F1, FIA and Marussia face lawsuit over Bianchi death

2016 F1 season

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The family of Jules Bianchi is bringing a lawsuit in England against the Formula One Group, the FIA and the late driver’s former team Marussia.

Bianchi died last July, nine months after he sustained serious head injuries in a crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. He struck a 6.5-ton crane which was recovering another car from the side of the track.

Stewarts Law, acting on behalf of the family, sent formal pre-action letters of claim this week to Formula One Group, the FIA and Marussia. The famaily believes “errors were made in the planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race which took place in dangerous conditions during the typhoon season in Japan”.

Bianchi’s father said in a statement: “We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son’s crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.”

“As a family, we have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules’ accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made.”

Stewarts Law partner Julian Chamberlayne, representing the Bianchi family, said “Jules Bianchi’s death was avoidable.”

“The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula One but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules’ death. It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules.”

“The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings. This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first.”

“If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today.”

The FIA published the details of its investigation into the crash in December 2014. Among the factors it determined contributed to the crash were Bianchi’s failure to slow sufficiently for double waved yellow flags ahead of the area where a crane was recovering Adrian Sutil’s Sauber.

The FIA report also recommended changes to the rules regarding yellow flags, changes to safety-related software, improvements to track drainage, new restrictions on the times when F1 sessions should run, stricter licence requirements for F1 drivers, a reappraisal of risk levels in F1 and wet weather tyre characteristics.

Bianchi’s former team Marussia changed ownership following his crash and now competes as Manor.

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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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134 comments on “F1, FIA and Marussia face lawsuit over Bianchi death”

  1. I think the family mentioned they were not at all satisfied with the report and conclusions made by the FIA panel.

    I am pretty sure that there were stupid desicions made and some that should have been made but were not that certainly played a far larger factor than the FIA is willing to admit. Lets see how this pans out in a court.

    1. I do think the FIA’s report was a bit of a whitewash in places. In particular, they specifically ruled out the idea that not deploying a safety car was a contributing factor to the incident. This struck me at the time (and still does) as a transparent attempt to shift blame away from the race director, who ought to have ensured the field was neutralised under a safety car before sending a crane onto the circuit. The report states that it is not possible to conclude a safety car should have been deployed “without the benefit of hindsight.” But a number of prior “near misses” in F1 (for example the Toro Rosso at the Nurburgring in 2007, and particularly Martin Brundle’s near-identical incident at the same corner in 1994) had previously highlighted the danger of having recovery vehicles in close proximity to the track.

      That the practice of sending recovery vehicles out onto a live track was bound to one day result in a tragic incident was not only predictable, but it was predicted (by Brundle among others). The FIA did themselves and Bianchi’s family a massive disservice in failing to acknowledge that in their report. For that reason I think it is right that the courts should be involved, because the FIA has shown itself clearly incapable of policing itself.

      1. Exactly I thought that it was insane that no blame at all was placed on the decision to send a crane onto a live race track in the wet with no safety car, and also onto a corner that a car had just aquaplaned off moments before..

        Yellows definitely were not enough in that situation it doesn’t matter if he was going slightly slower, they are in open cockpit race cars the same outcome would have happened if the impact happened at a slightly slower speed just look at what happened to María de Villota. The entire field should have been slowed right down with a safety car, it wasn’t even something in hind sight situation it just looked plain wrong at the time having a crane on the track in those conditions without a safety car or under red flag conditions.

        There were close calls in the past as you stated but it seems like the FIA doesn’t want to acknowledge any wrong decision making. People who think the family are just in it for the money need to sort themselves out, if I lost a family member in a accident that was completely avoidable I would want the person who made the decision that led to their death made accountable.

        1. in the modern climate (i.e. drivers paying scant attention to yellow flags) it does seem somewhat bizarre that a safety car wasn’t considered (given the heavier rain fall and the usual willingness to bring it out). however, it is hard to argue that bianchi driving too fast through a yellow flagged area was not a major contributing factor to his crash.* it’s very sad that it happened but i feel like a long drawn out legal process will not be to anyone’s benefit.

          *i carefully avoiding saying ‘contributing factor to his death’ – i think having the crane in a runoff area was a bigger contributor.

          1. I tend to agree. Nobody else got hurt that day and all were operating under the same circumstances. So, we have a crane deployment before safety car deployment on one end and a driver not slowing down as much as all others on the other hand. FIA/Marussia to pay the medical bill, take learnings and move forward

          2. @frood19 +1. There definitely needs to be a clear difference between crash and death. A driver can crash through their own mistake, but not die because of it.

      2. @red-andy +1. My initial thoughts were to question whether or not it was sensible given the report / conclusions, and the available evidence. I was thinking they might be wasting their time.

        Now having thought about it, and read some opinions, I am in agreement that a court investigation is not unreasonable.

    2. I for one am also very fascinated to see how it turns out.

      I can see a strong case from both sides. The FIA have the argument that it is a risk that all F1 drivers know they are taking, along with all the other evidence, as we know.

      However, I can see more reasons why the family’s case is stronger. They are right in saying the timing of the race was wrong. Everyone was saying it beforehand, and Bernie Ecclestone didn’t listen / care. They are right to question the inquiry investigation which was done by the FIA. There is a possibility (I’m not accusing, just speculating) that it was biased. Very often (and I have no knowledge of how it works so, again, speculation) these things are done by independent panels with representatives from all parts. And there is a reasonable argument that no driver should have an accidental crash which risks their own death while racing on track, regardless of the circumstances.

      So it will be interesting indeed.

    3. Norman Shakelford
      28th May 2016, 1:40

      Racing is dangerous. If one couldn’t bear the thought of dying on track, don’t get into the race car.

  2. I feel for the family, but what does something like this achieve? It’s not going to make the pain any easier to bear. I know this from personal losses and the futile quest to find answers to ‘why?’.

    There are an infinite number of reasons or zero. There is no answer.

    1. It’s pretty obvious that they’re doing this to recover some of the money from the gargantuan hospital bill that Jules left behind. This is the only reason I can see for the lawsuit. They’re simply trying to pass the hospital bill on to the FIA, F1, and Marussia. Don’t you think?

      1. @psynrg I’m sorry for your personal losses that have taught you this lesson, but saying that to the Bianchi family will not satisfy them. You had to go through a process to be where you are today on this type of issue…they will too.

        @marciare-o-marcire I think that is a presumptuous and cruel statement to make. The family is aggrieved and want more answers and feel justice hasn’t been done, and for all we know they need to go through this process to feel they have done Jules justice, and perhaps to end up where some changes can see that his death was not in vain.

          1. @marciare-o-marcire I’ve never heard of CrossMap and I’ve never heard of this article’s author. Any reason why we should believe these people, who clearly think news relating to an athlete’s death should be classified as ‘entertainment’?

          2. Hello Keith. That’s why I said that the article is mostly speculation, but still believable. I don’t find Bianchi’s death entertaining by any means, and neither should the author of the article, but I do find it interesting that Bianchi died while in a very medically stable condition (somebody pulled the plug?) after a very long (and expensive) coma, only a week after his father made a public statement to the regards that Bianchi would not have wanted to be kept alive in a vegetative state.

            I’m just saying, Bianchi’s family doesn’t have Schumacher’s vast resources, and I don’t remember reading about any party (FIA, Marussia, F1, Bernie, or Ferrari) offering to pay millions for Bianchi’s rehabilitation. I think my reasoning explains both Bianchi’s unexpected death and this lawsuit.

            And I don’t blame Bianchi’s family one bit for pulling the plug IF they in fact came to this decision.

          3. @marciare-o-marcire I don’t see any reason to give credence to that article and you haven’t offered one. Just because something confirms your suspicions doesn’t make it credible.

          4. @keithcollantine Fair enough Keith, but I still find my explanation much more sound than those who throw empty words around like “justice” and “answers” and “future of the sport” and other nonesense.

            Also, wasn’t it just yesterday that the Bianchi family announced a new young driver program or something along those lines? hmmmmm… distraction anyone?

          5. William Jones
            26th May 2016, 17:29

            Pfft, it wasn’t even crossmaps story, they created that story out of a speculation article in the Toronto Star. It was written by Norris McDonald – who does have industry chops, but the original article is inaccessible, so god only knows how accurate crossmaps rip off piece was.

          6. @marciare-o-marcire as for the part of “pulling the plug” its not at all that uncommon to first give the patient time to see whether there is any real hope of some recovery. And when it turns out that there is no hope left, the doctors discuss such a step with the family, because it IS possible to keep someone in such a state for a very long time, but indeed it is expensive and stops serving a purpose.
            The family would have agreed on the timing so its perfectly sensible that after having made the desicion, the family made a statement before coming together with Jules to be there when the last life dies out in him.

    2. When I first saw this on the BBC site, I disagreed with the family doing this. The main reason was that I would not expect that a racing driver would want it. If we consider what happened, but with a non-fatal but serious outcome for Bianchi (say, he was paralysed, lost a limb, suffered a brain injury) which ruled him out of racing and affected him for life, I do not believe he would want to sue.

      However, on more careful consideration, I think what has rankled is that the investigation seemed a whitewash, avoiding apportioning any responsibility. Also, “It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules.” I, too, would be aggrieved if an investigation placed blame (or implied it) on my own loved one who had died, without accepting that there was any responsibility elsewhere!

      I don’t believe that the race should have been called off: racing in bad conditions is part of being a racing driver, and it really tests their skill. But the heavy vehicle should never have been on the track without a safety car, a lesson which should have been learned from earlier near-misses. I wish the family did not have to sue to get this point across, but it seems they have to in order to get someone to accept their share of the responsibility for the events which led to his death.

      1. simple and very well said…

      2. @drmouse My thought process and conclusion was pretty much the same. At first it seems like a bad idea, but actually thinking about it more, it’s not, for the reasons you, they, and many others have given.

      3. Michael Brown (@)
        26th May 2016, 23:56

        When you consider that drivers weren’t slowing just sufficiently in the yellow zone, then yes, Jules himself has some responsibility for his crash.
        Let me make that clear: his crash. Not his death. That was due to putting a recovery vehicle near the track at a high speed corner, while it was wet.

    3. @psynrg
      “It’s not going to make the pain any easier to bear.”

      Stop right there sir. It might not to us, and it might not if you were the family, but it might to them. Such a claim bases itself on the assumption that they feel in exactly the same way about it. The fact is, we, the armchair experts, have no idea what went on, and what is still going on, both within the family and within the FIA. I don’t think it’s right for us to say certain things.

      1. @strontium I sincerely hope it helps them with finding some kind of closure. There’s a reason we say RIP, regardless of belief, and things such as this are precisely the opposite.

        Nothing makes the loss easier to bear, but you learn to live with it. Whether on the global stage or in the middle of nowhere with no witness, the loss is the same.

  3. I’m a little bit surprised to not see the race promoter among those as they were given the opportunity to bring the race forward when they knew a typhoon was coming in, but otherwise this was really to be expected. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

    1. @craig-o I know the race promoter made the case for not delaying because of the fans and their travel arrangements, but I think they could only advise – the viability of the race, once started, lay in the hands of FOM and the FIA.

  4. I don’t think this should be described as justice for Jules. Not only is there nothing that can be done for him now, I think justice implies intent. Where it was clearly an accident. A stupid one, in hindsight, but an accident.

    I’d like to know what the unanswered questions actually are. I think it’s been covered pretty handily by now.

    I can’t see this going anywhere, even at a karting level you sign wavers that state you accept the risks involved.

    I, can’t say I like this at all to be honest. I don’t agree that a lawsuit can or should be used to “get justice” and I don’t think it’s a good way to push safety in F1, not that I think that’s the intention either.

    1. Stu Linton (@)
      26th May 2016, 11:39

      Agree 100%. It’s very easy to use hindsight to point the finger. And very often this finger pointing culture avoids the obvious, like ignoring double yellows.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        26th May 2016, 12:44

        @r-questionmark it’s not in hindsight though. Brundle has been saying this for years.

        Using health & safety law, you have to protect those you owe a duty of care to as far as is reasonably practicable. This means in effect that if a risk is known (as this was – F1’s own programming referenced it previously) F1 would have to justify why it took no action – was it too expensive or too difficult or did it create a bigger risk etc. The fact they took action AFTER someone died shows a solution was fairly easy to implement so why not earlier? They waited for someone to die….

        It’d be like saying we know removing the first chicane at Monza and letting them hit Curva Grande at top speed is too dangerous but we’ll try it and if someone dies, we’ll chuck a chicane in.

        To then put most of the blame on Jules in a report is just begging for a lawsuit!

        However this is not a criminal case so it’s not seeking to punish anyone. It is a civil case which seeks to recover damages – why should Jules’ family pay massive health bills if the crash is deemed by a court to be someone else’s fault? They’ve already potentially lost out on future earnings (as a family) in addition to all the lost earnings whilst they were/are grieving and it could affect their ability to do their jobs on a longer term.

    2. They can be sued for negligence in tort.

      1. Stu Linton (@)
        26th May 2016, 13:49

        I agree that drivers ignoring yellow flags should have been dealt with a long time previous to this incident. I haven’t seen anything to suggest the Bianchi family are having to foot the medical bills themselves? Has this been documented elsewhere?

        No one moaned about the light levels until after the incident so that’s definitely hindsight, I watched the full after show and it was still light in the paddock an hour or two later, and the rain wasn’t particularly severe. Unfortunate about the helicopter but was the answer really to cancel the race?

        I must admit I’m not a safety orientated person though. Not really cut out for the modern health and safety world we live in, especially when it comes to something as extreme as motorsport.

        1. @r-questionmark – “I must admit I’m not a safety orientated person though. Not really cut out for the modern health and safety world we live in, especially when it comes to something as extreme as motorsport.

          So, you are against all safety measures that have been implemented since the beginning of F1? Measures that have have saved countless lives of drivers, team members, track official and spectators. Just trying to understand your views.

          1. Stu Linton (@)
            26th May 2016, 22:23

            No of course not that’s not what I meant at all. I just meant in my own personal life I enjoy extreme sports and am not the best person to comment on health and safety matters. Ultimately like any decent human being I don’t want anyone to suffer in the sport we love.

        2. @r-questionmark

          Unfortunate about the helicopter but was the answer really to cancel the race?

          It seems trivial, but the FIA’s ‘Grade 1’ requirement includes having a helicopter able to take an injured participant to the nearest medical facility ASAP.

          Local hospitals will also be on stand-by during the course of a race so that very serious injuries can be transferred to them if appropriate. A MedEvac helicopter manned by a doctor, two paramedics and a pilot is ready to fly at all times, a second helicopter is kept ready outside the circuit and four additional ambulances are posted around the race track. If conditions are such that a helicopter could not take off from the circuit or land at the hospital, due to fog for example, then the race cannot go ahead.

          Source – https://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/championship/inside-f1/safety/medical-and-track-safety/Medical.html

          If the helicopter could not be used, the race should have been halted immediately, as per the rules the race is run by. This could be a key line of enquiry by prosecutors. The FIA’s mealy mouthed analysis of ‘the trip by ambulance made no difference’ is pathetic.

          1. Yeah. Helicopter alone is clear breach of rules.

            Lots of details like that…

          2. Stu Linton (@)
            26th May 2016, 22:15

            That’s fair enough, I wasn’t aware of that thanks. I think on reflection I can understand the Bianchi family’s reasons if protocols were not followed as well as a culmination of other factors. Also the FIA’s response is very much legal self preservation which must be very insulting to the family. I wish them luck in their case.

        3. @r-questionmark “it was still light in the paddock an hour or two later, and the rain wasn’t particularly severe.”

          There is a rule that says races must be started four hours before sunset (and bear in mind it stays light for a short while after), therefore it would still be light shortly after. The concern was it would be too dark even four hours before, due to the cloud and rain cover. To say “No one moaned about the light levels until after the incident”, I cannot begin to describe how very wrong you are. There were immense concerns about this before, and during the race.

          1. Stu Linton (@)
            27th May 2016, 0:06

            Wasn’t this rule brought in after the incident? If not it can’t have been a strict rule as Korea 2010 was much darker.

          2. Stu Linton (@)
            27th May 2016, 0:49

            Also I must admit I do not remember one team radio message from a driver stating the light levels were unacceptable.

          3. The four-hour rule was brought in after the incident… …but implied in the 2012 original rule, since there never was any point in allowing four hours for a race if an hour and a half of that cannot be used due to completely predictable nightfall.

            Massa complained about the light level prior to the crash – Charlie Whiting said he had done so. I don’t think Felipe’s complaint got broadcast.

  5. Oh dear, here we go again… how many years did it take for the Senna trials to end? Five? Ten? Fifteen?

    While I think (and hope) that a new (and independent) investigation is more thorough than the one carried out by the FIA, there certainly aren’t that many unanswered questions. It will be also interesting to see how much blame to court will put to Bianchi himself for driving too fast under yellow flags; as this seemed to be the main point in the FIA report.

  6. There are a lot of aspects that the FIA could face serious criticism over when this almost inevitably goes to court:

    – The decision to move the start time of the race later in the day and whether that compromised some of the safety decisions due to the smaller window of opportunity they had to run the race in the event of a red flag stoppage due to the limited hours of light.

    – After Sutil’s initial crash, there was no Safety Car called despite the tractor being on track and the significant probability that another car could aquaplane off in the same manner as Sutil had.

    – Even the medical helicopter could not take off safely in the poor conditions, with Bianchi transported to hospital by ambulance instead (although whether or not this had any impact on his chances of survival is hard to be sure).

    1. Dr. Gary Hartsein’s open letter to Jules’ family is here and worth a read:


      1. No, Not bitter at all!

  7. Stu Linton (@)
    26th May 2016, 11:02

    Unfortunately, this is the real crux of why health and safety rules the world…… lawsuits. And ultimately why a halo/canopy design will be forced upon us all.

    1. I fully support the canopy/halo.

      There is no excuse for not implementing as much safety precautions as we can.

      1. Although a canopy is likely more problematic than leaving the cockpits as they are.

        1. @robbie @mike As I understand it the test’s have actually shown that the Halo & Canopy may have made Bianchi’s situation worse as the force of the impact would almost certainly ripped it from the mount’s (The roll structure was torn off & that is a far more integral & beefier structure) & saw it collapse onto Jules which likely would have killed him outright.

          1. I know that has been the overwhelming consensus, but somehow I still feel like a halo may have helped absorb some of the shock and decreased that which Jules took. But of course I defer to the experts and I take your point about it being weaker than the roll structure.

            So that said, if a halo can add to the danger, one can ask why they are implementing some iteration of one for 2017? I suppose the short answer is that the halo is meant for debris hitting a car, and F1 should be making sure nobody can ever again hit such an immovable object as a recovery vehicle on the track side of a forgiving barrier.

          2. @robbie The Halo & Canopy concepts are designed around preventing smaller foreign bodies entering the cockpit and striking the driver. Massa, Wilson, Surtees etc.

            The forces involved in Bianchi’s accident would likely have meant him receiving a life-threatening head injury from the canopy or halo structure, rather than the tractor. At the end of the day, the brain injury resulting from a sudden deceleration as his head struck a physical object was what ultimately killed him.

        2. @robbie I believe that to be untrue.

          @gt-racer In fairness, his crash isn’t what the canopy is aimed at.

          1. @mike I keep thinking in terms of the worst case scenario of a car upside down and a driver unconscious. If they feel the need to stabilize his head and neck, how do they do that without moving the car to get access, which could then sever a spinal cord? There’s issues inside the cockpit of fire, smoke, condensation, and heat (even just from a greenhouse effect), and outside the cockpit of rain and oil and tire rubber etc. and keeping that clean between pit stops.

          2. Stu Linton (@)
            26th May 2016, 14:01

            It’s a funny one because like I mentioned in a comment above, personally I’m not a health and safety orientated person, quite frankly it’s something that drives me mad. Plus you can’t win an argument against safety because it’s always the ‘right’ thing to do morally. But quite frankly I don’t care. There are 7 billion people on this planet and these 22 are the luckiest of them all in my opinion.

            Don’t get me wrong I’m all for safety improvements but this one crosses a line for me because it will cost yet more viewers, a little like the v6 hybrid effect.

            When they inevitably do impose the canopy I just hope they design the cars around them a little more, rather than just a bolt on extra.

          3. Stu Linton (@)
            26th May 2016, 14:08

            I also wonder whether we will see more clumsy incidents in close quarter racing as the canopy will take away some of drivers spacial awareness.

          4. @robbie

            Honestly, i think the threat of an object hitting a drivers head is just, far, far higher. We’ve had countless close calls in the last ten years, where as even in the worst crashes we’ve never seen someones neck broken.

  8. Excellent news. The way F1 has handled yellow flag situations has been farcical for years. Bianchi shouldn’t have been going as fast as he did, but his actions were and are the norm in F1. The people responsible for that situation to exist are still there.

  9. I am actually surprised it took this long. The one other case I expected was that of Maria de Villotta, pardon my spelling, being that it seemed to me that a series of safety errors were made which led to the poor girl’s death. So I have watched with interest actions on none whatsoever of the girl’s family concerning the matter.
    So it is a welcome development the Bianchi family are taking this process to court. Hopefully, the outcome would lead to greater safety for all F1 participants.
    NOTE also that there is another glaringly avoidable danger in F1 which everyone seems not to care about for now. And that is the issue of gravel traps around race tracks. We have all watched with horror as those things lift high velocity F1 cars high into the air, renderind them them uncontrollable and flipping them around like a tossed piece of cloth until they finally land wherever, however and on whatever it happens to.
    Gravel traps are highly dangerous and need to be dealt with before we have another avoidable tragedy.
    So good luck to the Bianchi family and also to the deffendants in this case. I hope the general outcome whichever way the gavel falls, would lead to further improvements in the sport we all love.

    1. Gravel traps look dangerous but when is the last time in F1 someone was seriously injured or killed by a gravel trap? I love em. I am more concerned by the low nose submarining under a tecpro or gearbox at high speed….

    2. In Maria de Villota’s case it’s far less black and white. The safety ‘errors’ contributed to her death, but nothing more. Ultimately the fault was her own, as sad as that is. People know risks when they get in, all this blaming doesn’t help as far as I’m concerned.

  10. Why are they bringing Marrussia into it?

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      26th May 2016, 12:48

      They are the employer so they’d have to be involved. Doesn’t mean they’ll be found guilty.

      The teams are responsible for speaking to the governing body regarding issues with safety, start times, yellow flags and so on. Bernie stating that the drivers were “windbags with no position of power” will back this up nicely for the Bianchi family!!!

    2. The material I’ve received from their lawyers only mentions that the action is being brought against three parties, one of which is Marussia.

      However recall the following in the FIA’s report summary:

      7. During the two seconds Bianchi’s car was leaving the track and traversing the run-off area, he applied both throttle and brake together, using both feet. The FailSafe algorithm is designed to over-ride the throttle and cut the engine, but was inhibited by the Torque Coordinator, which controls the rear Brake-by-Wire system. Bianchi’s Marussia has a unique design of BBW, which proved to be incompatible with the FailSafe settings.

      8. The fact that the FailSafe did not disqualify the engine torque requested by the driver may have affected the impact velocity; it has not been possible to reliably quantify this. However, it may be that Bianchi was distracted by what was happening and the fact that his front wheels had locked, and been unable to steer the car such that it missed the crane.

      More here: https://www.racefans.net/2014/12/03/fia-releases-bianchi-crash-report-findings/

      1. Bianchi’s Marussia has a unique design of BBW, which proved to be incompatible with the FailSafe settings.

        @keithcollantine Assuming that’s the line that might be the basis to include Marussia in the suit, it’s interesting how one interpret “Bianchi’s Marussia”. Does it mean:
        A. it’s only on Bianchi’s car (e.g. Chilton’s has different BBW design),
        B. it’s on Marussia’s car only (their own BBW design), or
        C. it’s from the engine supplier design (Ferrari back then).

        If it’s A, then it’s Bianchi’s side (by request or his engineers decision) fault, if it’s B then it’s the team fault, and if it’s C then it’s Ferrari fault, and possibly Ferrari and all their customers has this same fault. However, considering BBW it’s very integral with how the MGU-K recharge the batteries and the state of small team financials, I gonna put my money on C.

        1. @sonicslv not necessarily. Ferrari’s MGUs are unique parts to their engine design, but the FIA devised the hybrid rules so that all elements of a PU have an element of standardisation in their functionality – the MGU-K is simply driven by the forces and friction generated from the rear axle under braking.

          My guess is it’s up to the team how they implement the brake-by-wire system – the system is only there because a hydraulic system cannot accurately provide the required braking force whilst the MGU is obtaining energy from the regenerative braking. Remember, if the MGU-K fails on these cars, the rear braking goes to pot because the remaining equipment isn’t man enough to adequately slow the car if running full chat.

          In a nutshell, no, I don’t think Ferrari are liable for litigation here.

  11. No offence, but he drove too fast under the double yellows, so that was the primary reason for the crash.

    1. That in itself didn’t cause his injuries.

      Arguably be could have slowed and still had an accident, such were the conditions. Live snatch should only go ahead when conditions allow it safely. For me (and most safety staff I’ve met) that means dry track, good visibility of the incident, stranded cars well off track.

      Having stood trackside under double yellows, FCY and safety car, I know what I prefer.

      1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        26th May 2016, 17:14

        As a marshal do you feel double waved yellows are not valued or respected highly enough by drivers? It is the most (for want of a better word) explicit way of informing the drivers of danger that flag marshals on the ground have. The message is ‘slow down and be prepared to stop’ yet the general practice seems to be back off a little and drop down a gear until the green flag.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      26th May 2016, 12:50

      I think you are right. The crane being on track was the primary reason for his death though. Without the crane being on a live track, Bianchi would have been fine.

    3. Yes, the organisers of the race made errors which increased the likelihood of his injuries; yes, the race director made decisions that increased the severity of his injuries, as did several other parties with an input into the situation that resulted ultimately in Bianchi’s death. HOWEVER, only one person’s decisions and actions could have PREVENTED the accident. Knowing that the track was insanely slippery (Sutil proved that) he drove at a speed that was more than he could control, therefore he has to carry the blame for the accident. You can argue that others should share the blame for the consequences, but Bianchi had that accident all by himself.

      The fact that almost every other motor racer in history would probably have done the same is irrelevant.

      1. William Jones
        26th May 2016, 17:38

        You’re right, it was his own fault he had an accident – however, we shouldn’t have drivers dying from aquaplaning, and that is the problem. Drivers will have accidents, because they are in a race. Cranes should not be on track during a live race, for any reason because they can kill.

    4. As @jerejj says, the conditio sine qua non was Bianchi driving too fast where he shouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, FIA and FOM were contributorily negligent, but the ultimate beginning of the crash is Bianchi doing what is inherent to racing drivers, eeking out margins.

  12. And so they should, if I was the Bianchi family I would have seen that FIA report into the accident as a big slap in the face. I was gobsmacked when the report came out saying it wasn’t really anyone’s fault but if they had to say then it was Bianchi’s responsibility. No, Bianchi was not responsible for a crane being just off the track at a water-logged part of the track. Poor bloke. Shame on Charlie Whiting and the FIA.

  13. The family have hurt in their heart, but i think this lawsuit is a waste of time and effort and I believe they are going down the wrong route to find closure. at the end of the day it will always be shown that Bianchi was driving too fast in the situation….
    if the family wins, the court case will open up compensation claims for everyone who has an “accident” in motor racing and damages equipment or themselves, as track safety and regulations of the sport can then theoretically be always put to blame for something that is driver error.

    saying that, a lawyer will do his/her work and might win the case but I think it would be better for the family to accept their sad loss instead of now spending years trying to apportion blame, it wont do them any good even if they win the case.

  14. I think Jules ignored double yellows, so he cannot be just a victim on this story. Yes, many other drivers ignore them as well, but try this line of argumentation when you get a traffic fine and see where it gets you.

    If this would have been just a scare or if Bianchi would have come out unharmed but others had been injured many would judge his actions differently. I believe the action is what should be judged, regardless of the outcome.
    He could have gone a meter left or right and survive, he could have killed a marshal, he could even have killed himself and/or Sutil *even if a crane was not deployed*.

    I will not go into trying to guess what the motivations of the family are. I, however, would probably do the same and sue everybody. Regardless of Bianchi’s dismissal of double yellows, things could have been done to prevent the outcome. Two years later the same people controlling F1 is still making millions and trying to squeeze circuit organizers for more money instead of charging less in exchange of, for example, out of track cranes, better prepared marshals (we saw just how ‘well’ they handled stopped cars in Russia, fire extinguishers in Spain). The circuit organizers are neither pushing back or even refusing to organize a race in these conditions, and everybody has more time for ‘innovative’ qualification rules than to test, introduce and use better safety (VSC could be improved a lot).

    So yeah, I would definitively go and sue, so at least somebody else loses something and maybe that will force some change.

    1. @glacierre

      I think Jules ignored double yellows

      He did not ignore them according to the FIA. Their report stated he “did not slow sufficiently” for the yellow flags, not that he did not slow at all.

      1. And double yellows have more significance than single yellows, or are supposed to, to the drivers.

        1. @robbie I’m not disputing that, I’m disputing the claim he “ignored” them.

          1. I think it is clear (and I have seen the footage) that Jules did indeed “ignore” the double waved yellows. He may have slowed down, but double waved yellows mean that a drive must be prepared to STOP. Clearly he was not prepared to stop as we’re several of the drivers. Unfortunately we lost a true talent and a driver with all the makings of a world champion. However, it does not change the fact the Jules made a mistake (as did several other people). Marussia never left his side so I do not see why they are being sued

          2. The problem with the drivers slowing for any Yellows is twofold. Firstly how many times have the FIA penalised a driver from not slowing enough under Yellows? The FIA have, in my opinion, allowed drivers to just show they have lifted in the Yellow’s section.
            The second issue is that the drivers are racing and they do not want to loose out a single hundredth of a second to either the car in front or the car behind. The drivers are not the ones to make a judgement of the reasons and conditions not to mention the marshals positions. The drivers should be taken out of the equation in the Yellow sections. As soon as a Yellow section is called all cars should immediately be brought to pit lane speed limiter speed by zero demand throttle and no regen braking.
            The drivers have the red mist when driving so safety must be controlled by external people.

          3. @eoin16 They provided him the car to race. Yes, it was structurally sound according to the crash tests and fit to race, but if the FIA and FOM bat away the case with solid legal ground (which they likely shall), it gives them an avenue to further explore.

            Of course, the question is, are they suing the Manor F1 team (no longer owned or operated by the people of the time of the accident), the Manor WEC team (run by the F1 team management of the time of the accident, but nobody present actually culpable of the accident) or the bankrupt and defunct Russian car company that had its name plastered over the team?

            Seems like desperation.

          4. @keithcollantine Agreed. My comment was just to reinforce that he needed to slow more, as indicated by the double yellows vs. single yellows. I think too I just saw Lauda quoted as saying double yellows mean a driver should slow enough that he could come to an abrupt stop if necessary. I didn’t know that. Seems to me a single yellow needs just the barest of lifts to comply.

  15. To be perfectly honest I can’t see this really going anywhere because nothing in the lead up to the accident was particularly out of the ordinary & the FIA could easily bring up dozens of instances where the same procedures were followed in the same way & resulted in nothing happening.

    Yes at the time of the accident the track was wet; But it had in fact been wetter & raining harder earlier in the race & there had been many races in previous seasons that had been held in worse conditions. Plus you have quotes & opinions from several of the top drivers who said directly after the race that conditions were not that bad.

    Yes it was getting late in the day but from what I understand having spoken to people who were actually at the circuit it wasn’t actually that dark at the time & again there had been races in the past held in bad conditions where light levels were about the same if not worse (It actually got really dark in the middle of the 1998 Belgium Gp & again at the 2007 race in Fuji).

    When it comes to the digger, That again was nothing out of the ordinary & not calling the SC for a minor single car accident that would have been cleared in less than 2 minutes was again nothing out of the ordinary.

    Its actually the same thing you see with many fatal accidents or accidents that result in serious injury, Things that contributed are in the spotlight & are suddenly obvious while beforehand they were things nobody thought anything of. Its easy to criticize now because we know the outcome but before that weekend nobody would have thought anything of it & in fact during practice that same weekend a digger was called out while cars were circulating & nobody thought anything of it.

    What happened was nothing more than an accident, A very sad & unfortunate accident but an accident none the less.

    1. When it comes to the digger, That again was nothing out of the ordinary & not calling the SC for a minor single car accident that would have been cleared in less than 2 minutes was again nothing out of the ordinary.

      Its actually the same thing you see with many fatal accidents or accidents that result in serious injury, Things that contributed are in the spotlight & are suddenly obvious while beforehand they were things nobody thought anything of.

      The difference here is that this had been thought of. Among others, Brundel had brought it up after his near miss. There were, I believe, other near misses of a similar nature. So the excuse of it never having happened before or being thought of before does not apply.

      1. @drmouse Have to agree with you there. This type of thing has been on Brundle’s mind for a long time, if nobody else’s.

        Sure, much leading up to the accident was ‘normal’ or not unusual, and yes it is in hindsight because of the accident that we are examining everything about it, and that doesn’t mean let’s just carry on and make no changes.

      2. @drmouse Brundle had raised it on TV & in the immediate aftermath of his incident but it was something that nobody else was talking about, As far as i’m aware it wasn’t even something the drivers were bringing up or even people like Sid Watkins who were actively involved in looking at ways to improve safety.

        Also worth raising the point that having safety vehicles recover crashed cars under double waved yellows was something not exclusive to F1 or FIA run championships….. It was something seen in every category under every sanctioning body at times & was something that was considered normal.

        1. It was something seen in every category under every sanctioning body at times & was something that was considered normal.

          I’m not disputing that. However, “everyone else is doing it” and “we’ve always done it that way” are not excuses.

          As for the rest, Brundel stated on TV that he had raised this issue back at the time, and I’m fairly certain he said he had raised it several more times in the intervening years. I see no reason to doubt him on that, although I only have his word on it.

          Even so, the fact that someone came so close to having a near identical accident in the past raises questions on it’s own. Even if noone had raised it, the question needs to be “why?”. Someone nearly died, they could all see that it was nearly a horrific, fatal accident. So why had it not been looked at?

  16. I’m going to call it. Yes it’s terrible that Jules was killed but motor racing is dangerous. Jules knew the risks and accepted the risks. It was a tragic event but the family needs to move on. This isn’t what Jules would have wanted.

    1. This isn’t what Jules would have wanted.

      We don’t know what he would have wanted because he very sadly is no longer around to tell us.

      But before we got to this point perhaps other things have happened which he wouldn’t have wanted, don’t you think?

    2. – Yes it’s terrible that Jules was killed but motor racing is dangerous. Jules knew the risks and accepted the risks.

      Guess what? Driving is dangerous, so why bother with road markings and signs?
      Look, the point is that errors were made which, depending on how you view it, seemed absolutely avoidable. I don’t know if you saw or read a summary or snippets of the report which was released afterwards. I personally found it a bit dismissive or lofty especially viewed in the light of the seriousness of the matter i.e a life had been lost.
      Motor sport is dangerous, yes. But that does not mean that one should rest on their laurels in the area of safety. Heck, auto companies while improving safety in autos are realising over time that making cars drive themselves and reducing/removing the error-prone human factor, would drastically lead to a massive safety increase in transportation hence today we are talking of autonomous vehicles.
      So the Bianchi family have every right and to some extent I think they owe it to fans, to have a second look, an objective look, at the events and decisions that led to the tragedy in Japan.

  17. They just want money now

  18. And this is why F1 / FIA wants to push for some kind of head protection to prevent families of injured drivers to sue them.

    1. Wrong. A halo would not stop a family from suing. Since you seem to ghoulishly think this is only about money, surely you must also think a halo would not stop a family from trying for a lottery win, right?

  19. No tractor on course. Jules would still be alive. I think everyone in their right mind would agree that this is the case.
    If one was going to allow a tractor on course while a safety car is not present I ponder why there were no safety guards around said tractor to prevent a car from slipping under it and killing the driver. Semi’s have them. Pretty simple to implement. Look at the design of the tractor in question on that fateful day. If you collided with it between the wheels what is going to hit the tractor first? I would suggest it would be the drivers head.
    How is it that the family are forking the bill in regards to the Jules medical bills is beyond me. Some out there are arguing that the family only want the medical costs covered is extremely rude and disrespectful to Jules’ family. Shameful beyond! I recall Kubica’s slow rally accident last year if I recall correctly. So slow it was incredible. I personally have experienced an accident like that in a good old 1967 Isuzu Bellet in the wet. It can happen. So as it is the case that you can slide in the wet or snow at extremely low speed (due to mechanical factors perhaps that may have added to the incident) why would you put a tractor out on course that has the potential to kill someone if the driver collided with it with his head?????? You could argue then that even with a safety car that the accident could of happened. Fair argument. Hence why I mentioned the safety guards on the tractor to prevent a car from slipping under it. Some outcomes I would like to see from this are; Safety rails on tractors. That is rather inexpensive to execute in my opinion considering the trade off. Stop cars from slipping under them. Tractor on course – safety car. If someone falls into a coma due to a racing incident and incurs medical costs then it would be honourable for F1 in my humble opinion to fork out for the bill. Or. Force all drivers to be fully insured just in case this ever happens. Thus people chasing medical costs etc would not be an issue and individuals out there would not stoop so low as to accuse families of just trying to recoup medical costs when clearly they are attempting to honour Jules’ memory and further more not allow this to ever happen again to another driver. If justice prevails I have full confidence that FOM will be found liable.

    1. If justice prevails I have full confidence that FOM will be found liable.

      @stash Funny that if justice prevails I have full confidence that FOM is found not guilty. This kind of scenario already happened lot of times in the past, heck worse scenario also had happened in the past yet no one even come close to death. Just like Massa’s accident, it’s very doubtful you’ll get same result while trying to replicate it and that’s exactly why it’s called freak accident. Nobody ever had the intent for Bianchi or someone to crash and died, people should stop finding a scapegoat.

    2. Drivers already have to be fully insured with racing-specific insurance (originally brought in to stop drivers suing each other if injuring themselves by colliding with one another). However, insurance generally has strict limits on what can be covered, and it is unclear if it would be possible to get a racing insurance renewal if one does not have a racing license (note that racing licences expire automatically, for all drivers, on December 31 each year, and renewal requires, among other things, that the driver renewing the license confirms on the form that they are generally fit and capable to race – not possible for someone in a coma).

      FOM and FIA are being separately sued. While I can think of a laundry list of things of which the FIA might be accused (and several of which I foresee it having a case to answer), the only points I can see the FOM being asked to answer are two related ones concerning its handling of the start time:

      a) Whatever possessed FOM to ask (and get) a time so late in the first place, when the four-hour window rule had been in place since 2012 and common sense would have said it was pointless to have 90 minutes of a window in a time of predictable darkness at a track without floodlights of any description, using cars that lack headlights? (FOM may try passing the blame onto the FIA, since it is the FIA that makes calendar determinations, or the race organiser, which had partial control of the weekend timetable).

      b) Why did the FOM not tell (rather than ask) the circuit to cancel the race, once it was established that its contract with the race organisers prevented the latter from moving the time to avoid the typhoon? (Had the typhoon landed when expected, rather than be split between a “forward” cloud that arrived earlier than expected and a “main part” that mostly missed and in any case was after the race ended, this would have made the end part of the race even darker than it already was, as well as considerably wetter. With the information available at the time to FOM, it would have been a “termination through frustration” matter – and it’s hard to crash in a race that doesn’t happen on safety grounds. The FIA could be asked the same question, and I don’t see what other party either could blame for that particular error).

      It’s also the first time that anyone’s attempted to sue FOM in connection with a safety issue. I can’t remember if anyone’s tried suing the FIA for safety reasons, despite it having rather more responsibility in that area, because it is usually rather better at looking into safety issues and making appropriate corrections than it has been here.

  20. as sad as this situation is, the bianchi family will not be able to argue this point, which is very crucial to the events that took place.

    the Tractor was their recovering Sutil’s car legally, double yellow flags as in the current rules at the time enabled that recovery.

    The safety car not being called out is subject to a very gray area, you cant put fault at the race organizer, double yellows were waving. Its unfortunate but Jules DID NOT slow down for the double yellow’s, as can and will be proved from telemetry that is recorded and available.

    source: http://www.fia.com/news/accident-panel

    2. Sutil’s car was in the process of being recovered by mobile crane when Bianchi approached Sectors 7 and 8, which include the part of T 7 where the recovery was taking place. Sectors 7 and 8 were subject to double yellow flags.

    3. Bianchi did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control at the same point on the track as Sutil.

    4. If drivers adhere to the requirements of double yellow flags, as set out in Appendix H, Art., then neither competitors nor officials should be put in immediate or physical danger.

    end source.

    1. Spot on!

    2. Don’t forget that there is an important precedent regarding the speed of the cars under double yellows: Hamilton asking clarification from Charlie Whiting -I don’t remember in which track, maybe Silverstone- because he considered other drivers weren’t slowing down enough; Charlie’s answer was that a 2% loss of speed or lap time -I don’t remember which one either- was enough and he distributed this answer between the teams. It has been argued that under FIA administration these kind of letters are legally accepted as a change to the rules from the point in time they are issued, so they might have a good argument.

    3. @markm
      Cars arent supposed to “slow down to not loose control” under yellow flag, they are never supposed to loose control under any conditions flag or not. Flag means there is an accident ahead on track that they might have to avoid. When there is aquaplaining conditions in a yellow flag zone safety car should be called out everything else is nonsense.

  21. The conclusion of the FIA Panel Inquiry Report that “Bianchi did not slow sufficiently” (i.e. is to blame) is scandalous as they bloody well know that below a certain speed the aerodynamic effect of downforce is not sufficient and that there exists a gap between this and the substantially lower speed where mechanical grip from the tires becomes sufficient to ensure that a Formula racing car does not aquaplane in conditions such as those that prevailed at the time. By introducing double yellows, they insured that the speed was below the one that offered aerodynamically induced grip. By deferring a safety car, the ensured that the speed was above that required for mechanical grip. The individual responsible for what turned out to be a catastrophic misjudgment is the FIA-appointed Race Director and as a corollary, those that appointed him. The FIA Panel Inquiry was almost certainly directed to divert attention from this, hence both the FIA and the Race Director are culpable and should be held to account.

    Justice for Jules Bianchi is to clear him from the implicit accusation that he himself is responsible for his own death. Justice for the Bianchi family is to see their son’s name cleared of this monstrous accusation and the people truly responsible; the FIA and its Race Director, are made to accept both juridical as well as financial responsibility for their neglect, incompetence and libel.

    1. Henrik, the problem is, at least part of the responsibility was on Jules shoulders to ensure he was in control of his car. What if, along with his accident, he had hit and killed a marshal? Give or take a metre or two and he might well have. How would that colour your opinion?

      At the end of the day, Jules Bianchi lost control of his car in a double-waved yellow section of the track. Speeding or not, he arrived at the scene out of control. That the race wasn’t neutralised, that the crane was there and why there was the subsequent mess re: the helicopter are separate factors in the incident.

      1. On the surface of it, you make a fair point. But if a driver is supposed to be in control of his car at all times, then any and everyone who hits a kerb too hard, clips a front wing or barrier (etc, etc, etc) is at fault and as the word responsibility implies the corollary accountability, every driver who loses control of his car is at fault and should be sanctioned.

        In a sport where drivers are supposed to be at the very edge, this is clearly an impossibility. Therefore, the responsibility lies with the organisers to ensure optimum safety, something they clearly failed to do at Suzuka. Had, as you suggest, a course marshal been killed (or seriously injured), the responsibility would still have rested with the organisers as course safety was compromised by a crane deployed by them in an unsafe or hazardous manner. This is why I am confident that the FIA will eventually lose this case should a settlement out of court not be reached.

        Furthermore, if you read the excerpts posted by Keith Collantine about how the software supplied by the FIA, the FailSafe algorithm that was supposed to have “incapacitated the throttle”, was incompatible with Marussia’s Brake-by-Wire system, the question of who was/is ultimately responsible for that incompatibility – FIA or Marussia – also arises.

        To me, 100% safety in a sport such as F1 is an impossibility, therefore the possibility of death and serious injuries are an inevitable consequence that anyone participating has to accept. What is thoroughly unsavoury though, is the attempt by the FIA to exonerate themselves and the Suzuka racetrack from responsibility by shifting the blame to Jules Bianchi, the victim.

        1. @Henrik – on a sport where drivers are supposed to be at the very edge, this is clearly an impossibility. Therefore, the responsibility lies with the organizers to ensure optimum safety, something they clearly failed to do at Suzuka.

          you’re points are valid but really bear little weight in this situation, wereany rules broken at the time of the incident by the organizers? This is what can and only can be argued in the court. The suggestions to rule changes have been brought forward as this type of incident hasn’t happened in recent times. But you cannot set blame on individuals based on the given safety regulations at the time of the sanctioned event. The tractor was there legally, the track marshals were there legally.

          The lack of the safety car not being called out in time, at all, or whatever can be judgemental and argued each way till the end of time, it will not be black or white in court.

          Also, a major factor to Bianchi’s death was the fact that both his accelerator and brake pedal were pressed, which increased the high rate of speed he approached the tractor at, much higher then Sutil’s car. Software was suppose to override and apply only breaking, but it didn’t for whatever reason. That is a separate issue and a major event to the outcome of this tragedy.

    2. This.
      I still remember the ache on my stomach after reading FIA report that day, how could they blame everything on Jules? I knew from the video Jules won’t survive that kind of crash, it feels so cruel that FIA to release a hand-washing statement like that.
      As William Jones said above, no we shouldn’t have drivers dying from aquaplaning.

  22. I am just thinking, had Jules hit a marshal instead, what would the legal implication have been then?

    1. @chapor It would have slowed Jules car, and he might have been alive today.

  23. Tony Mansell
    26th May 2016, 16:03

    Ahh of course, the courts always serve up justice. Just another memory tainted by the poison of demanding someone is to blame. And where there is blame….you know the rest. Let the poor lad rest in peace rather than have his reputation questioned and officials who will spend the rest of their days having to answer unanswerable questions. Hillsboro taught us this is sometimes the only way but mostly its just lawyers who get rich and families who get sick.

  24. Why have they left out FOM and Bernie?? They should be hanged first 😬

    1. @mulsanne Formula One Management is part of the Formula One Group.

  25. @keithcollantine not to nitpick (but since we are talking about trials and so…) I did not say Bianchi went on like nothing was happening, I said he ignored the _double_ yellows, as in being double, not just simple yellow flags.

  26. It seems obvious the sport – FIA, FOM – was determined not to learn the real lessons, in case somebody then blamed them. So they STILL have unmodified heavy machinery running around trackside of the barriers while cars are circulating. They have to be sued.

    1. @lockup So let’s force them to deploy SC every time a car retire. On that note, why not force them to red flag the race instead, we know cars can and already spun out even behind safety car. Also why no one ever care about the unprotected marshalls who working around the retired cars? FIA should supply them with full exoskeleton suit that can withstand the impact from hit by F1 cars right?

      1. Every irrelevant sarcasm fail in one list, well done.

      2. @sonics. Good point there. Helmets and some form of body armour like motor bike riders wear. Sounds good to me. You never know it may save a life. Good stuff. :-) I would consider this to be a sensible move. By the way – who pays for the medical bills and legal costs if a marshall does get hit? Lots of people care for the marshalls @sonics. Car crash on track. Helmet on in 2.3 seconds and off you go out into the track a lot better off than without a helmet. I like your thinking. Why they are not doing this is crazy!!!!!!! But hang on a minute we are talking about duty of care here. Dreaming I am. Death and injury that can be avoided should be within reasonable limits and this would be totally reasonable in my opinion. This organisation clearly needs a shake up. If reason can not do it then by all means bring in the lawyers.

    2. +1 Could not agree more. Take them to the cleaners.

    3. @lockup “So they STILL have unmodified heavy machinery running around trackside of the barriers while cars are circulating.”

      Cars would still be circulating but under a Virtual Safety Car as we saw through Monaco practice today a dozen times. Once cars have been slowed the situation is re-evaluated & if an extended clean up time is required a full SC will be called (Or a red flag if its practice/qualifying).

      We have seen this new procedure used a dozen times since the end of 2014 so to say the FIA haven’t learnt lessons or implemented new safety procedures is completely ignoring all the facts.

      1. As far as I know @gt-racer even this step has not been enshrined in the regulations anywhere. It’s up to the corner workers whether to rush out when a car aquaplanes off, as they naturally will. VSC is good but it’s not the core issue.

        The issue is that barriers are relatively safe to hit and so are parked cars; the lesson to learn from the Bianchi crash, if it wasn’t obvious enough already, is that heavy plant, especially unmodified, must absolutely be prevented from going trackside until the risk of a second car following is pretty much zero.

        FIA have had a word, it looks like, but on the quiet, and so it will fade. A court judgment is what’s needed to get things formalised and permanent.

  27. First time I saw one of those tractors on course (and I clearly remember as it was a sticking point) I thought to myself; “what happens if a car slides under one of those things. There are no guards on it to prevent this from happening.” I am sure there are many others who thought the same.

    Duty of care was not taken irrespective of the speed Bianchi was traveling and we all know that F1 drivers go as fast as they possibly can under yellow flags so for no one to consider that a car could crash into and slide under, thus collecting the drivers head, the tractor is just not plausible to me.

    So either they knew the risk and chose not to do anything to prevent this from happening or they did not even consider the possibility that this may occur. Either way it shows they did not act with duty of care in mind in this regard.

    With this in mind have FIA/FOM or anybody taken action regarding this? Imagine if they did. It may be seen to be an admittance of fault. But hey the reputation (and financial position) of the FIA and FOM or whomever is responsible for this debacle etc is way more important than saving someone else from the same fate it would appear.

    I would like to think that the majority of people out there would like something done about this. If someone did take action on this then I would not be so concerned about the matter. Has something been done about this and if not then why? I am baffled. Can someone enlighten me?

    +1 @Henrick

    1. @stash “With this in mind have FIA/FOM or anybody taken action regarding this?”

      Yes, The virtual safety car which allows the speed of the cars to be slowed to safe levels before the recovery vehicles are allowed in-front of the barriers to recover spun/crashed cars. We have seen this procedure used a dozen times since the end of 2014.

      1. My apologies I should have worded my question a lot more clearly. It was vague. Your response though is valid. What I meant by someone doing something about this was; have any guards been placed on the tractors? Have a look at most large semi trailers/trucks that are on the roads today. A lot of them have guards so a car does not fly straight under the carriage. Elementary fix.

        1. @stash Its not an elementary fix, F1 cars are not supposed to crash into marshals at work. The drivers are protected for highspeed crashes, the marshals and their equipment is not and should not be crashed into and thats the end of it.

          The Virtual safetycar is a tool to prevent that from happening but the error here was just poor judgement from the race director. Safetycar or Virtual safetycar is useless if its not deployed when needed.

        2. @stash The FIA stated in its report that it would not be possible to put guards on the cranes that would be effective against the sort of energies a F1 car (as opposed to a road car) typically carries in the sort of situations where a F1 car/crane collision would be a problem. In that respect, the FIA can at least claim to have checked if something of that nature would be applicable here, if a court enquires.

          I would also concur with @rethla that the real problem with the Safety Car/Virtual Safety Car was a reluctance to use the options available, rather than a lack of options. Even yesterday (Monaco 2016), the Virtual Safety Car didn’t get issued for the Raikkonen debris across the track at the crown of the hill just after the tunnel, despite some of it being quite large. It was preferred to leave it and wait for cars to strike the debris, then flag for debris retrieval. This suggests the lesson of issuing (Virtual) Safety Cars where trouble can reasonably be predicted from not doing so hasn’t been learned, and the absence of such a recommendation from the post-accident report is not going to help the FIA’s cause in this regard.

  28. John Toad (@)
    26th May 2016, 18:14

    “Jules Bianchi’s death was avoidable.”
    All he needed to do was not get into the car!!

    1. Yep.

      There was a mayor screw up from the FIA and how they enforce track safety and it caused a death. Before the race however everyone was happy with the current state of F1 safety, Bianchi and his family all accepted the danger so lay it to rest if you want to respect his memory.

      If you want to reduce deaths in F1 work pre emptive instead of this lame moneygrab.

  29. I get bringing a case against the FIA. Their own report was a whitewash absolving any wrong doing for pretty clear failures.

    But why against Marussia? There was nothing fundamentally flawed in the car design, what was their fault in this?

    1. @philipgb It will be ironic when the resurgence of Marussia is caused by Bianchi point finish in Monaco, their death is because they can’t afford to pay lawyers for his family lawsuit.

      1. @sonicslv @philipgb As I said earlier, it seems like it’s a backup plan for when the FIA and FOM get out of the firing line, but it doesn’t take into account the Marussia F1 entity no longer technically exists – who do they sue? Fitpatrick’s Manor? Booths Manor WEC team or the zombie corpse of that pointless Russian car company that somehow financed the team up until the first Russian GP then scarpered?

    2. @philipgb Someone already asked that question – here’s my reply.

  30. at least now race direction throws a red flag or ‘safety car’ when recovery vehicles do come near the course. I think it’s safe to assume that the general consensus is there was a white wash, that ‘credible’ authority figures in F1 were brought in to help cement that white wash. I was kind of under the assumption that none of the hospital bill would land in the hands of the Bianchi family, given the obvious white wash and the ‘glorification’ of Jules, etc…. Hope the Bianchi family all the best, the loss of their son is debt enough, and the FIA, well, someone needs to hold them accountable, hope they can.

  31. It is sad to see this happening.
    I am confident that in hindsight the accident could have been avoided. They could have put the Safety Car. They could have red flagged the race. They could have postponed or cancelled it. He could have slowed down more etc.
    But at the end of the day, motorsport can be dangerous. People do it at their own risk. Every racing driver accepts this. Period.

  32. The only way anyone can win is if such accidents are prevented.
    With no disrespect or offence meant to the Jules’s family or anyone in anyway, even with other cars in the gravel and a safety car imminent, Jules was going rather unnecessarily fast at the time. The speed of his car sliding towards that crane was the first thing that caught my eye…
    In those conditions, that was not the time to be pushing so hard…
    Mistakes were made, time to learn and move on.

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