Drainage improved at corner where Bianchi crashed

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Drainage has been improved at several points around the Suzuka circuit including the corner where Jules Bianchi crashed during last year’s race.

Bianchi suffered serious head injuries after striking a trackside recovery vehicle and died nine months after the race.

The Marussia driver lost control of his car at the Dunlop Curve (turn seven) while rain was falling on the track late in the grand prix. Adrian Sutil had spun off at the same place one lap earlier.

For this year’s race drainage at the corner has been modified “by the use of porous asphalt strips and ‘U’ drains on the edges of the track”, according to the FIA. The same work has also been carried out at turns one, three, six, 13 (Spoon) and 18.

Following its investigation in Bianchi’s crash the FIA identified the build-up of water on the circuit as a contributory factor in Bianch, noting that “the semi-dry racing line at turn seven was abruptly narrowed by water draining onto the track and flowing downhill along it”. Among the outcomes of the investigation was a decision to review guidelines on circuit drainage.

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    Keith Collantine
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    16 comments on “Drainage improved at corner where Bianchi crashed”

    1. Good. This is something that really helps safety. Off course now the FIA should also be looking for the same issue at many other tracks where this occurs

    2. Perhaps ensure we don’t race in decreasing light an perhaps also ensure that there are actual speed limits at yellow flags. Implement this with a pit-limiter style function where they simply cannot go faster in that area.

      1. @chrischrill one of the outcomes of the investigation was a new rule which means that the scheduled start time must be at least 4 hours before sunset (except for night races) so that covers the decreasing light issue, and they tested a speed limit at the end of last year, and found the virtual safety car to be the best solution, and that is basically a yellow speed limit except it applies to the entire track (meaning no sudden deceleration before the yellow area).

      2. Errr, they already made these changes, have you been paying attention?

    3. Perhaps the race organizers have learned something from last year. DON’T PLAY CHICKEN WITH A TYPHOON! It was ludicrous to have the race go ahead when Phanfone was hours away from hitting Honshu.

      1. It was ludicrous to have the race go ahead

        Not really, Conditions were not actually that bad & i’ve certainly seen them race in far worse. Many of the drivers even said post race that even as the rain got heavier towards the end they still felt that conditions were safe.

        It wasn’t as if if you had a situation like during the heavy downpour during the race at Silverstone in 2008 or the Nurburgring in 2007 when lots of cars were flying off the track. 2 cars went off, 2 cars that were still on older intermediate tyres when most others were pitting for full wets & that seemed to be coping with the conditions just fine.

    4. It frustrates me really, looking back before the race last year, Bernie was refusing to allow the start time to be moved because of the weather forecast. There were so many comments on this very website saying how bad it would be if Bernie’s ignorance cause a bad accident. And ultimately it caused a death.

      1. Bernie was refusing to allow the start time to be moved because of the weather forecast.

        It was actually the circuit owners that refused to move the start because they were concerned that many fans wouldn’t be at the circuit in time if the start time was moved.

        1. Which is a valid concern. If you are gonna move big events like this you need to inform everyone well ahead that stuff like that can happen and they need to be prepared and there well in time to be sure not to miss it.

    5. I’ve had enough of the emoting, to be brutally honest, and I’m glad to see some actual, solid, real-life changes. Kudos to Manor for keeping it in-house this weekend, at least, even if I’m dreading the TV coverage.

      I have to say @strontium that from some points of view yes the rain / Bernie caused the accident, but the crane caused the death.

    6. In the Netherlands all major roads have by now been resurfaced with “open” asphalt that allows the water to drain away. It’s almost like driving on a dry road when it’s raining. Apart from the rain on the windows of course.

      I was wondering why they don’t use asphalt like that for racing tracks, but I assumed it was mostly because the open structure makes it less durable. I guess we will finally get to see how this is going to work out in the updated corners. Hopefully it’s not going to be a disaster like at the haripin in Canada a few years ago when they had to fix the track almost constantly.

      1. Doesn’t that open asfalt also make for longer braking zones?

    7. Turn 7 is also known as Dunlop Curve isn’t it?
      The reason I ask is that I watched the 1,000 kms Super GT race at the end of August (here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V7Zn1StXRM) which started in appalling rain. As far as I could see there was now no ‘puddling’ at the apex of this corner, but there still does seem to be surface water on the way into the curve. See the YouTube at 50.23 and 1.08.17. Has the remedial work been done since August?

    8. I’m actually surprised that these changes had not been done several years ago already because drainage has always been a problem in these corners because of the undulating nature of the circuit which has always seen rivers form on the downhill sections & puddles of water collect at the bottom of these places.

    9. The amount of drainage doesnt matter if they dont stop the race when there is to much water. Its good becouse this drainage will allow them to race longer in rain but it doesnt improve safty one bit. Ofc. its marketed as a saftyimprovement to gain goodwill from the Bianchi accident. The usual F1 pr machine.

      1. There wouldn’t be too much water if there were decent wet tyres available.
        We used to have Monsoon tyres that could cope with a lot of standing water, and even the standard wet Bridgestone tyres were far better than those currently available. In fact, the old intermediates looked far better than the current wet tyres.

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