Ten-man FIA panel to examine Bianchi crash

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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The FIA has set up an Accident Panel to review Jules Bianchi’s accident at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Bianchi suffered serious head injuries in the crash two weeks ago, when his Marussia hit a recovery vehicle.

Professor Gerard Saillant, who has visited Bianchi in Japan and is president of the FIA institute and medical commission, will be part of the ten-man Accident Panel.

Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali, the former team principals of Mercedes and Ferrari respectively, are among those on the panel.

Emerson Fittipaldi, the president of the FIA Drivers’ Commission, and Alexander Wurz, the president of the GPDA, will also participate.

Also on the panel are Gerd Ennser, Eduardo de Freitas, Roger Peart and Antonio Rigozzi. Peter Wright, the chairman of the FIA Safety Commission, will serve as president of the panel.

The panel’s findings will be presented on December 3rd at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Doha, Qatar.

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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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25 comments on “Ten-man FIA panel to examine Bianchi crash”

  1. Looks like no stone will be left unturned with people like that on the panel, good for the FIA

  2. As much as I respect many of these people, and some are either not FIA affiliated or represent other interests (the GPDA, for instance), I still feel this should be an independent inquiry. I don’t think the FIA has anything to hide, either, and personally believe that this was a terrible, unfortunate accident that made apparent small deficiencies in safety – fine margins. But for transparency’s sake, and the credibility of an organisation that is frequently criticised, it would have been a welcome to keep it ‘outside the family’.

    1. @splittimes – I’m leaving my judgement open until hearing what this committee comes up with as a result of the investigation and recommendations to prevent this type of accident in the future.

      I wonder what organization could properly handle this type of specialized investigation outside of the FIA appointing a panel?

    2. An independent inquiry would take a lot longer, FIA need a relatively short investigation so that any recommendations can incorporated into next year’s regulations without disadvantaging or incurring large costs on the competitors and any incompetence or blame can be exposed quickly. If there are questions left open or someone feels an injustice has been done then an independent inquiry could be called.

      1. An independent inquiry isn’t better. More people to view the situation the better. Looks like Bianchi’s condition is going downhill if this is happening. Not standard procedure if you ask me. I don’t think you can put anyone to blame so why investigate aswell?
        They are always trying to make F1 safer. Here’s a few ideas from me.
        1) Open up the doors for a wider and more developed car
        2) Give the tyre company no limits as to how good teh tyre can be giving maximum safty and speed.
        3) Road surfaces have to regarded as “safe” the same with curbs.
        Motorsport is dangerous. Its not a game. These things happen. WEC manages this really well. If you ask me WEC is better than F1. It’s just not appreciated enough.

        1. Or here’s a really simple recommendation, 1) Make sure ALL of the drivers follow the rules in relation to the flags and are heavily penalised (20 second stop go minimum) if they breach the rule.
          Initially I held the view that Bianchi slowed too much, lost downforce and subsequently aquaplaned. Having since seen the video and the immense speed that he went into the back of the tractor at, it is pretty obvious that he didn’t slow down and be ready to stop at all.

          Oh and here’s another idea. On a wet track (regardless HOW wet) if a removal vehicle is required to remove a car or object from the track or track surround, neutralise the track first with a safety car, and remove any chance that this type of incident can occur in the future.

          1. its a good point but wet races aren’t wet races for every yellow flag a safety car comes out. That just makes it Nascar like and to me that isnt something to try and follow if you look at how many accidents there are in that and also in indycar.

    3. Marc Saunders
      22nd October 2014, 12:39

      I agree, but the job you point at is being done by the Japanese police. Tha FIA comission will do an internal report analyzing the facts gathered.

  3. Note that WEC race director Eduardo de Freitas is part of the panel but F1 race director Charlie Whiting is not. I think that’s a good move. The panel needs to review the decisions that were made by race control during the grand prix (and I’m not prejudging whether they were correct or not). By having de Freitas on there they have someone with suitable experience to do that, without having Whiting himself on the panel, which of course might be seen as a conflict of interest.

    Just 12 months ago de Freitas tried to run a race in similarly difficult conditions in Japan (at Fuji) and took the tough decision to abandon it before any green flag laps had been completed.

    1. Good to notice that Keith. There is some solid knowledge in this panel.

      However, I do see a lot of people who have some kind of relationship with todt (Brawn – part of Ferrari, Salliant – close to Ferrari and Todt, Dominicali – took over from Todt at Ferrari, Wright – part of the FIA, Freitas – race director of FIA mandated WEC). On the other hand, with regards to motorsports, race procedures etc, its a solid team. And both Brawn and Dominicali, as well as Fittipaldi should be independant enough to make it objective, I guess

    2. Just a small correction: it’s just Eduardo Freitas, not Eduardo de Freitas.

      And yeah, that panel is quite solid. I can’t wait to know the results of the investigation.

  4. That sounds good. The FIA is under a lot of strain following Bianchi’s accident, and them not acting will just cause people to draw their own conclusions from that one fan video (which is sadly already happening). I’m sure they will get to the bottom of this and I hope people have the decency to wait for the commission’s findings to be published and respect their results.

  5. Wow I was a bit cynical as first (ie FIA wanting to cover their own butts first), but that panel is impressive.

    An unusual +1 for the FIA today

  6. ColdFly F1 (@)
    20th October 2014, 17:53

    Well done; good names included who will not bend over easily.
    It seems the FIA has listened to the initial criticism.

    I hope that the panel can come to a clear (unanimous) conclusion, and does not fall apart.

    1. I don’t think unanimous is required. I would rather think having varied opinions and having them clearly communicated would be far better, provided the opinions are not completely opposed @coldfly

  7. That is definitely a step in the right direction. I hope that all the findings and conclusions will be made public.

    I believe that the panel should also review the current safety standards in F1 in general and critically review the questionable decisions that have been made earlier this year, such as the refusal to deploy a safety car after Sutil’s crash in Germany. It is very important to understand the main safety risks in the modern F1 as well as the possible solutions.

  8. The crane was at the wrong side of the barriers: Solution- Crane no longer allowed beyond F1 track perimeter. Case Closed.

    1. Then how will cars be removed from the circuit? Particularly where it is not possible to have overhead cranes?

      Even where there are cranes, how can the marshals be protected? This incident could quite easily have involved one or more marshals being hit and killed. Taking your argument, there should be no marshals beyond the perimeter either, but then we come back to how can cars be removed? Should a safety car be called out every time a car needs removing?

      The response needs to be proportionate. A crash structure around the tractor to stop incidents like this particular one would be one solution, and forcing cars to slow down more under double waved yellows another.

      But I don’t have all the facts, so these are just possibilities in my own opinion.

  9. Is this panel limited to reporting on Suzuka 2014 ?

  10. This is a positive move, a crash of this magnitude with the terrible outcome it has had needs a full investigation. Being vigilant of the dangers in motorsport and doing everything possible to prevent further accidents must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. I welcome the investigation and hope for full transparency in the review process and findings.

    As regards to those sitting on the panel, I would have liked a few experts that are in no way affiliated with motorsport. This is just my own opinion and while I fully understand that there needs to be a significant amount of people with different perspectives within motorsport on the panel – from drivers to engineers to team principles to safety delegates – I think it could benefit from the eyes of someone who could bring a non-motor-sport influenced perspective on things, if only to ensure that there is one person on the panel as detached from the sport and any conflicting interests or personal feelings about F1 as possible.

  11. Way too many presidents. Lots of confidence and social skills, not enough data handling. It’s either window dressing, or the committee from hell.

    1. I couldn’t agree more!

  12. For the first time in many years FIA did the absolute right thing with selecting the right persons to find out what actually happened
    I hope this is first of many right decisions than a once at a life time

  13. The FIA’s hypocrisy. Months ago, when we were debating the sanity of standing restarts in F1 races, I mentioned the fact that because the last fatality during a race was two decades ago, people have not experienced or forgotten the impact. Standing re-starts will be hugely dangerous for reasons already explained, but the FIA wants it, in the name of “entertainment”, I guess.

    In this age of politically correctness, this panel will leave “no stone unturned”. But the FIA is just placating the public. They should be more responsible.

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