Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Jerez, 2014

Bianchi’s crash “a very shocking moment” for drivers

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Jerez, 2014Formula One drivers said they were all hoping for the best for Jules Bianchi following his crash in Japan, but admitted to being shocked by the circumstances of his accident.

During a sombre press conference in Sochi Felipe Massa described the Japanese Grand Prix as “the worst race of my life”.

“Worse than race of my accident because I didn’t remember anyway,” he said, referring to the crash during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix which left him with head injures.

Massa said thoughts of Bianchi were never far from his mind at the moment. “Every day you can just be thinking about him, thinking about Jules, and a very difficult weekend for all of us. Maybe tomorrow get a little bit better because at least you are working, at least you have something to think about, to put inside your brain.”

“We try to race and to do the best we can for him, for his family,” he added. “But anyway it was the worst race of my life.”

Bianchi is a member of Ferrari’s driver development programme, and Fernando Alonso said thoughts of him were uppermost in their minds too.

“Obviously all our thoughts are with Jules,” he said. “We have a huge respect for our work but when there are big accidents there are no words describe how bad you can feel.”

“It was a tough weekend and right now we are here in a difficult weekend again – emotionally, very difficult – ready to race, to race for him, being as professional as we can but definitely our mind, or my mind, is with him in this moment and praying for him.”

Jenson Button said “it’s a very horrible feeling knowing what one of your fellow drivers went through and is going through”.

“I think the only thing to say and the most important thing is that we wish him well and our thoughts are with him. We all feel the same in the Formula One world.”

Bianchi suffered a severe brain injury after crashing into a recovery vehicle which was moving Adrian Sutil’s crashed car. The Sauber driver said it was hard to put his feelings into words.

“Of course a very shocking moment for everyone, for myself and nothing really to say about it,” he said. “I think probably everyone have seen it, it’s just we have to pray right now. This is all we can do. We can hope that we get some better news.”

Sutil said there was a “grey cloud” over the sport ahead of its first race in Russia this weekend, but the drivers will “try to be professional enough and professional to focus on the race again”.

“It’s probably going to be good to get rid a little bit of this mood,” he added. “But still, yes, it affects everyone.”

“My thoughts are the same, we pray for the best and we race for him.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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Posted on Categories 2014 F1 season, 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, Jules Bianchi

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  • 19 comments on “Bianchi’s crash “a very shocking moment” for drivers”

    1. The news are not good but we all hope he’s coming back stronger than ever. I lost a fellow race driver few years ago, a good friend. He died in qualifying, in front of his father and all of us. A tragedy that will never be forgotten and a pain that will never heal. Destiny is always in the hands of God. Come on Jules, stay strong

      1. I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your mate- what racing category where you competing in?

    2. Maybe it’s time the Drivers all sat around and agreed that during periods where the track is not dry and double waved yellows are in operation they all agree to go at a certain low speed, so no one gains or loses advantage.

      A car out of control that was under control, only gets that way with either mechanical,driver error or something that reduces the grip the tyre has upon a surface area. While other outside things can influence the outcome of losing control, reducing speed gives greater opportunity for a quicker recovery or less of an impact.

      As unfortunate as Bianchi’s accident is, and my hopes go with him and his close family and friends, Drivers also need to be responsible too and no amount of safety procedures or measures will help if drivers continue to not observe that double waved yellows means be ready to stop. In the dry you stand more of a chance, in the wet going around a bend on worn tyres at 200kph is not safe practice.

      If they can not all agree, then the FIA need to step in a make a regulation they have to adhere to as well as all the other suggestions being made in procedural practice.

      1. I wonder if the GPDA has enough force to put forth a rule like slow zones.

        1. hopefully so. obviously the drivers slow down, but not to say 80kmh or pitlane speed limit. implementing a slow zones using pit lane speed limiter suerly would not be very hard to do, the drivers just have to slow down for a line like they do for the pitlane, then release the button when they exit the zone, no gain and no loss for any driver unless they don’t slow down quick enough for the slow zone, and get same penalty as speeding in the pit lane. circuits can be arranged into multiple slow zones, with a certain coloured line running across the track.

          1. It would be difficult I suspect because of the narrow temperature window of the current tyres. A few corners at 80km/h might make them cold enough to be dangerous if accelerating quickly back up to racing speed (Particularly in damp/wet conditions).

            Don’t forget there’s no need for tyre blankets in Endurance/GT racing. It’s going to be a couple of years before F1 drops tyre blankets at least.

      2. Glimiril, this is racing. It’s always dangerous. Think about the times the cars lost their wings at top speed and nothing happened. I happened to go in the wall at more than 200 km/h, for a locked wheel under braking, but I had no scratches. Looking at the car, I could be easily dead. I was lucky, like many others have been lucky before and after me. Racing on a straight line or in a corner, on wet, dry, snow, sand is always dangerous. When you race, you know it

        1. I totally understand that it is racing, I love racing. Yet when you are warned that in an area something has happened to bring out double waved yellows, you have maybe in the 1 minute, 40-50secs a warning from your team, then it is reckless driving to continue in the same fashion. I am not singling anyone out they all do it, does it take a marshal to die or something. Of course it’s dangerous a lot of talk of making it safer involve outside of drivers control things.

          If it was just a case of the driver and their mistake, then fine, but it is not, is it?

          I ask you a question though…if you were to go round a bend at speed and lose control and it was found that no mechanical or extreme thing had happened to make the vehicle lose control. Do you think you would have an outpouring of sympathy and it’s not your fault, we should of made sure on that bend there was nothing for you to crash into? or do you think you would be facing charges of reckless driving, driving without due care and attention, causing damage to property and maybe even man-slaughter?

          All I am saying, is let the drivers observe the need to be responsible, take the emotion out of the situation and they can carry on racing after the Double waved yellow area. They then would be acting responsibly like any other human being would have to.

          1. I think it’s a bit premature to go accusing anyone of anything until the accident has been fully investigated. The typhoon, the darkness, the positioning of the flag sectors, the drainage of the track, and the lack of Tarmac runoff area all seem to be contributing factors here… Driver error might not be a major factor at all. Essentially, what is needed is extreme caution when humans or recovery vehicles are on track (either safety car or red flagging every time there are unaccounted for objects on the track would be prudent and save lives.) By unaccounted for, I mean marshals or non-safety surfaces, like several tonnes of steel at head height. I have seen so many crashes in F1 these past few years that by all rights should have been fatalities but we’re mitigated by good design of cars and barriers that crashes seem commonplace and benign now. After this one, we all should remember how many have laid down their lives to teach us lessons in racing safety and honour these losses by never allowing these kinds of things to be needlessly repeated.

      3. The regulations are already there. Double waved yellows means slow down and be prepared to stop. This has been ignored by the drivers and the stewards for much to long.

        1. First order of business for the FIA is to determine if the (relevant) current rules aren’t being enforced, and THEN ask if further rules/modifications are necessary, as part of a careful and dispassionate analysis of the crash.

          It’s true that racing is inherently dangerous, but here it may have been especially problematic because of the presence of the recovery vehicle and marshals may have served to enhance the danger. If there’s no recovery vehicle than there’s still a crash, but the question is whether and how it would have changed the result. I’m not sure anyone has a good, solid answer for that yet.

        2. @ztubert I believe that it is not that simple. Just like teams often ask the FIA to clarify technical rules (“Would it be OK if we did this with the car?”), drivers also often need to know more details about what is allowed on the circuit e.g. where the acceptable track limits are.

          “Be prepared to stop” is a very blurred rule. For instance, how short should the expected braking distance be? One driver will understand that he should go 20 kph, another driver will think that 200kph equals “being prepared to stop” because it is not like he is driving 350 kph after all.

        3. the regulation is there, but the enforcement is not, the only way they enforced it is by making sure the driver doesn’t set a fast sector time, which is not enough at all.

    3. I think this one really hit home to the drivers as in fact this accident could have been anyone. Some have argued that a higher down force car at the front would have faired better, maybe, but maybe not either- if you aquaplane I am not sure a better car fares better really- thoughts welcome??

      F1 has been very safe for 20 years and we have had some huge crashes over the years and drivers usually walk away ok. So the cars do their job well (Webber is a great example).

      Over the last ten years or so two stand out to me. Massa being hit by the spring in 2009 and Alonso at al in Spa 2012.

      Massa didn’t crash (well he did after of course) but made no mistake and was hit in the head by a flying object- a freak thing and he was as unlucky as he was lucky. Do it again 10000 times and it will miss him.

      Fernando a bit different in Spa 2012. This was nasty!! This is the crash the FIA can do nothing about! If Romain’s tyre hit him in the side of the head (it was only about 12inches away) it would have killed him. Thankfully it missed but as soon as an F1 car leaves the ground its a missile!

      With Jules I have been very cautious to lay blame as we really don’t know data just yet. But a 10 tonne vehicle on a fast race track is not the right answer- if he had hit tyres we would be talking about a bit crash and looking at Russia!!

      Monaco have proper cranes (no tractor) outside track that can pull car and the cranes don’t move onto the track. It must be a better option as they are behind the barrier and can retrieve a car from behind the barriers in safety. I know it less than fool proof as a Marshall still needs to hook up the car, but it must be better!!

      1. “it would have killed him”

        I advise you watch Jos Verstappen and Eric Bernard careering into Martin Brundle’s head at Interlagos 1994. Not to say that this kind of impact is safe, but a fatality is a quick conclusion to make

        1. if I remember correctly, that was a bit different. They landed on top of his car, rather than having the full weight of the car narrowly miss while moving horizontally.

        2. Martin Brundle took a similar blow to the head at Monaco 86 when Tambay flipped over him. Considering some of the accidents over he suffered it is amazing he survived his F1 career.

    4. How abut instead of safety car, where laps will get wasted, red flag and all cars head to pit lane like they did in Japan. Then they take back to the track and formation lap until they get to safety car in line.

    5. so would a fighter aircraft-style canopy haves saved Alan Stacey or Jochen Rindt?

      seems a tyre or piece of suspension essentially becomes a low speed bullet-like projectile, a car landing on top of another or going airborne sure to land with the force of a 1000 kg dambuster bomb;

      not sure even parachutes and ejection seats can save a driver in those circumstances;

      the image of Gilles sailing bodily past a camera after his car disintegrated still haunts like the beheaded Stacey motoring on aimlessly…

      perhaps the drivers need to be immersed in energy-absorbing cocoons and then have the designers build cars around them;

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