“Tough road ahead” after losing Bianchi – Hamilton

2015 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says Formula One faces a difficult time as it strives to continue improving safety standards in the wake of Jules Bianchi’s death.

Hamilton, who attended Bianchi’s funeral in Nice yesterday, said the experience was “incredibly hard” for him and his fellow drivers.

“For myself, I wished I had known him better,” said Hamilton. “But from what I knew of him, he was a kind heart with a great spirit and a bright future.”

Hamilton says he expects to see further improvement in safety standards in the wake of Bianchi’s death on Friday.

“Now our sport embarks on a tough road ahead,” he said. “We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport, that these should be respected and that we drivers commit ourselves to the chance that those dangers are there when we step into the car.”

“We have made great progress for safety thus far and I know that the FIA will continue to make steps forward to improve even further.”

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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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35 comments on ““Tough road ahead” after losing Bianchi – Hamilton”

  1. This sort of touches on what I thought was a ridiculous comment from Bernie the other day on Sky Sports. Bernie was asked if he thought that Bianchi’s death would affect the drivers and he said No. Now I can kind of understand in some respects that his death wont stop them going out and racing and that they wont be thinking of him constantly with every gear change throughout the race, They have to be mentally strong and they have a job to do at the end of the day. However Bernie then followed up with “They will get over it quickly” which I just thought was a massively disrespectful comment to make to Bianchi himself and to a number of drivers on the grid who were close to Bianchi, whether that was driving with him in F1 or through the lower formula’s, We have saw quite a few pictures of current drivers at very young ages with Jules, I don’t happen to think that the drivers will get over his death quickly, and it will be harder for some drivers than others.

    What effects his death will have on the sport are yet to be seen but I don’t think his accident or his death will be be forgotten anytime time soon.

    1. Evil Homer (@)
      22nd July 2015, 12:37

      He meant to say “I hope they get over it quickly so it doesn’t distract the sport and cost me money!” I don’t think Bernie would deliberately say something to be disrespectful but he tends just to do it as a default option these days!!

      I like the photo Daniel tweeted on Jules and himself and they were 17 at best I think- like you say, many of these guys have been mates for many years, it will take them some time!

    2. there are many different ways to look at the comment, “They will get over it quickly”.

      the cynic in me sees one valid interpretation. The fact that the FIA does not hold itself responsible for allowing an unnecessary hazard like what those ATV-tractors, speaks volumes to what is not said, or glossed over by public relations speak.

      Some people say, this is racing, and the VSC works, which it is/does. But some risks, do not need to be taken, and those ATV-tractors are dangerous, and the FIA absolved itself about it’s liability with respect to those tractors which have killed 2 people in the last few years. The FIA needs to care about safety, and address the risks to the drivers/marshals, not the profit margins of the share holders (exploding tires).

      1. Did the FIA really not hold itself responsible? Fair enough, they never openly said ‘we are to blame’, but their report on the accident said that there were numerous factors which caused the accident, and as a result they brought in the new rule because they recognised the tractors are a danger and they needed to make them safer to use.

  2. I agree with him. After jules bianchi most of things has changed

  3. I suppose I’ll have to be the first to say it: This is racing. Accidents happen. Deaths happen. It was the first F1 death in a long time, but it most certainly won’t be the last. In the wider world of motorsport there have always been and will continue to be fatal incidents. Drivers accept this risk…. no… more accurately, they embrace it. There is no “safety measure” that can or should eliminate all risk from motorsport. There is no one to blame, no scapegoat. Bernie has seen dozens in F1, and even a regular amateur track driver has seen incidents as they are inherent to the sport (I’ve personally seen quite a few, fortunately none fatal). As much as people like to scapegoat everything through Bernie, he and not Hamilton is absolutely right: Jules is a sad thing but the teams and drivers will move on beginning on Friday. This is what they always do. This is what anyone committed to motorsport would do. This is what Jules would do.

    1. They’ll move on but there’s a difference between that and “getting over it” and not being affected by the accident and death.

    2. Disagree. An F1 car slid under a tractor and killed the driver.

      That doesn’t come under the ‘accidents happen’ category for me.

      1. Quod erat demonstrandum.

    3. As harsh and as incorrect as it may be to say it, I fully agree with you. They accept the dangers, and of course it is sad, and it may be difficult for them, but such is the nature of the business that they have to keep going.

  4. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
    22nd July 2015, 14:17

    All this talk of the atmosphere at the wake and everyone laughing reminded me of an old Only Fools And Horses Episode. The Trotters Grandad had died and whilst everyone was mourning at the funeral the wake a lot of people were laughing and joking.

    It’s fictional of course, and his reaction is specific to his character, but it shows how people use different ways to mourn and for a lot of people they try to hide it. Laughter and smiles is just one common coping mechanism for a lot of people.

  5. People are really over blowing this. This was a freak accident caused by a driver not slowing during a caution in the rain and hitting a removal vehicle. That has never happened before and probably won’t again. It happened almost a year ago.

    1. As long as it acceptable to have a piece of heavy machinery inside the bounds of a racing circuit with nothing between it and the cars but thin air, there will always be the possibility of this type of accident happening again. You can blame the safety car, or Jules’s mistake, but it could have been a hundred other causes that made him or somebody else come off where he did. Anything that can happen will happen.

      1. “it could have been a hundred other causes that made him or somebody else come off where he did.”

        Someone else DID come off at Dunlop Curve, Adrian Sutil of Sauber. That’s why yellow flags. That’s why crane. Dunlop is a known slick exit and acceleration zone when exiting from the uphill S curves at turn 7.

        Not sure why people (especially here!) are trying to blame someone or something. It’s racing. It was a racing incident.

    2. This was a freak accident

      When there have been similar near-misses in the past, it’s not a “freak accident”, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

      caused by a driver not slowing

      He did slow.

      1. Keith, The accident was tragic, I don’t doubt that, but it happened because Bianchi was going too fast. It happened and thankfully it’s only the first death since Senna. If safety had not improved as it had many more would have died. I know I’m at the older end of the spectrum and never enjoyed watching drivers die but it happened and now it doesn’t . Bianchi could have had a great future but there was no guarantee that would be the case. He was a promising talent that was taken away from us like so many before him. Lets not glorify his death with what he may have achieved and just remember his very short time in F1. The sport has always been dangerous and compared with other sports F1 now has an envious safety level. This was not a tragic loss due to bad engineering, track layout or poor marshals. It happened because a driver whilst driving under double yellow flags lost control(when the others didn’t) and was involved in a completely freak accident.

        1. By these standards every accident is a freak accident. Why not eliminate crash helmets? After all, how often does a part fly off and hit a driver in the head? And the drivers won’t lose control as long as they drive slowly enough, so we can remove the crash barriers while we’re at it.

      2. “He did slow.”

        Not enough. He was driving, and he went off.

        This is racing, not driver’s education school. They drive at (and over) the limit. It’s dangerous. 100 percent of F1 drivers know that, without exception.

    3. Its been very close to happening on occasion though.

      I still believe they could protect the base of the tractors from drivers sliding under them. Going too fast under double waved yellows does not mean death is an acceptable penalty.

      While I understand the rationale behind this line of reasoning, to label this as a freak accident is not acceptable. Thankfully the FiA haven’t taken this view and have introduced the VSC.

    4. I find it difficult listening to people who say the driver was going to fast. The driver was taking a calculated risk based on the circuit characteristic and on no way was that heavy duty vehicle part of the circuit perimeter.
      A crash into the barrier would have been survivable.

  6. Many people too easily blaming FIA while personally I think there’s no one or institution can held majority of the blame here. Saying there should be no heavy machinery in the track is easy, but why the same people not complaining about that since, lets say 1994, after F1 really campaigning for safety? The truth is F1 is still probably the safest motorsport out there, just like airplane is still the safest way to travel despite accidents that killed people. And I prefer any changes is thoroughly studied before instead of making changes just for the sake of apparent changes while it probably increasing the risk instead.

    1. You need a study to tell you how a crane on a circuit can be dangerous to an F1 driver?

      It’s simple. People are complaining about them now because Jules hit one and as a result died. Wish everyone had complained about them before so Jules would still be alive.Im sure Plenty of people have foreseen this type of accident, but thanks to people who down play the danger somebody died.

      1. You need a study to tell you how a crane on a circuit can be dangerous to an F1 driver?

        Driving an F1 car is dangerous to an F1 driver. It would seem a ‘study’ is needed to remind people of this basic fact of life.

        1. As mentioned above, sliding under a tractor should not be part of ‘being an F1 driver’, no matter what ‘study’ you wish us to take.

          1. You may as well have said “Dying should not be part of being an F1 driver”, it would have made as much sense.

            There is no such thing as an accident which could not have been prevented. It does not follow that we should do whatever it takes to eliminate the possibility of an accident. After all, I can eliminate the possibility of anyone ever again dying in a plane crash – ban planes.

      2. It’s easy to say a crane is dangerous on track but it’s another to give us the best fix to the problem. Fixed crane? Who will pay for its installation and maintenance? Where it should be put? You want every circuit to buy and put 30-40 fixed crane installation around the circuit at the risk they go bankrupt even faster than they are now?

        Even if there is no heavy machinery, there always a risk of marshals getting hit by the car because no matter what, some people need to get down there to help the driver get out of the car, neutralize the car if the driver can’t properly turn it off, and strap the car to the crane and escort it until it put into a flatbed or behind the barriers. If the marshal get hit instead and he dies what are you would say then? No man should be in the racetrack? Every accident should be red-flagged until the car is safely secured? Or just pay the departed family heavy condolences sum and move on because its not one of the “precious F1 drivers”?

        Remember as long as the car is out there, its a risk, hence the longer it takes to get retrieved means the risk getting higher too.

      3. What if the crane had not been there and Sutil’s car was instead the point of impact? Would people now be complaining that a crane should have been there to remove Sutil’s disabled car?

        The irony is monumental.

        Please keep in mind that this is F1 racing, and like all motorsport everywhere and at all times, it can be extremely dangerous.

  7. Do not get me wrong. I am really saddened by Bianchi’s death. He was a very good driver and I liked him. However we must remember that motorsport is dangerous. F1 is still the safest racing series on the planet, the job done by the likes of Sid Watkins is unbelievable. Accidents happen at every time, do you remember extremely freak accident befalling a marshal in Canada 2013? The only way to ensure there won’t be any fatalities in F1 is close down F1. I am worried that we’ll see more changes to slow the cars even more. They are already much slower in the corners than they were just two years ago. We mustn’t jump on the wagon and – overwhelmed by emotions – saying F1 is too dangerous and we need ‘do this, do that’. What has changed in MotoGP rules after Simoncelli’s death? Nothing. Sometimes the accidents are just unavoidable. F1 has made a fantastic job improving the safety but – especially when it’s in serious danger of losing its popularity with many hardcore fans – can’t overreact. It’s a little bit baffling seeing the FIA panel blaming Jules for his accident but also moving the races at least four hours before sunset.

    1. This was a preventable accident that would have not required ‘closing down F1’.

      The VSC has been an appropriate reaction in the circumstances and although many foresore an accident such as this, we should still be applauding the FiA for actually making a change and introducing it. With the attitude of some comments on here, the reaction seem to be we should have done nothing.

      1. This was a preventable accident ..

        As opposed to what? All accidents are “preventable accidents” in the sense that, after they have occurred, we can always say “If that had been different, this accident would not have happened”.

        1. Exactly. Hindsight simply does not exist in such a way.

  8. I am not a big fan of Bernie’s management style but whoever has seen the movie “1” knows the tremendous job he has done to increase safety in Formula One. I would never suspect him of taking the death of a driver lightly.

    1. I don’t think Bernie takes the death of a driver lightly but his mouth opening before his brain has woken up is a problem, normally doesn’t really make much difference because what he is saying doesn’t matter all that much, his opinions on Putin last year for example. However when he doesn’t seem to think before opening his mouth in a situation like this then his comments are of the mark.

      And because of Bernie’s history of voicing let’s say some outlandish comments, means he doesn’t get a pass on anything he says. Over cynical? Maybe but Bernie has earned that.

  9. and the people want more speed and more blood(?) for 2017 and after!

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