already driven the Marussia in FP1 at Spa.

          Will Stevens has tested for Caterham in the past but has as far as I am aware never driven the Marussia.

  12. Well well..where are all the people who were saying that F1 is too safe, or too easy?

    Could Bianchi’s accidently have been avoided? Yes probably. Is there a risk of it happening again? Sure. This is racing. When you drive a car round a circuit at 300 kph, there is always bound to be risk, but it depends on the controls you put in place and what your resultant residual risk is. The risk never goes away.

    I dont want to see drivers get hurt, but accidents happen. Since 1994, if you consider the number of real life threatening incidents in F1, it is actually pretty good, the controls placed by the FIA have worked. But, you always learn from incidents, and Bianchi’s incident is a lesson learnt without doubt. Now we will see what the FIA does to learn from this incident.

    My recommendation would be that anytime there are car retrieval activities on track during a wet race, the safety car must come out, regardless of where the car may be.

    1. I didn’t want to have to say this but it seems I will have to to add some balance to the discussion, the safety car does not magically remove all risk, what it does is enforce a slow pace around the entire track for the front-running car, at the same time backmarker drivers are set lower sector times, the difference with double yellows is that they affect only the approach to the danger and drivers judge for themselves what speed to take in order to comply, clearly a driver that goes off the track under double yellows has misjudged the situation badly, it is the drivers error of judgement that is to blame for the accident and it may be necessary for race direction to set the speed for drivers to safley pass through the affected zone, but a safety car is not the solution for every incident.

      1. @hohum Like I said…the risk does not go away.

        You put controls is place to mitigate a risk. In this case, the double yellows were a control measure, but the accident still happened. There is no guarantee that that it would not have happened if the safety car came out, however the likelihood of the accident would have decreased, with the consequence remaining the same, resulting in lower residual risk.

        This is basic risk management.

        1. @jaymenon10 An immediate red flag when Sutil crashed would have decreased the likelihood of an accident much more than a Safety Car. Are you suggesting whenever a car goes off the race should be red flagged? No – because it’s always a case of balancing safety with sensible measures.

          Perhaps what we have now can be improved upon but I think bringing out the safety car every time a car stops or crashes would be an over-the-top solution and would not be a good balance (only slightly less ridiculous than having a red flag for every incident).

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          7th October 2014, 14:29

          @jaymenon10 – You’re right but currently, the measures in place (double-yellows) aren’t sufficient. The drivers are currently allowed to make a slight lift and carry on their way. I haven’t seen punishments handed out for drivers not slowing enough during double yellows in a race.

      2. So basiclly this was Bianchi fault?

        1. At the moment we have no idea as there isn’t enough information available to make an informed decission but it could have been his fault. Only time and a thorough investigation will give us the answer to that.

        2. We have to wait for the investigaton, but early reports says he hit the recovery vehicle going 203km/h. That doesn’t sound like he slowed down enough to be able to come to a full stop.

  13. I think the Pit Lane speed limiter in double-waved-yellow situations might be a bit excessive, given that it can also change between rounds.

    A better solution might be to use the Safety car delta system in that section of track? It might perhaps mean the yellow flag zone extends a little further back down the track, but it’ll certainly prevent any massive speed deltas between cars activating it.

    1. The pit lane limiter speed is not a speed chosen because it is better, but because it is simpler to just reuse a button they already have.

    2. The pit lane speed limiter seems like a sensible suggestion (and an easy one technically to impose) to an issue thats clearly been apparent for a long time but so far has luckily avoided any serious incident… until now. Regularly we see yellow flags and double yellows with a “slow down” of a tenth or two over the whole sector being deemed sufficient.
      Given that double yellows means to be prepared to stop, you cant possibly say that losing a tenth or two meant that a driver lifted off sufficiently to be in a position to stop if required. Based on that, clearly drivers are not able to self police themselves and race control aren’t acting over this either as they too easily get tarred with “ruining the race” by intervening.

      As the track is divided up in to marshal sectors, it would seem a potential solution would be to double yellow the trouble zone and single yellow the preceding zone (2 if the incident is too close for reasonable reactions) and in the initial yellow zone drivers have to react and slow to pit limiter speeds for the trouble zone before getting the all clear after to accelerate.

      This should be no different than going full bore at the pit lane before having to slow right down and then accelerate out at the other end.

      To be able to implement it would need more lines drawing on the track to mark the change of zones – pretty trivial really in the grand scheme of things – and details covered in the drivers briefing.

  14. The real issue that needs addressing from the whole Bianchi incident is how to force drivers to slow down more past accident scenes without penalising them. The problem at the moment is that drivers “have to go as fast as they can” past accident scenes, because if they are conservative and lose 0.5s every lap of the incident to the driver behind them, then they will be disadvantaged. I don’t know if there was anyone right behind Bianchi, but at the end of the day drivers are paid to drive as fast as they can, and so they do. I know that drivers are required to “maintain a safe speed” but for a long time there was no real definition of this. I can’t remember exactly, but now there is a rule that is something the lines of needing to be able to show (via telemetry) that an attempt to slow down was made. Good idea, however, that only says “slow down”, not how much to slow down. So if I were a Marussia driver and there was a Caterham behind me, I’d be thinking about how little I can slow down whilst maintaining my gap and not losing time. Otherwise you’d feel pretty stupid and probably be told off if you lost a second and promptly got passed 3 corners later, into the hairpin, because you were being safe.

    What F1 really needs is a way to regulate speeds in the yellow flag zones. Le Mans-style safety zones are a good idea, using the pit speed limiter, however I feel like this is a bit unsuitable in F1. Le Mans features many cars of different speeds generally a distance apart on track – not so many intense wheel-banging on track battles due to the race length. So it’s suitable to have everyone put on their brakes and continue at a regulated speed. However, in F1, if you have 2 cars coming down the pit straight, side by side, they’ll end up racing each other into the braking zone for a Turn 1 yellow flag zone. I can’t see this being safe nor “the right idea”.

    Another alternative solution could be to reduce power. A good idea would be to switch into an electric-only mode for the yellow flag zone, limiting power, however I’m not sure that’s actually practical or even technically possible at the moment. Possibly a fuel flow rate restrictor could be activated, limiting the fuel an engine can receive through a yellow flag zone, and it could be a rule that this must be activated for the duration of a yellow flag zone (if not, then some sort of penalty would apply, drive through or 10s version of the current 5s penalty would be appropriate in my opinion). Another alternative would be a similar rev limiter to the speed limiter, but maybe around 7000rpm, which would significantly limit power.

    By far the easiest solution in my opinion is simply to make use of the safety car. As much as many die-hard F1 fans hate to see a race’s outcome being significantly affected by a safety car that may help some and hinder others, I’m sure everyone would agree that preventing accidents like this is incredibly important. Looking at IndyCar as an example, they always deploy the safety car when there’s an incident that needs attending to. Pretty much nothing gets done under green flag unless it’s a quick case of “push the car behind the wall”. Anything requiring more than a quick push gets the safety car, and really that’s how it should be. Besides, if F1 really wants it’s races “spiced up” through artificial means, at least do it through a legitimate means like a safety car…

    It’s also worth mentioning that there is still one other problem, which is that F1 drivers still “speed back” under safety car conditions. I’m not entirely sure what to do about this one but I would say either an IndyCar/United SportsCar Championship-style closing of the could be introduced, so drivers have no reason to speed back around to the pits as they won’t be able to pit until they’re re-opened when the queue has formed behind the safety car – I know this was tried in 2008 and rejected after Crashgate, but it should still be reconsidered, although I personally am not a fan of it. Another option would be to use a “engine power-limter” of some description as talked about above, which must be activated when the safety car is deployed.

  15. Absolutely agree with @slowhands & @hobo about independent investigations for fair and impartial assessment on safety protocol.
    But we still need proper in depth investigation on how that frightening accident happen in the first place. I believed that Jules Bianchi is a great driver and I don’t believed for a second that he was not aware of double yellow flag condition. Some authority should measure the full range technical inspection on Marussia’s car too. This is not the first fatal accident happen to their driver.

    1. @ruliemaulana This is not currently a fatal accident and suggesting there is anything other than a coincidental link to these to completely dissimilar situations is laughable.

      1. @jerseyf1 how can anyone said this is not a fatal accident???
        Haven’t you watch the footage?

        1. Well he’s not dead for starters

          1. Well, I presume that ‘Fatal’ is something that capable of causing death. Maybe not the right word but after seeing the footage I had little to no hope that Jules might survive. I hope I was wrong.

        2. In english, fatal accident means an accident that results in someone passing away.

  16. Well, maybe not the right time to bring it up, but I think it should be mentioned. I really hope that this race puts all the “these cars are too easy to drive, make it harder” voices to rest.

    1. @bascb Not sure a wet weather race such as this is the one to hinge the debate on. F1 should be hard, and challenging for the drivers, and should suss out the best in the world. But the rain such as they had adds a whole new element. It’s why I have never hoped for rainy races. Cars lapping much more slowly yet like they are on ice is far from ideal and I have always felt for the drivers on these kinds of days. And I think far fewer fans would wish for them if F1 wasn’t so aero dependent that processions are a four letter word and DRS is the solution rather than emphasizing mechanical grip more, so that the racing is closer and the winner is one of several that have a real shot on a dry Sunday.

      Anyway, I think F1 could handle being harder, and safety measures could always be improved, and nothing about Bianchi’s crash has me thinking otherwise. Racing in those conditions is always going to be relatively harder and they can always make certain safety measures stricter in addition.

      1. On the subject, this article from @somersF1 highlighting why an F1 car is hard to drive already, especially in the wet @robbie.
        The calls to make things harder have so far focussed on giving the driver less information and guidance and even towards giving the TEAMS less information (telemetry ban that Bernie mentioned). All these things would make the drivers job a lot harder and IMO pose a serious concern about safety.

        1. @bascb It’s an ongoing topic, isn’t it? I would like to think that F1 can remain hard and challenging without sacrificing safety with any changes they make going forward. The real challenge is finding that balance between a sport like F1 being exciting and enthralling, literally because there is an element of danger, without actually hurting anyone. Unfortunately, without the element of danger…eg. downhill skiing…audience quickly falls away. If it starts to look like anyone can do it, it’s no longer a money making venture.

  17. German “Auto, Motor und Sport” had an article a couple of days ago about closed cockpits. Using the designs made by a Polish designer named Jacek Kolodziejczyk, who I believe uses the artist name IACOSKI (
    The car itself looks kind of cartoonish, but still lovely designs (non German-speakers click on “Bilder” for more pictures. Damn, I sound like an ad on some dodgy website)

  18. A fan video showing the moment of Bianchi’s crash:

    My thoughts are all with Jules and his family.

    If you watch the video, notice how close a marshal was to the accident, if he was a meter closer to Bianchi’s car he could’ve been hit. If he was a meter closer to Sutil’s car he would’ve been crushed as the Sutil’s car hit the ground at the moment Bianchi hit the recovery vehicle. Also just imagine the force of the crash which lifted the very HEAVY recovery vehicle off the ground.

    I am really concerned about Jules but also pleased that no other people were affected and that there were no deaths.
    Also, the speed of Bianchi’s car at the moment of the crash tells that something have to be done in the sport to ensure the safety of everyone in such a case when there are marshals and other vehicles on the circuit besides the F1 cars to avoid future disasters.

  19. I am not a fan of enclosed cockpit, I think it raises new safety concerns while solving a few old ones.

    But what happened to Bianchi could have been – granted, not avoided, the force of impact was tremendous, but much improved by a steel tubing cage, something like they have on dune buggies. One tube on the left, one on the right, starting essentially where the roll hoop starts, going up to the level of top of the head, then forward and down. If it were made a part of the survival cell, it would have helped a lot in side impact situations without hampering visibility much.

  20. Formula-I (@)
    7th October 2014, 7:27

    Jules was lucky, as I see the crash i thought his head will broken and that was fatal enough. I still hoping the best for him, but maybe he will not continue in f1

  21. I agree with COTD. Many are avoiding, in fear perhaps of talking bad about Jules in this tough time for him, but the truth is, drivers have been going way too fast in double waved zones since I can remember. They are always trying to gain time in this situations (compared to their competitors) and there have been many situations with horrible outcomes due to this. On this same track, Brundle collected the marshal back in the day. Maldonado did the same in Monaco some years back. We are relying on the drivers to “proceed with caution” in double waved zones, but the truth is, they will be going as fast as the rules are allowing. I agree that with the regular yellow, you should just exercise caution, but with double waved, with people on the track, there’s no way you should be going at anything remotely close to the racing speed.
    People are going to go on another crusade, trying to introduce this and that safety measure to fix the things that ain’t broken, but the truth is that if the double waved yellow means people on the track, you should drive at a speed which won’t make you crash, and even if you spun, it won’t be anything anywhere near to lethal. Neither for you nor for those around you. It seems pretty straightforward applying pit lane limiter speed in double waved yellow zones. Those zones should be preceded with single yellow waved, to avoid people overtaking each other just prior to entering a much slower zone where they will be driving at the pit lane speed.

    1. “It seems pretty straightforward applying pit lane limiter speed in double waved yellow zones. Those zones should be preceded with single yellow waved, to avoid people overtaking each other just prior to entering a much slower zone where they will be driving at the pit lane speed.” That. I just wanted to post exactly this myself but you beat me to it.

  22. The FIA asking the old Whiting to investigate itself on why it so blatantly failed ? Wow, there will surely be some incredibly harsh conclusions to that report …! It feels a bit like May 1994 all over … “Nope guys, there’s nothing wrong, it was just bad luck, let’s just cross fingers and wait for the next crash”

    It seems to me like the FIA has been resting on its laurels over the last decade, security-wise … What real improvements have been made since the introduction of restrained wheels and HANS ? (one of them being introduced after 2 fatal accidents, and another being borrowed from other disciplines) “Heck, F1 is so safe we can even think of turning crashes into show-making and have standing starts after a Safety Car, can’t we ?”

    That’s all really sad … Intelligent solutions like the Slow Zone could have been put forward years ago if the political will had been there ! It has all the advantages of a Safety Car in terms of safety without all its drawbacks (disruption of the race, disturbances in pit stop strategies, hazardous restarts) And its minor glitches (like, what happens if the Slow Zone is enforced for less than a lap and allows for a driver to gain time over some others) could really be solved quite easily … What are they waiting ?

    1. What real improvements have been made since the introduction of restrained wheels and HANS ?

      THere have been loads, not only to the cars but procedural and track changes for safety, on the cars alone there has been raised cockpit sides and prtection, lower front noses, increased impact testing, massive improvement in side impact structures (Don’t they all have to use redbulls new fancy side impact structure from 2014 onwards?) never mind the increasing forces used in pre season crash testing. These are just a few on the cars themselves that I can think of off the top of my head, and doesn’t take into account things like techpro barriers, tarmac run-off and other circuit modifications made to improve safety.

      To say that it has just been HANS and wheel tethers shows a large gap in your F1 knowledge.

  23. In an F1 where we can control DRS within a one second gap, surely we can do away with the safety car completely and simply have a limiter on every car?

    This would also prevent drivers losing their advantage randomly to a SC and make the racing fairer.

    Deployment of the limiter whenever there is a risk of aquaplaning, or tractors/marshalls on track. Drivers notified then have a 5 second window to deploy their limiter or something (or else penalty) in order to prevent incidents of it coming on automatically.

    Would also do away with the lapped cars may now overtake nonsense.

    1. I think you are on the right track, telemetry makes it impossible to cheat and the safety car virtually redundant.

      1. Further to that, race control could instruct “Safety code” 6 or 8 or 10 etc. subject to conditions just as the teams used to instruct “tac 7” or whatever and the cpu would not allow the selected speed to be exceeded.

    2. I also think that the pit lane speed limiter could be a very good solution. It is pretty sad we always need an accident before we start thinking about how to prevent them. But that’s how it has always been. Anyway, like many have suggested the “pit lane limiter” might be a very good solution. Not only for safety but also for racing.
      Let´s imagine there is a small crash which requires marshalls and machinery on track to clean the debris or get a damaged car moved. All drivers on track would get a radio message same time from the race director and also for example some flashing warning light displayed on their steering wheels. Like someone suggested these signals would give you 5 seconds to reduce the speed and hit the speed lane limiter. The limiter should be then on until everyone gets another message / signal that the race can resume and it is safe. If you fail to comply you will get for example disqualified and/or get awarded with some heavy penalty. This increases safety and also the gaps between drivers remained pretty much the same as everyone would be driving the same speed 80kph. Drivers could choose to pit also if they wanted to, this should give teams some opportunities to change their strategy also. If something like this would get done safety cars might be needed only to evaluate track conditions which means that we wouldn’t see them very often. No more “lapped cars may now overtake”, just couple of laps everyone going around 60kph or 80kph and the leading driver would not loose out much if at all. Anyway, racing is irrelevant this week and I do hope Jules pulls through. But the fact is that most of the cars will be back in the grid in just couple of days and I hope that FIA will make some wise decisions this time because safety is very important but they can´t kill the racing if they want us fans still to follow this sport. Come on Jules you can make it!

  24. There are no more excuses for not having closed cockpits.

    Martin Brundle, David Coulthard, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa <- Just four of those whose live was spared not because F1 is so safe, but because they were lucky.

    F1 drivers had a ridiculous amount of luck in the past years. We could well have seen 10+ deaths due to head injuries.

    1. Watching a video of the accident in question I believe a closed cockpit may have inflicted greater damage than the open one, no doubt the FIA will have more information and knowledge and will investigate, I hope we hear the result.

    2. Formula-I (@)
      7th October 2014, 9:05

      closed cockpits wont help because drivers may could massively dehydrated

    3. Closed cockpits also may have increased the time it took for Jules to have received medical help however, they’re good for deflecting small object, but a whole tractor? Also there is an issue of marshal safety that closed cockpits would do nothing to address: he still would have gone as fast, still aquaplaned, and still may have ran over a marshal at speed. Its easy to forget in this grave situation that the marshals are under immeasurably greater risk than the drivers here.

      When double waved yellow are flown, the FIA should bloody well ensure the drivers slow down. Cursory lifts for the purpose of evidence in front of the stewards should no longer be condoned.

      1. Formula-I (@)
        7th October 2014, 9:34

        or maybe automatically control cars when double yellows (like a pit limiter)

  25. I’m amazed that every time the question of closed cockpits comes up (always following a driver in one series or another suffering serious or fatal head injuries) there are a plethora of people claiming that it would be dangerous. Closed cockpits aren’t dangerous. They have been in use and saving lives in WEC/LMP for years. Look at some of the monstrous accidents Audi have had over the past few years. Look at Anthony Davidson’s horrible accident in the Peugeot. In most of those incidents, the driver was spared probably death by having his head protected by a closed cockpit.

    Look how many accidents in the past decade have involved a driver suffering serious or fatal head injuries in open cockpit racing. It’s the part of the driver most at risk, and the fact that it keeps happening just highlights how important it is that this issue is address. Bianchi could well die. Or he may have massive brain damage. If he’s not the latest F1 fatality, then it’s only a matter of time until the next one.

    And yet look at the counter arguments. That drivers may get too hot – add aircon. Drivers may be dehydrated. Improve the drinks system. It may be hard to extract the driver – already the shoulder restraint must be removed from the car. This doesn’t cause problems. Numerous massive accidents with closed cockpit Le Mans cars has demonstrated that extracting drivers isn’t a massive problem, especially since the closed cockpit means that the driver is less likely to be badly injured in the first place. The car may set on fire while upside down – again how often has this happened? In WEC? Never. In recent F1? Never. Cars don’t set on fire as they did decades ago. Compared – how often is a driver seriously injured or killed in open cockpit racing because of their head being exposed? Several times a year.

    Cockpits won’t make F1 100% safe. Nothing will. Motorsport is dangerous. Cockpits won’t necessarily prevent head injury in 100% of accidents. But they would stop most. The few genuine issues which arise are easily solved.

    Put simply, there is no genuine, compelling argument against using closed cockpits in F1 cars. And there are plenty of arguments in favour. It’s a no brainer.

    1. I don’t disagree with you, but

      “The car may set on fire while upside down – again how often has this happened? In WEC? Never. In recent F1? Never. Cars don’t set on fire as they did decades ago. ”

      isn’t really right. Mark Webber 2013 and Nick Heidfeld 2011 come to mind. OK, not upside down, but if it happens upside up, it surely could happen upside down as well.

    2. Its more that I don’t think that they would have helped in this situation, and to therefore deliver up closed cockpits up as a solution here is wrong. Its also that it does nothing to alleviate the danger to the marshals, they’re under a much greater range and severity of danger in that situation than the driver is.

      1. Well, I don’t think either of us has either the data or the engineering knowledge to be able to determine whether or not a closed cockpit would have helped with this. All we can offer are opinions. There is no solution to this specific situation – it’s something which has already happened and in all likelihood will never happen again. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t learn lessons from every situation. With Dan Wheldon, they could change catch fence design. With Maria DeVilotta, they could move the trucks away. With Massa, they could have better spring retention systems. With Henry Surtees, they can improve wheel tether designs. All of these incidents, and plenty more, can all be addressed with specific solutions to the exact circumstances of the accident. And it’s absolutely right to do so. But they all expose one common theme – that the driver’s head is exposed and vulnerable, and is the most likely part of the driver to be injured in an accident. I’m not saying that it is absolutely clear that all of those incidents would have been avoided by having a closed cockpit. But when it comes to improving safety you need to look at the path of least resistance. Currently, the biggest safety issue for the drivers is that their heads are vulnerable. Not in a theoretical sense, but in a very real sense. Drivers are being injured and killed because of it.

        I agree, it does nothing to address the issue of marshals being vulnerable when they’re on track. That needs to be looked at as well. There are a lot of factors which all need to be understood. It might all come down to the fact that Bianchi made an error and didn’t follow flag procedure. Or there may be something else to it. That needs to be understood. But to suggest that they shouldn’t look to close off the cockpits on the basis that it won’t do anything to improve marshal safety is nonsense. It was one element in this situation, absolutely. Not the only element. All elements need to be investigated and understood. Were procedures followed? Would the accident have been avoided if procedures were changed? We can’t sit here and claim to have the answers to those questions, and in that respect I offer none myself. It’s for Whiting and the FIA to investigate and decide, and I have every faith that they will continue to uphold their principles of safety as they always have done. But the point remains – drivers are being injured and killed predominantly through head injuries. It doesn’t take a massive leap to realise that if you increase protection to the drivers’ heads, then the frequency of those injuries/deaths will naturally decrease.

    3. Also add in closed wheels. Also add in limiting the cars to 100mph. And finally add in, it would destroy the sport…
      People die every day on the roads, we don’t change the laws every day. This is a ludicrous over reaction.

      Millions wont watch closed cockpit, closed wheel racing. Id argue most drivers in f1 don’t want to drive in it either.

      1. @antonyob I’m struggling to understand, how on earth would closed cockpits destroy the sport?

        1. Well this is not a good time to put forward the case but seeing the driver drive is half the enjoyment. Of course cockpits are higher and we all watch on telly with fantastic in car shots but the principle of grand prix racing is open wheel open cockpit. Otherwise its just sports car racing.

          If you want them argue for them but not 2 days after Bianchi has had a crash.

    4. You can’t really compare LMP cars to F1 cars when talking about closed cocpits as the regulations on car height/width etc… are completely different.

      Looking at things like adding Air-con to keep cockpit temperatures down, There’s far more room to do that in an LMP car compared to an F1 car. The air-con systems take up a big part of an LMP cockpit & thats space that an F1 car (As a single seater) does not have.

      Its the same with the canopy itself, an LMP car has a roof structure, Its far wider so while its closed cockpit it doesn’t actually have the sort of canopy that an F1 car would have.
      The canopy system an F1 car woudl have woudl be narrower & more rounded to surround the cockpit so there woudl be more distortion, There would be no roof structure for a wiper system, There would be no doors to help get drivers in/out because there isn’t the room for that.

      Closed cockpit canopies & other head protection systems have been tested, Not just by F1 but also Indycar & others & as of yet nobody has found an ideal solution that doesn’t raise more problems than it solves. The various governing bodies/promoters all seem to think closed cockpits will happen, Its just that nobody has found the right sort of enclosure as of yet.

      Besides I highly doubt a closed cockpit woudl have helped in this accident given how the roll structure thats designed to withstand huge forces (They do run frontal/side impact tests on the roll structure) was torn off so any canopy would likely just have shattered/come off anyway.

      1. Very interesting @gt-racer Couldn’t it be said that if they did pull off a working canopy, it would also be designed to absorb some of the impact energy and at least lessen the force to some degree to the helmet? It certainly must not shatter though, I would think.

  26. Kimi bent some armco in an earlier race. The race was stopped and the armco was repaired just in case someone else hit it. (What were the odds of a second impace that day?) (The more important culprit “the ditch” was left as it was)
    Here we have a massive steel obstruction and marshalls in way of an aquaplane zone and the rce carries on!.

    I don’t think the water would have been an issue on full wets at the time but competitors push the limits of a faster tyre and take risks. While drivers are allowed onto the track taking tyres to the edge of their working windows, no immovable objects should be in the way under racing conditions.

    1. As I said above – it wasn’t under racing conditions, it was under double waved yellow flags. No racing was happening.

      1. You’re still racing under yellow. Drivers push the envelope in the yellow zone otherwise they loose valuable time which they cannot get back. That is racing. They’re racing in the pit lane too albeit against a limit. That is racing.

        1. Yes, drivers push the limit, and hence mistakes are made. If I break the speed limit on the road and have a crash, there’s no point in blaming the speed limit.

          I do think that the slow zone concept used at Le Mans makes a lot of sense, as it prevents the sort of brinkmanship that inevitably leads to this kind of incident.

          Ultimately, it’s the driver in the car with their hands on the wheel and their feet on their pedals.

  27. This is open wheel open top racing. Its dangerous. All this talk of changing the sport because of one injury is ridiculous and reactionary. The hard truth is no one enters this sport without knowing its inherently dangerous. They don’t need and wouldn’t want the sport changed completely because of this one incident. They already complain run offs are too big, too without consequence. Of course they don’t want their head taken off but you need to keep the tractors safe not make a knee jerk baseless decision. Perspective is needed.

    1. I think the talk is natural and important, with perspective intact. It’s not reactionary to discuss this as armchair fans. Reactionary would be if F1 does something silly, but our reactions are not deciding what if anything F1 will do. We’re just folks trying to make sense of it for now.

  28. Why not investigating FIA’s decision to gradually decrease downforce over the years instead?

    1. F1 cars have some of the highest downforce levels of any racing car. If current F1 cars don’t have enough downforce to pass safely through a yellow flag zone, then we may as well just ban motor racing because clearly no car does.

    2. Downforce levels would not have played any role as we weer seeing cars aquaplane off when the cars had the higher downforce levels.
      Additionally even with the lower levels this year its not as if the race was full of cars going off as it hasn’t been in wet running throughout the year.

      The 2014 cars do have less downforce than they have had the past few years, But they still have a lot & still have more than most other categories.

  29. What they need to do instead of having the closed cockpit is an ability for the driver to hide inside the monocoque.

    Make enough space inside the chassis and provide a button that would allow the driver to unfold the seat completely so that the body of the driver is fully inside the protective carbon fibre cell.

    The cars would probably gain a bit in wheelbase and about 50kg of weight but that would provide more safety and could give drivers more chances to survive in ugly incidents like the one that happened last race.

  30. Seen the crash, wanted an idea of speed to judge his condition. Advise anyone not to watch, it’s shocking. To me, it looks like possible brake/steering input issues. He just speared straight off, no spin etc as far as i could tell.


    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      7th October 2014, 12:10

      @maxthecat I don’t want to see the video’s so this reply is a long shot anyway. But how sure are you that there was no obvious steering or braking going on, as if Bianchi just speared straight off? Is there not a wobble or slide in the car just before Jules loses the racing line?
      (Interesting by the way that Sutil said that Bianchi had just the same accident as he, but only the result was worse. Sutil had a kick of oversteer, corrected, the car gripped again which meant he actually overcorrected and now headed for the barriers instead of the exit of the corner. But your description of the video tells another story.)

  31. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    7th October 2014, 12:09

    @maxthecat I don’t want to see the video’s so this reply is a long shot anyway. But how sure are you that there was no obvious steering or braking going on, as if Bianchi just speared straight off? Is there not a wobble or slide in the car just before Jules loses the racing line?
    (Interesting by the way that Sutil said that Bianchi had just the same accident as he, but only the result was worse. Sutil had a kick of oversteer, corrected, the car gripped again which meant he actually overcorrected and now headed for the barriers instead of the exit of the corner. But your description of the video tells another story.)

  32. Looking at recovery vehicle and their operations is the path to prevention here… even as far as saying if they allow recovery vehicles within the track limits it must not have a way to allow an F1 car to get under it like this. If it had ‘almost’ ground level impact structure then this wouldn’t be a life threatening situation – Bianchi’s crash structure would have done its job.

  33. I have read a lot of people saying the Safety car should of been deployed sooner and once I saw Sutil crash I went to make a coffee on that assumption myself. Yet even if that decision had been made the exact second Sutil’s car came to rest, there would of been nothing to stop another driver aquaplaning at the same place under yellow flags and ending up hitting Sutil, before the safety car emerged and lap deltas were enforced.

    I do think that if another vehicle is being deployed to enter the circuit standard should be Safety Car on race tracks without a large run off area (even though I dislike from a racer point of view large run offs they have helped F1 stay more fluid and safer).

    Enclosed cockpits also comes with its own drawbacks, I saw them testing it a few years back, there are positives and negatives involved.

    One of the simpler solutions is this Slow Zone they have started using in Le Mans, temperatures in tyres etc can be managed as they speed up after zone anyway, plus it also means a driver is not guessing on speed through an area or feel they are disadvantaged by going at a reasonable speed while other racing drivers gain and not penalised for going quicker, which also I feel contributed to the unfortunate accident involving Bianchi.

    Skirting is another viable addition though if cars were at a safe speed would be less of an impact too.

    Having said all that, there will never be a time when life is 100% safe or accidents will not happen, we can learn from them, and just hope like I am currently doing for Bianchi, they pull through and make a recovery.

  34. Information has surfaced about Michael Schumachers improved condition, this information comes from Jean Todt visiting MSC

  35. Sorry, but two words are all that are needed here – Safety Car.

    Not on a black/white ‘if recovery is from behind the barriers we go to SC’ (though I would not oppose that) – on a sunny day on a slow corner with oodles of run off (the new complex at Silverstone for example) you maybe wouldn’t need to automatically trigger SC. But the SC needs deploying more in such circumstances. We had:
    – Crash on a corner with very minimal run off
    – History of multi-car accidents there (in more than one year)
    – Recovery vehicle – and marshals – on track
    – Wet track, with rain of increasing intensity
    – The sky getting dark

    Now, you can tinker with any of these individual factors, but fact is a Safety Car would have neutralized it. You saw when the SC did come out – immediately on the whole circuit all cars went into the Delta Sector Time mode, going very slow. You just don’t get that with waved yellows.

    No criticism to anyone involved, who all care deeply and know more than any of us about safe operation of a race, but for me, the lesson to learn here is to get the safety car out. I thought it was needed with the spin on the last corner in Germany too.

    1. Hm, well, yes. I feel in that situation a SC would have been a good step to ensure safe procedures, but certainly not all the time.

      What maybe should be done first, and is relatively easy to do, is to do what Gary Hartstein concludes in his blog – heed existing safety measures, i.e. slowing down to a VERY low pace with waved yellows far more than is currently done ( ). A task for Wurz to make the drivers commit to maybe, at least for the next couple of races?

      1. @bascb This is the crux of it really. I think we too often fall back on the old adage of drivers being racers and always pushing the limit. While that is true, they are also not idiots. This behaviour of pushing hard through waved yellows has been frankly encouraged by the FIA. The system of ‘slow down and be prepared to stop’ would work absolutely fine if the drivers actually took notice of it. And if they don’t then they need to be punished severely. But I think with a friend and colleague laying i a hospital bed right now, from which he may never wake up, this should be all the motivation they need for listening to the safety regs in future. After all how can you say that the safety measures are insufficient when they’re not adhered to? If I go 90mph down a road and crash my car, the problem is not with the 60mph speed limit; it’s with me. And worse, it’s with the authorities who saw me do it 100 times before and said it was fine.

  36. My biggest concern over closed cockpits is fire. Not only would it hinder a driver rushing to get out of the vehicle if it were ablaze, but even in a minor fire they would be subjected to extremely toxic smoke in the small, confined compartment which would quickly overwhelm them or cause serious long-term respiratory issues.

  37. I don’t know much about tractors but surely there must be one with an arm so big that it reach for the car without having to pass the tire barrier. Maybe FIA should make it mandatory that said tractor be used, regardless of cost or if the diminishes the spectator’s view. I remember Nick Heidfeld crashing into the medical car in Brazil in 2001, the less objects inside the track the better.

    1. Mick Nicholson
      8th October 2014, 0:01

      A crane right at that point would have been able to have picked Sutils car up, but that would be quite a big one – the problem is reach not weight. Such cranes take a long time to move and set up, assuming the ground is flat and stable. It would take a large number of very big cranes to cover just one corner like that so tractors will still be needed in most circumstances. Ironically cranes work at Monaco because there isn’t any run off

  38. Putting closed cockpits on the car is easy, However solving some of the problems that woudl arise is not.

    For instance you have to ensure the canopy can always be opened. I remember reading something from a fighter pilot some years ago where he pointed out that any movement of a plane’s bodywork can cause the canopy to jam shut so they have to have explosive bolts installed to ensure the canopy can be quickly opened even if the plane itself has suffered damage.

    There’s also the distortion which is narrow canopy would produce. It happens on planes but is less of an issue as they rely more on instruments. On a race car when you have to look for your apex’s & have a good idea of cars in close company, Its not ideal.

    Then related to visibility is what happens in the wet or if you get other dirt or oil sprayed over the canopy? You then have to look at some sort of wiper system, But with no roof structure or without the sort of room you have in WEC for instance where do you fit the wiper system? And even then how do you get it to clean the entire & not just a small area at the front of the canopy so the driver has full visibility.

    There’s a reason closed cockpits have been talked about by both F1 & Indycar but have been tested/adopted by neither.

    1. @gt-racer
      I was going to post something similar.

      Do you know if the cars have warning lights in the cockpit to indicate when flags are being used, I know they were discussing this a couple of years ago but can’t remember if it was introduced or ever made compulsory.

      1. They have had warning lights in the cockpit for a few years.

        There the 3 lights down the side at the top of the display-
        And in the triangle shape either side of the old dash display-

        You can just about see the yellow light come on/go off either side of the display in this video from Brazil 2012-

        1. Thanks mate !

      2. I read in AmuS (german) that they asked Hulkenberg about the flags and seeing them and he confirmed that both the cockpit lights and the lights next to the track were clearly signallying waved yellows as far back as MP 7, and were clearly visible too.

  39. Bianchi’s crash is rare, but it is not rare that cars spin at same corner in wet condition. A example is 2007 German GP. We should not conclude this case is rare.

  40. Just in case someone hasn’t seen it, here is the link with the telemetry of Bianchi’s accident.
    Note that even though the marshall is waving a green flag inmediately after Sutil’s car, the official telemetry shows that sector still in yellow so there is a major discrepancy there that should be investigated.

    1. There’s no discrepency. The sector which was under waved yellows ends at the following marshal post which is just beyond the scene of the crash. The marshals at the following post wave a green flag to indicate that it’s the start of normal track conditions from that point onwards. Like a speed limit sign on the road, the flag marks the point at which they are allowed to safely accelerate, not before this point. If Bianchi had accelerated at this point, instead of earlier, then even if he did spin there would be no way his car would end up going back up the track and hitting anything to do with Sutil’s car.

      The problem was nothing to do with the flag procedure, and appears to be everything to do with Bianchi putting his foot down on a part of the track where he should have been obeying the flags and driving through slowly. It’s sad to say it, but it seems like it was his own mistake in not following procedure. Though the FIA are partially to blame for allowing drivers to continually push hard through yellow flag zones. This lack of enforcement was just an accident waiting to happen. It’s not hindsight either, it’s something that gets mentioned in race coverage all the time.

  41. Q. Why would a fundamentally ‘safe’ driver like Bianchi be going so fast, because that’s the cause of the accident. Bianchi’s times from lap 39 onwards were getting progressively faster not slower, why? Only Bianchi, Sutil and Gutierrez didn’t slow for the worsening conditions and we know Sutil also crashed.

    A. Probably because he had been hounded by the Sauber of Sutil for 7 laps and because of the spray didn’t see him go off behind. His team are no longer allowed to tell him over the radio the gap to competitors, so although they probably knew he wasn’t in danger of being caught, they couldn’t foresee the tragedy that would result from not telling him, so probably they obeyed the rules and didn’t say anything. I for one will be very interested to see if he was told anything about Sutil’s crash over the radio, I seriously doubt it.

  42. I think that if a car is stranded on track on the outside of a corner, e.g. the firing line for any crash, then a safety car should be deployed until it’s recovered.

    Similarly, any time a tractor or crane is deployed on track a safety car should be deployed.

    They then need to review the rules about lapped cars to allow a short safety car period, e.g. one where the safety car may only be out for 1 or 2 laps. The most logical thing here is that they just drop to the back of the train – but don’t lose a lap in doing so.

    I’m completely opposed to closed canopy as a solution, as I don’t think it would really have helped in this scenario, and worry about issues with fire, jamming canopy closed etc… I think the risks outweigh the rewards.

    Ps. fingers crossed for Bianchi.

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