Crane incident in Euro F3 raises safety fears

Weekend racing wrap

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The use of a crane to recover a stranded car during a European Formula Three race at Zandvoort prompted criticism over safety standards.

European Formula Three

Races 16-18 of 30: Zandvoort

The crane was sent to recover Weiron Tan’s car which stopped late on during Sunday’s race (above). The incident occurred on the first anniversary of the death of Jules Bianchi due to injuries sustained in a collision with a crane during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Among those to respond to the incident on social media was Damon Hill. “Given it is the first anniversary of the death of Jules B this is somewhat disappointing,” he said.

Max Gunther took advantage of championship rival Lance Stroll’s banishment to the back of the grid in the second two races to reduce his lead to 56 points. Stroll began the weekend with his fifth win from six races but the Williams junior driver was unable to add to his haul after starting 19th in the other two.


Races 9 and 10 of 18: Zandvoort

Edoardo Mortara was left fuming after losing eight points in the first DTM race of the weekend at Zandvoort after an apparent error by the stewards. The Audi driver was penalised for speeding during a Virtual Safety Car period however doubt was later cast on the accuracy of the data the stewards relied on. The matter remains under investigation.

Robert Wickens and Jamie Green collected the wins in two largely processional races, the latter moving within seven points of championship leader Marco Wittmann. Wickens threw away a likely second place in race two after running wide as drivers struggled with high tyre degradation.


Race 19 of 36: New Hampshire

The second half of the NASCAR season began at the one-mile New Hampshire oval and saw Matt Kenseth take his second victory of the year.

Japanese Super Formula

Race 3 of 8: Fuji Speedway

Stoffel Vandoorne took pole position for his third Super Formula race (above) but left Fuji point-less after slipping up twice at turn two. Joao Paulo de Oliveira became the series’ third different winner this year despite Kazuki Nakajima leading most of the way. Points leader Naoki Yamamoto failed to finish.

Race video not available yet.


Race 11 of 16: Toronto

Will Power drew within striking distance of team mate Simon Pagenaud in the championship contest with a fortuitous victory on the streets of Toronto. Power made his final pit stop moments before a full-course yellow was thrown, handing him a substantial lead over Pagenaud.

However for the fourth race running Pagenaud’s closest rival in the points coming into the event suffered a bad weekend: Josef Newgarden crashed out after losing control of his car on a broken kerb at turn five. The Carpenter driver, still suffering the effect of his huge crash in Texas three weeks ago, was fortunate to avoid further injury.

Helio Castroneves recovered to second place after an early puncture while home favourite James Hinchcliffe fuel-sipped his way to third, aided by another late caution after Jack Hawksworth and Juan Pablo Montoya crashed.

Also last weekend

Marc Marquez returned to the top of the Moto GP podium for the first time since April and pulled 48 points clear of Jorge Lorenzo in the championship.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

We have an absolutely huge weekend of racing coming up. While Formula One heads to the Hungaroring, supported by GP2 and GP3, the World Endurance Championship returns to action for the first time since the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Six Hours of the Nurburgring is their fourth race of the year.

Silverstone will host the Formula V8 3.5 championship and NASCAR heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400.

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27 comments on “Crane incident in Euro F3 raises safety fears”

  1. I found the use of the crane at Zandvoort completely distasteful. There was plenty of outcry from experienced drivers on Twitter about the matter. I also managed to catch some of the DTM, MotoGP, 24H Series and ELMS as well as the IndyCar (albeit delayed due to sim racing commitments) and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. The first race in the latter of those was nothing short of sensational.

    1. A combination of poor planning and bad judgment. Shame that it overshadowed a sterling performance from Nick Cassidy this weekend, winning his first Euro F3 race after all the years of part-time schedules just to try and get a foot in the door.

    2. What I find strange about the incident is that, in the many years I’ve gone to Zandvoort, they used Toyota pick up trucks to recover cars during races. These always went with the direction of the track, never against it like the crane in this incident is.

      The DTM event was often disliked by the local marshals since the DTM organizers took over most tasks in Race Control and laid down specific rules for track marshals. I haven’t been to Zandvoort in years, nor has anyone in my family been a marshal there in five years, but if it’s anything like ‘back in the day’, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was more of a DTM/Euro F3 failure than one on Zandvoort’s behalf.

      1. what difference does it make if the recovery vehicle goes against or with the direction of the track? or is it just an observation?

        1. Safety, I would think. If a car happens to spin off and hits a recovery vehicle, then the forces will be much less going with it then against it.

        2. Nicholas Port (@)
          19th July 2016, 20:22

          The direction is important for the safety of marshals, pit crew members and other personnel on the racing circuit. Their focus is so much on the cars travelling one direction that it is easy for them to not take appropriate precautions against opposite traffic. In Indy Car racing, recovery and other response vehicles have been required to only travel in the same direction as race traffic since the 1973 Indy 500. In the immediate aftermath of Swede Savages deadly crash a pit crew member, Armando Teran, rushed onto pit lane and was fatally struck by a fire truck speeding down the track in the opposite direction to race traffic.

  2. Super Formula has the race highlights on their Facebook page:

    This was, a seriously, SERIOUSLY good race between Nakajima, who races for Toyota in WEC, and Oliveira, who should be racing for a factory team in WEC. Yuhi Sekiguchi also got his first podium in the series, as he’s really starting to emerge as a legitimate top driver in national competition.

  3. Marc Marquez returned to the top of the Moto GP podium for the first time since April and pulled 48 points clear of Jorge Lorenzo in the championship.

    That’s a rather short bit of text about the race but I understand as it’s not motorracing. FYI Marquez has won on this track every time for the last 7 years!

  4. I watched the MotoGP, IndyCar and DTM.

    I found the MotoGP race to be the most interesting this weekend, because of how it was won. In changing conditions, Marquez pitted first for slicks and was 4 to 5 seconds per lap faster than the lead group which were roughly 10 to 15 seconds ahead of him when he pitted. The leading group were told to pit via their pit boards but they all stayed out for several laps before pitting. Eventually the lead group pitted but by the time they had returned to the track Marquez had gone by and he went on to win comfortably.

    With all the talk of pit to car radio in F1, it was interesting to see this play out as the riders only had their pit boards for communication so they didn’t know that Marquez had pitted and was significantly faster than them. The decision to pit is solely that of the rider and without pit to bike radio they really only know what’s going on in their immediate vicinity and while the guy I was cheering the most for (Rossi) got the wrong end of this deal, I must say I enjoyed watching it play out.

    I think I may now be changing my opinion on pit to car radio and it’s use.

  5. And Liam Doran has been fired because of his immature action at Gatebil..

  6. All these heavy duty machines should be equipped with external airbags or just “baloons” like devices.
    Just like tanks got external reactive armour. It’s XXI century already, end of story.

    1. MG421982 (@)
      19th July 2016, 7:54

      Was thinking the same way, maybe some tyres attached to them could be the 1st step, but they’ll get a lot wider suddenly and that may be problematic at the entrances.

  7. These cranes or cherry pickers have been seen a few times around F1 tracks since that tragic accident….I thought they were going to add some protective bars around them so cars would not go under them……haven’t seen any yet…
    Even under a virtual safety car…a car could aquaplane off and go underneath in wet conditions…..

  8. Regarding the crane: last GP at Silverstone the marshalls risked their lives recovering the stricken Manors in the first corner, but nobody called for a safety car. But when the drivers risk their lives when a crane is on the track, then the world is too small. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t promote cranes on the track, but there sure is a double standard. Are drivers more important than marshalls?

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      19th July 2016, 1:59

      I thought the same when I saw that.

      I heard a lot of people say Bianchi’s was the first death in F1 since Senna – what about the poor marshals in 2013, 2001 and 2000?

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        19th July 2016, 7:27

        I am sure people refer to driver casualties when they talk about “deaths in F1”.
        However, I’m always inclined to include Maria de Vilotta when talking about driver casualties in F1 too.

        1. Yes, a very sad accident.

        2. Senna was not last “F1 casualty” before Maria de Vilotta. Two drivers has died in historic F1 car between 1994 and 2013. John Dawson-Damer (Lotus 63) at 2000 Goodwood Festival of Speed and 2 years later Fritz Glatz (Footwork FA17) at Most circuit during EuroBOSS Series. Another forgotten victims of speed…

    2. I am pretty sure that a considerable amount of fans here on F1F were pretty clear about that incident – that they should have called a SC for it (that was the second time in short order where somethign like that happened too) @matthijs.

  9. Misquoting President Kennedy, “There’s always someone who doesn’t get the word.”

  10. Instead of using social media to suck-up to people, while using a dead person to evoke sympathy, Mr. Hill should instead try to use his position of a former F1 WDC to start a campaign to educate young drivers (particularly those that are also very active on social media), so that they learn and respect the rules.

    If there is a yellow flag being waved, follow the rules and slow down.

    Here is one example from everyday life.
    Let’s say you are doing 120 kph on a highway and you see a sign “work ahead”, with a speed limitation of 50 kph. You respect the rules and slow down to that speed so that you can pass the construction site safely.

    This is exactly what racing drivers should be doing when they see yellow flag being waved. Slow down to acceptable speed and respect the rules. Or is that maybe too demanding for them?

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      19th July 2016, 15:47

      Because it’s not enforced. I think VSC is good because it’s more clear-cut than yellows or double yellows.

      1. Regarding VSC.
        VSC is more time limited than speed limited, so it is not a good solution.
        Drivers do slow down, but it is staying over the minimum time that matters. They are concentrating on that, constantly accelerating and braking, trying to stay close to that time, which distracts them from the real danger on and off the track.
        Silly system and a typical FIA knee jerk solution.

        Better solutions are WEC’s slow zones, or “Code 60”.

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    19th July 2016, 12:32

    I watched the third Zandvoort F3 race only last night, and I was utterly appalled by what I saw. Weiron Tan had found that barrier, why was it inconceivable for another car to follow? Hugen-Holtz’s classic layout does not have much run-off, and with grass alone between a live racetrack and the Manitou, a wayward car would have been at full speed if it was going to make contact with the crane.

    The exact same scenario ultimately killed Jules Bianchi, and given that the motor-racing community has just marked a year since his death, it is simply unacceptable that an FIA-managed series would so flagrantly flout its own safety procedures. What is the point of implementing a Halo with subjective safety benefits, when the FIA cannot even adhere to its own statutory procedures?

  12. I don’t know why, but I do love the Indy visor cam, there is something very early 90’s F1 onboard about it. The way the image shakes so violently makes you (well me) feel like the drivers are really working hard to pull out a lap time, it is so much more impressive than the T-bar in F1 or the normal onboard cameras in Indycar.

    1. @geemac The visor-cam that they use now for the few laps during practice is simply a GoPro camera mounted to the safety strip at the top of the visor. You can find similar shots from F1 cars that teams/drivers sometimes run in testing, There’s some of the Mercedes F1 youtube page for example from the Silverstone pre-season shakedown.

      Also worth pointing out that things like GoPro’s & other similar cameras that you just stick on a helmet tend to pick up far more bumps & vibrations when compared to what the drivers actually see/feel so it’s not as realistic a representation of what its like to sit in these cars as people tend to think.

  13. Why is everybody upset with the fact of a crane on the track?
    The drivers should be respect the yellow waved flags around the incident in the first place… , slowing down, let the marshalls do their job.. like Jules should have done also..

    Drivers who don’t respect waved yellow should be banned from racing for a couple of races.
    fixing issues by it sources

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