Bianchi’s family “less optimistic” over his condition

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Jules Bianchi’s father describes the effect the continued lack of improvement in his son’s condition is having on the family.


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Bianchi condition 'more terrible than if he had died', says father (ESPN)

"It's unbearable, it's a daily torture. We sometimes feel like we're going crazy, because for me, it certainly is more terrible than if he had died."

Red Bull’s road to recovery - Christian Horner Q&A (F1)

"Like any competitive team we want performance yesterday, and unfortunately with engines the lead time is a lot longer than with the chassis. Patience is something that we are not really good at."

Verstappen: Toro Rosso best handling car after Mercedes (Crash)

"It compromises everything because we have to take off our strong point, which is downforce."

Missing FP1 'hurts Grojsean's pride' (Autosport)

"We'd much rather be a top team that are super well-funded and that sort of thing but it's not all bad."

Jolyon Palmer says he is in contention for a 2016 seat at Lotus (Sky)

"I have been told there could be an opportunity so I just have to try my best and show the team why they should take me."

McLaren needs to make chassis progress too - Honda (F1i)

"It’s very difficult to say (how much potential is in the power unit), but I think not only the power unit side but also the chassis side applied a new aero kit."

Sauber preparing Singapore GP upgrade (Motorsport)

"Keeping up development pace is not going to be easy, but we are introducing around Singapore a bigger upgrade."

India's Mallya suffers legal setback in F1 car ad case (Reuters)

"The country's enforcement directorate, responsible for fighting financial crime, has alleged Mallya entered into an unauthorised agreement in 1995 to advertise the Kingfisher beer brand name on racing cars during Formula One championships between 1996 and 1998."

Not exactly Dan Gurney at the Nurburgring (The Way It Is)

"We've fallen a long way since the heydays of Gurney, Andretti, Phil Hill, Richie Ginther and Carroll Shelby, and on current evidence there's nothing to suggest that any of the great international feats achieved by these men will ever be repeated."


Comment of the day

It looks like even Kimi Raikkonen’s most ardent supporters are beginning to think it could be the end of the line for him:

I truly like Kimi Raikkonen, he’s probably one of my favourite drivers. I think he’s deserving of more than the single championship he has and when he’s on form he’s easily one of the best talents in F1. I was gutted when he left, and then thrilled when he returned with Lotus, and then back with Ferrari.

That said though it’s pretty clear Raikkonen isn’t having a good time. He simply doesn’t seem to be on the same level as Alonso was last year or Vettel is this year. For a huge fan of him this is naturally disappointing, but it’s still pretty undeniably obvious. Now everyone makes mistakes but Alonso and Vettel have made him look distinctly average and the flair he showed in his ‘first career’ – or even when he was with Lotus – doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

I’d love Raikkonen to stay with Ferrari but realistically if they want to challenge Mercedes they need a strong second car, and last year that wasn’t Raikkonen and it still isn’t.

If Ferrari choose to replace him I would have suggested either Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg or Daniel Ricciardo – just as this poll does. Ricciardo and Bottas are doing excellent jobs at Red Bull and Williams respectively although I can’t see Ferrari pairing Ricciardo with Vettel again or taking Bottas as he could do with another year or two to really underline he’s a tip for the future.

For me Hulkenberg is the right choice. I thought the guy was damn good when he first arrived in F1 and that was solidified from his single year at Sauber, where he virtually single-handedly wrestled that dog of a car into places it shouldn’t have been. Sauber scored 57 points that year – 51 of them coming from Hulkenberg alone. His win at Le Mans just underlines that the man is an excellent talent that for one or a number of reasons just hasn’t had the car to shine and it really is about time he got that chance.

As much as I love Raikkonen, I do think it’s time for him to move on.
Adam (@Rocketpanda)

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On this day in F1

Former F1 drives Derek Bell and Hans Stuck shared victory in the 1000km of the Hockenheimring, a round of the World Sportscar Championship, 30 years ago today. However the major talking point of the race was the huge fire which broke out in the pits when the eventual winners came in to refuel, foreshadowing the similar conflagration involving Benetton at the 1994 German Grand Prix.

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44 comments on “Bianchi’s family “less optimistic” over his condition”

  1. Gordon Kirby nails it again, the way it is V the way it was.

    1. So true @hohum . The era we grew up in has passed. I too hold no real hope that F1 or IndyCar will be fixed in a way to return to the era of the driver. This is not lamenting the good old days, things change, time moves on and you take the good with the bad. This is just recognition that some of the technology in racing today has advanced to a point of no return.

      In open wheel racing we could have engines easily churning out 1500 horsepower (or more), aero and ground effects that would be like racing on rails and other improvements that would make the driver even less important. And less likely to survive the G-forces exerted.

      So, lines are drawn by different racing series on how best to tame the power, aero and other technologies while still providing competitive racing. Some of the remedies create dangerous pack racing, others create processional racing. In-between is difficult to achieve.

      Pack racing may be thrilling for some folks to watch but I fear for the drivers. Some “fans” have told drivers who have spoken out against pack racing and for safety to “grow a pair”. All the drivers racing in or on any kind of vehicle already have more courage and conviction than all those who would write such rubbish put together.

      I think Gordon Kirby is right, that we have moved into “a different era and a different definition of the sport”. So glad he brought Dan Gurney and Emmo and others in regards to the art of motor racing. Maybe some drivers still have that art, but little chance to show it.

      Though it has changed and not always for the better, F1 still fascinates me. It is amazing to me that different cars and drivers can go around a 2 to 3 mile long track and be only tenths or hundredths of a second apart. The technology is remarkable.

      Maybe those in charge can find a sweet spot in the technologies and regulations to swing the emphasis a bit back toward the driver. Not holding my breath, but I’ll be watching.

    2. Alonso’s comment on feeling like an aeroplane pilot managing the car rather than driving it seems to have agreement from elite American drivers as well, at least those with experience driving a previous generation car with less downforce and driver aids. Rick Mears, from another Kirby article:

      “To me, I want to drive the car. That’s what I love doing and that’s what I get paid for. There’s driving and there’s guiding, and they’re two different things. I like to drive it, not guide it. The more driver aids we have, the less input.
      “To me, the fun part was: give me more power than I can use and let me figure out how to use it better than the next guy.”

  2. Sean (@spaceman1861)
    14th July 2015, 0:20

    :( #forzaBianchi I feel terrible for his family :(

    1. @spaceman1861 – Me too. There are some things worse than death and his family is suffering through a situation on the edge of death and hope. I hope and pray he and his family have as much grace and comfort as possible.

    2. I am really sad to see a potential world champion and his family suffering like this. I wish them all the best and my thoughts are always with them.

    3. Does anyone know whether Manor or FIA cover his medical bills at least partially?

      1. Probably insurance.

      2. @zimkazimka I think @psynrg is right, all drivers are obligated to have insurance.

    4. His father seems very depressed lately; that’s coming across in interviews. I can’t help feeling he should be given some space and not feel he has to talk to the media.

    5. I only hope that the family aren’t being forced to keep Jules alive due to external influences.

      1. I don’t think FIA have that kind of influence. They still might get sued with or without a death occurring.

    6. Nascar driver Rick Baldwin was eleven years in coma, and died 1997. He has crash in 1986 at Michigan International Speedway, resulting in massive head injuries, similar to Bianchi.

  3. I’d really like to see the next Formula E cars spec’d with closed cockpits. It’s a young enough formula to not suffer people complaining about ‘DNA’ and ‘history’, and would serve as a test bed to work out suitability for a general roll out.

    If medical science and F1 trackside operations hadn’t progressed so much Bianchi’s crash would have likely been a race weekend fatality, and caused a much greater impetus for change.

    1. Do you really think a closed cockpit would have been effective in that situation ? I don’t.

      1. @hohum, likewise, the evidence that I have seen suggests that Bianchi would still have suffered from severe head injuries due to the extremely abrupt halt that his car came to and that a closed cockpit would not have mitigated against Bianchi’s injuries in this situation.

      2. @hohum @anon @grat

        You’re right, I’d forgotten Bianchi’s crash was the DAI one and De Villota’s the direct impact with a vehicle one.

    2. @muzzleflash It’s a good idea, but the problem with Formula E is the powertrain is completely experimental – they’re already even more worried about the car discharging residual current into marshals or pit crew than they are in WEC and F1, given the amounts of amps involved (and how most of the pit crew are dressed for a Sunday afternoon at the beach).

      Intentionally involving a fixed (no matter how loosely) piece of the chassis in any escape attempt would only invite an accident.

    3. I’d really like to see the next Formula E cars spec’d with closed cockpits.

      @muzzleflash With the car swapping (Which many are already complaining about taking too long) I can’t see them even thinking about closed cockpits.

      1. PeterG Isn’t there a minimum pit stop time that they have to wait for? So wouldn’t the extra time needed by closed cockpits not be a problem?

    4. Unless they make the cockpits out of transparent unobtanium, there’s little to no chance that any substance capable of withstanding the impact that Bianchi’s car suffered would allow the driver any degree of visibility.

      Active suspension, however, might have prevented the accident from occurring at all. But that somehow removes “the driver” from “the racing”, because it allows the F1 drivers access to the same technology in road cars today.

      I wonder how many more Bianchi-like accidents we’re going to see as people try to make F1 cars more difficult to drive?

      1. having a tractor that is just high enough to drive under is the principal culprit in Jules’ incident. Just like having a truck “just high enough” next an F1 car being operated, caused the life altering injury for Maria de Villota.

  4. The stewards of 2014 Japanese GP should apologize for Bianchi family :(

    1. @malik I can’t see why the stewards should apologize. According to the investigation it was the fact that Bianchi drove too fast that caused the unfortunate accident. Plus double waved yellows were out so the drivers were aware that they should be driving slower, and a safety car would have been a bit too much. After all, this accident was the reason the VSC was introduced this year.

      1. @papalotis: If safety car was deployed after Sutil incident, the outcome would have been different. Stewards bear the responsibility to delpoy safety car.
        And please read this:

        1. @malik With the perspective of hindsight then yes the SC probably should have been deployed, However looking at things from the perspective of before that accident the SC was not usually deployed for the sort of fairly minor single car accident in a place with a reasonable amount of runoff where cars could be cleared quickly.

          The SC for an accident like that would only have been called if it was going to take a while to clean up the car/debris or if the car was going to be difficult to clear. In Sutil’s case they were only something like 20 seconds away from having the accident scene clear when Bianchi went off so they would have had the accident site clear in around 2 minutes after Sutil’s initial off, No grounds for a SC using the standards of the time.

          Yes it was wet but not really dangerously so & I’ve certainly seem them race in worse & in fact I seem to recall most of the other leading drivers saying at the time that conditions were not that bad & had been a little worse earlier on in the race so again the conditions were not bad enough to call the SC at that point.

        2. @malik If they’d cancelled the race when it looked likely it would have been wet the outcome would have been different. If Bianchi had been going slower the outcome would have been different. If Bianchi had been going faster and gone off at a different corner the outcome would have been different. All the stewards and race control can do is take reasonable steps to minimise the risks, based upon what they new. I believe they made those decisions, and carried out those actions, in good faith, in a high pressure, rapidly changing environment.

          Finger pointing at a group of people who tried their best, and probably feel terrible about it, is more than a little pathetic.

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      14th July 2015, 5:50

      I think you should apologise for that comment, because clearly you’ve got no clue if you think the stewards were at fault.

      1. I apologize, I meant race control

        1. Same applies.

  5. In my wishful mind, this is where they would have replaced Kimi with Jules, he having impressed yet again in testing, as well as dominating his teammate, and as scoring points. I’m sorry, it just makes me sadder than anything else I have known. Its a cruel sport sometimes, and for Marrusia/Manor, doubly so.

  6. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
    14th July 2015, 2:00

    That Kirby article should wake up Americans from their fallacy, nothing against the people, but as racing fans, they are so terribly driven by the wrong concepts. That crash at Daytona could have ended in disaster, yet they admire their American Nascar “racers” (or wrestlers?) for punching each other with their cars and sometimes outside the cars too. It may be fun to see these wrangles with stunts on a ring, but if human lives are exposed to danger “just because”, they will eventually get a nightmarish weekend any day. I hope Haas gets Americans more focused in real racing and less in crashes and explosions. They haven’t learned a thing after losing Wheldon.

    1. @omarr-pepper – Great article by Kirby. Growing up in the Clark, Gurney, Mario, Stewart, Hill(s), Emmo and many more I really appreciate what he is saying. Alas, it won’t wake up those “fans” who think plate racing and pack racing is the best.

      After the Fontana IndyCar race I was on the site watching “fans” tell drivers who spoke up about the pack racing to grow a pair or get out. The most dangerous thing they’ve probably ever done was fall out of their chair while vigorously pounding their keyboard. Myself and a few others were bringing up the safety issues and were told a few times to just stop watching if we don’t like it.

      Like anywhere else, there are true racing fans here, and those who want the extreme danger and risk factor or they are easily bored. Unfortunately it seems like there are fewer fans that are aware of the racing era Gordon Kirby so eloquently wrote about.

  7. The DTM crash Dani Juncadella is complaining about on twitter:

  8. I feel bad about Binachi’s condition. It has been 9 months since that happened and there has not been much to tell something good can come out of it.

    Hopefully he will at least return to be a son to his father even if his career in F1 is gone.

    Moments like these show how cruel life can be. A budding star and possibly replacing Kimi next year; suddenly the hospital becomes his world :(

  9. On the topic of Kimi. I find it very odd that he was quite fast and confident in a Lotus, but then suddenly became mediocre at Ferrari. At the same time I remember similar posts about Massa on this very board during his last year with Ferrari. He was considered past his prime and mediocre, it was time for him to go, and compared to Alonso he was just blah with occasional spark. Virtually the same stuff we are hearing about Kimi now. Well, Massa moved to Williams and is doing quite nicely there (team orders notwithstanding).

    1. @zimkazimka
      Perhaps Grosjean and Bottas aren’t really on the level of Alonso and Vettel?

    2. I predicted that this would happen – he would get beaten and end up like Massa.

      However, somebody else pointed this out yesterday I think. Kimi went downhill already in the last part of 2013, so he was already having problems even before Ferrari.

    3. The Lotus 2012/13 was a good car, then the regs changed for 2014 and they went backwards

    4. @zimkazimka, it could be said that Kimi had the advantage at Lotus that he was given preferential treatment – he was given the first opportunities to try out new development parts, and in the opening flyaway races, where Lotus could only bring out one set of development parts, was always given the right to the new upgrade package first.

      He also had a preferential pre-season test schedule – being allocated slightly more running time and also being given a higher weighting when developing new components – and sometimes even had bespoke development parts (Lotus developed a steering rack for street tracks specifically for Kimi).

      Now, it is also likely that the recent development direction that Ferrari have gone in, particularly with regards to their front suspension design, has worked against Kimi – in 2014 in particular, it seems that the front suspension layout lead to increased front tyre wear, and we know that Kimi is very sensitive to a loss of front end grip.

  10. I think Gordon Kirby highlights some very telling points about the state of the American motor racing scene. If I may offer my extended view on motor racing in general. From what I can tell, the reason motor racing existed, before it was a professional sport, in its early days, it decided what motor vehicle was the fastest, and road racing was born. Then there were iconic events like Mila Milliga (sp?) and Lemans that tested reliability of those motor vehicles.

    From out of the depths of the tolemans, the benettons, the plucky minardi back markers, some select drivers stood out from the rest of the challenges and it was that which we are seemingly focused on in present day motor racing. I’d argue that motor racing should be about what is the fastest and most reliable car, which is why I like the current formula 1 format, because that is exactly what we have at the minute, but everyone is up in arms because their favourite driver (if not a HAM/ROS fan) have not a realistic chance of winning the championship. Time for some cement ladies and gentlemen, not everyone’s driver can win the WDC every year, and in fact, only a select few will ever win a race, let alone string enough together to win a WDC… Sometimes, pure sport is dull, sometimes pure sport is one sided, sometimes pure sport produces predictable outcomes, and sometimes we watch a Monaco 2015, or a Malaysia 2015, or even a Spa 2014 where we are surprised, astonished and even… entertained… by what we have witnessed. This is pure sport, this is motor racing.

    1. @dragoll This.

      The sport is all. The “show” is just a lucky by-product. The never ending quest by Ecclestone for more and more money is distorting this picture, not helped by the shallow clamouring for more overtaking, more winners, more sparks. When Arsenal won the Premier League without losing a single match, I don’t recall calls to restructure the sport, declaring it a “crisis”. Instead, they were celebrated, as a team that had competed and beaten all they faced.

      I believe F1 should hold true to it’s core as a sport. If that makes it entertaining (I believe it will) then fantastic. If it doesn’t attract the viewing figures required to attract the money to keep it the global sport it has become, then I will be sad – but that would be a clear sign that our sport has had it’s day, and show bow out proudly rather than whoring itself out for money to struggle on as soulless mockery of what it once was.

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