Bianchi undergoes operation

Jules Bianchi is undergoing an emergency operation at a hospital near the Suzuka circuit following an accident during the Japanese Grand Prix. The Marussia driver went off and hit a tractor that was removing the Sauber of Adrian Sutil, which had previously crashed at the same corner. There were caution flags being shown when Bianchi crashed.

The driver was taken to the circuit medical centre and was then transferred by ambulance with a police escort to the Mie Prefecture General Hospital in Yokkaichi, around 15 kilometres from the track. He was unconscious but breathing when the medical teams arrived at the scene and he has continued to breath without needing any artificial respiration.

A computerised tomography (CT) scan in Yokkaichi revealed that he has suffered “a severe head injury” and he underwent an emergency operation. French television has quoted his father as saying that he is in a coma. Obviously more time is needed before the extent of the injuries can be properly assessed.

99 thoughts on “Bianchi undergoes operation

  1. Such terrible news. I hope the medical team can work their magic and Jules will make a good recovery.

    My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

    Get well soon Jules !

    1. That was what I thought too. I hope that Jules survives and recovers fully and that we may see him well soon.

    2. It’s an awful thing to happen, but everyone knows that motorsport is dangerous, always has been, always will be, just like sports like National Hunt racing, Boxing, Climbing. Every now and then, someone will get hurt in circumstances that are just made from elements of timing that is unlucky.
      I hope Jules survives and wish all his family, friends and his team, all the best for a speedy and full recovery.

  2. I’m always amazed that Race Control have recovery tractors within the circuit confines under waved double yellows.
    F1 has been lucky……up till now. time for a cold hard look at their risk management. Le Mans type slow zones between corner X to Y might be a way to go.

    1. Wasn’t there another incident twenty-odd years ago of a car hitting a recovery vehicle at Suzuka? Or am I getting it mixed up with Martin Brundle (?) hitting a marshal there and breaking the latter’s leg?

      Good to hear that he’s out of surgery and here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.

    2. If drivers complied with double waved yellows – in a UK context at least this means:

      15.1 (f) Yellow flag – Double Waved: Great danger. Slow down considerably. Be prepared to suddenly change from the projected racing line, or take other evasive action including stopping if necessary. No overtaking. (This signal may be supplemented or replaced by flashing yellow light(s), as an added warning).

      If you lose it and slide off the track then you weren’t apparently obeying the flag.

      Agree that, if the drivers won’t obey and the FIA won’t punish, if is time for speed limits between marshals’ posts under DWY.

      Bianchi may have to be like the chap who fell off a ladder and was prosecuted for his trouble – on the face of it, Bianchi put himself and marshals in danger. That he has been injured does not excuse that, if it is a true reflection of the facts.

      1. More than a little harsh in my opinion.

        Jules aquaplaned off. Something I’ve witnessed F1 drivers do at stupidly slow speeds and something I’ve experienced in a road car, again, at times, at low speed. Its physics and frankly there is nothing you can do about it save for stopping or reducing your speed to a crawl. One minute you are travelling much slower than you would need to, to remain safe. Next minute you are out of control as you hit a puddle or stream of water and skid along the top of it.

      2. In Bianchi’s defence, I think we should wait before assuming he didn’t give the Double Waved Yellow enough respect.

        The conditions may have been worse than he anticipated, so he may have believed he slowed down sufficiently, but the track turned out to be too wet for his tyres.

        Additionally, from reports it appears that his car went airborne over the gravel, and so didn’t get the benefit of being slowed down by it. This may mean he actually lost control at a slower speed than it looks.

        1. That is 132 mph. That sounds fast but if that is the case what was he doing going at that speed in a caution zone?

      3. During the coverage David Coulthard made the very good point that when the cars are running behind the safety car at a slower speed, they have less downforce and hence less grip due to the reduction on the amount of force pressing the car and its tires onto the track, which might have been a contributing factor in Bianchi losing control.

  3. I know that this is not the time for recriminations, but why was there no safety car with the loader and marshalls so close to the outside of a turn?
    The drivers are as safe as possible, but F1 is still dangerous, we can only hope that Jules recovers and has no lasting injuries. I’m not one given to prayer, but I’ll say one for him anyway.

    1. I know Charlie and the FIA do a very difficult job, but he/they do make some very strange decisions.

      On the one hand they are ultra cautious and insist on tarmac runoff areas. I actually think that they can be more dangerous than gravel traps and I think the stunt that Kimi pulled at the start of this year’s British GP is a good example. The powers that be that day then insisted that the barrier be fixed to perfection and delayed the restart by an hour.

      And then today the race begins behind the safety car and isn’t allowed to get going until the track is dry enough for inters. Then, when it starts to rain again (as well as get dark, that’s another story) and someone crashes, Charlie tries to keep the race going under waved yellows.

      I just don’t get it. Ultra cautious on the one hand and incredibly courageous on the other.

      1. Says it all for me. A complete lack of criticism from the media for Whiting and the FIA in what was an entirely avoidable accident. Recovery vehicles should never be allowed to come into contact with F1 cars. No recovery vehicle should be allowed anywhere near the race track unless the race is neutralised. And yet the race was started several laps too late when the conditons were fine. No consistency and a very obvious danger not avoided.

  4. I saw the shape behind the tractor and thought “oh no”. Let’s pray that his helmet worked as well as Massa’s did. A dark day indeed.

  5. Thoughts and prayers are with Jules, his family and all at Marussia. Nothing else matters at the moment.

  6. And so the finger pointing begins. Its Motorsport. It happens every single weekend of the year throughout the uk. people freak out in F1 because the saftey standard is so high it gives the illusion of saftey. It is just that though…

    Thoughts with jules. Nice lad. Hope he survives and recovers.

    1. And bad things happen away from the track. I’ve just read that Andrea de Cesaris died today, in a motorbike accident near Rome. great shame, lovely guy and good racer, remember him well in F3 & F2 before he got to F1. Only 55, very young still. You can lose your life at any time, in any place. The only certainty in life is death & taxes.

  7. Are we sure there were yellow flags? The reason I ask is because the only real video so far is right after the Bianchi impact. In that video, there appears to be a waved green flag visible? At about 20 secs when they pan back..

    1. I am absolutely certain that there was plenty of caution flags and lights. These systems are automated and if you watch the TV you can see the lap counter switch to yellow when there are cautions.

    2. The green seen in videos is being waved after the sutil incident location to say its OK again.

      My issue is that, despite all the time and effort that goes into designing crash structures, F1 compromises it all by putting solid steel objects (and plenty of people) in harm’s way without throwing a full course yellow. Tractors are becoming the biggest causes of harm in F1. There was the one that killed a Marshall, rewatch Singapore and one was driving towards oncoming fans before the podium, and then today. What is wrong with flatbed trucks operated by professional safety crews under full course yellows?

      1. Chris D, it’s a mute point whether you hit a tractor or a flatbed truck, in an F1 car, and it causes harm. I don’t see any difference personally. However, what could make a real difference, might be a change in the design regs for F1, so that the cars are more capable in wet conditions. For many years now, it has been the case that the design of the cars makes it very dangerous to drive them in wet conditions. I think they are more dangerous in the wet than cars of say 25 years ago were, although they are safer from the point of view of their monocoques. It would be more sensible if they were designed for all types of weather condition, and had higher ride heights for one thing, and wider tyres for example. There might be a trade off in reduction of speed, but they are much slower than of late anyway, so that wouldn’t be a great issue I’d say.

    3. I’m sure someone else will notice, but just in case, the video now says it has been removed because of policy on “spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content”.

      I thought it was perfectly fair use, in the context of news and concern as to safety and unavailability of any other video detail in the public domain.

      In fact, not removing the clip under copyright rules, implies that it was fair use, and accepted as such.

      It is not good, it does not make any look any better, by suppressing what is out there, after it has been made public. Sky news just relayed a FIA statement that nothing needs to be changed, rules wise. That’s too defensive, too early. I managed to miss what Max M had to say..

      All I know, is it was very dark indeed. To my thoughts, the idea that standing water, become invisible, causing acquaplaning, make most sense. Maybe the rules need no change, but there’s some common sense questions about the late start, for one thing. I doubt anyone is going to feel very satisfied.

  8. Terrible news. One can only hope for Jules’ eventual recovery.

    There does remain the question, however: how was Jules’ speed (sufficient for him to lose control) consistent with him complying with the double waved yellows in force at that point?

    1. Not to get into any speculation on something so horrible but it is possible to Aquaplane very fast while still going well under maximum speed. Remember we saw cars spinning off on formation lap and you don’t need to be doing 200mph to have a massive head injury.

  9. Here’s sincerely hoping he can emerge from this with no long term ill effects. Thoughts with him and all those close to him.

  10. Such a terrible crash…I hope he pulls through and let’s hope that it’s a positive that he was able to breath on is own all through the experience. But as with Michael time is what he now needs.

  11. Many of us have warned about this VERY issue, repeatedly, and for years.

    The massive construction vehicles used to remove disabled cars are far more dangerous to the racers than the abandoned cars being removed. In recent years, the FIA has allowed construction vehicles to remove disabled cars under green flag running with greater and greater frequency.

    Presumably, the FIA took these terrible risks to avoid safety cars. Well, now the inevitable has happened, terrible injuries have resulted, and the FIA will finally be forced to change this unsupportable practice.

    There have long been solutions to the issue of disabled cars. All are far better than introducing massive construction vehicles to a live race course. Cranes behind the barriers ala Monaco. Full safety cars for any car removal, or simply leaving disabled cars in the runoff areas until the next safety car.

    This practice is also a tremendous hazard to corner workers. It was also only a matter of time until one of them was hit by a secondary crashing vehicle.

    This was a completely avoidable tragedy. The FIA and Charlie Whiting deserve all of the blame.

      1. Joe, perhaps you’re a little too close to those who are at fault?

        When a sport’s officials ignore repeated warnings of a completely predictable disaster in the making, they need to be called on that failing. As you well know, I and many other here have Repeatedly warned against the presence of construction vehicles on active race courses.

        We warned that construction vehicles are incompatible with F1 cars, that submarining one of these monsters would tend to hit an F1 car directly at the head level of the driver, exactly what occurred in this incident.

        There have been many close calls where course workers and construction vehicles were barley avoided by secondary crashes. Any of these incidents should have woken up the FIA, yet the FIA did not react. Now the inevitable has happened and a driver may pay with his life or livelihood.

        As dangerous as the practice is, it has actually become MORE common as this decade has progressed, under both Mosley’s and Todt’s tenure. The one commonality is Charlie Whiting. It’s difficult to understand Whiting’s rationale, but the increased presence of these cleanup crews on live race tracks would never have happened without his explicit approval.

        Beyond any doubt, the FIA will now prohibit heavy construction vehicles from any part of the track where cars are at race speed. In doing so, the FIA will prove their own culpability.

        The tragedy is that this never needed to happen. It was a completely preventable incident. For that failing, Whiting should lose his job. Although quite unlikely, it would be a truly deserved sacking.

        The decision to allow heavy construction vehicles onto live race tracks has never been defensible, and it will have taken the blood of a young man to bring the practice to a halt.

          1. Do you believe heavy construction vehicles will continue to be allowed into runoff areas while cars zip past at racing speed?

            It seems unfathomable that the FIA will be able to keep their head in the sand on this any longer.

            1. It is very clear that this was a caution zone and cars should not have been travelling at racing speeds. It is also clear that the tractor was very efficient.

              1. Joe, you’re incorrect. Video has appeared showing green flags waving at the moment of Bianchi’s incident. At best, the warnings were ambiguous, at worst, there were no warnings at all.

                Even had there been unambiguous yellow flags, you’re well aware that the FIA’s yellow flag rules only require drivers to reduce their speed by the smallest fraction of a second.

                It would not have made one bit of difference had Bianchi hit the construction vehicle at 128 MPH instead of the actual estimate of 130 MPH.

                It’s time for the FIA to face the truth that heavy construction vehicles are absolutely incompatible with F1 cars.

                  1. Why are you so focused on the issue of a caution zone? As you well know, the FIA only requires drivers to slow down a fraction of a second, a single KM per hour or two when they are within a caution zone.

                    Formula One drivers, by job description and temperament, will only slow the amount absolutely required by the statues. If they slowed more, they wouldn’t be the kind of men to make it to Formula One.

                    So long as the FIA neglects to specify EXACTLY how much the drivers must slow in a caution zone, the drivers will not slow. Nor will they going forward unless the FIA dictates an exact speed that must be followed.

                    To expect the drivers to truly slow of their own accord is to ask the impossible. It is not in their nature. It will never happen, not without firm speed limits.

                    That said, speed limits in caution zones would be among the worst potential solutions. Full cockpits are also a complete overreaction.

                    The best solution is also the simplest. Stop the ridiculously dangerous practice of allowing heavy construction vehicles onto active race tracks. Remove disabled cars by crane or leave them in place until a safety car or red flag is called.

                    The cranes used at Monaco have previously been used at other tracks. Their use outside Monaco has fallen away in recent years. Were full construction cranes brought back to all tracks, the number of safety car periods might not rise at all.

                    US racing series have disallowed heavy construction vehicles on active race tracks for decades. Their method is tried and proven. Why so many in F1 refuse to accept this easy answer is quite frankly, beyond me. Perhaps just another case of “not invented here”.

          1. Numbers?

            Here are the numbers that matter. Measure the height of the undercarriage of the heavy construction vehicles used to move disabled cars. Measure the height of the driver’s helmet when seated in the car.

            Does the undercarriage line up with a driver’s helmet height? Yes, in fact they do. This is something that’s been known for years. It shouldn’t have required the real world test.

            Construction vehicles also mass 10 to 20 times that of an F1 car and are made of steel. It was a disaster in waiting. It is far safer for a driver to collide with a disabled, light-weight F1 car than the hulking construction vehicles used to remove those disabled cars.

            Proof of what? Poof that many have long pointed out the tremendous hypocrisy of the FIA demanding safety upgrades at tracks, but increasing the use of these dangerous construction vehicles under green flag running? That needs no proof, Google and Youtube provide it in abundance.

            There had been many close calls prior to this tragedy. Now that the video of the incident has been released, we know that course workers were nearly additional victims of this latest incident.

            Heavy construction vehicles are incomparable with F1 cars. Neither they nor course workers should ever be present on live race courses. Sadly, it will have taken the blood of an innocent young man to prove this to the FIA.

      2. It might not be fair to blame Charlie, but the FIA deserve a lot of scrutiny, I believe the person posting has thought this for a long time, so not ill considered as such. F1 safety standards when clearing accidents do not stand up well to Indycar, world endurance and many other series. The reluctance to throw full course cautions is historic and owes more to the ‘show’ than to safety.

      3. We know you love the sport Joe – and that comment above does go too far – but in your analysis would an earlier safety car have avoided the incident and, given the large tractor, should the call not have been made? Obviously, humans can not always get everything right…but I think this incident is not completely in the realms of hindsight

            1. This is correct. On Monday night at Osaka Airport I was in a fairly catatonic state. I slept for three hours on Saturday night and Sunday night was straight through until I had 90 minutes at midday on Monday. Writing coherently in such circumstances is not always easy.

              1. Four and a half hours of sleep in two days? Being an F1 journalist is such a glamorous life, isn’t it? Us regulars enjoy and understand the typos. Have you finally gotten some rest?
                I can’t sleep on planes to save my life. My record is 48+ hours… Then again, you fly first class so… 😉

                1. I slept the whole flight from Japan to Dubai and some of the current flight. I am now on an A380 with internet. I may sleep some more in a bit

          1. It’s always easy to find solutions with hindsight isn’t it Joe? I feel that Seb summed it up, unlucky timing, unlucky place. I don’t think Charlie or the organizers would knowingly do something that might result in harm such as this.
            However, as the current sport stands, for future races like this, maybe it would be better to stop the race while cars are recovered, and have a rolling start under the SC to restart an event. Yes it’s a bit untidy, but it might prevent a similar disaster happening? On another point, Lewis made an interesting observation. He said the conditions were not so bad for him, but that his car is so much better than some of the others, that it might well have been really bad for drivers at the back end of the field. This must be true, as the aero and mechanical grip of a Merc, must be a long way ahead of such as a Marussia or Caterham. So maybe the rules for SC and race stoppage should consider that point??

            1. “…unlucky timing, unlucky place.” In contrast some channels are now broadcasting a video of a WRC or other rally series car flipping over almost a dozen people-and no one got hurt.
              It’s just one of those things that happens. You do what you can to prevent it, but sometimes it’s not enough.

            2. Hindsight? There’s no hindsight here. Many of use have warned of this specific danger for years.

              The FIA has been warned, repeatedly. Former drivers like Martin Brundle have bemoaned the risks of heavy construction vehicles on active tracks, and not just for a few years. Brundle has warned of this specific danger for going on two Decades.

              The FIA knew the risks of heavy construction vehicles on active tracks. They not only disregarded those risks, they’ve actually INCREASED the frequency of these vehicles on active tracks over the past decade.

              The term you’re looking for isn’t “2020 hindsight”, it’s “Willful Ignorance”.

    1. “leaving disabled cars in the runoff areas” Clay Regazzoni was paralyzed at Long Beach in 1980 when he hit a car left in the runoff area. Terrible idea.

      1. In Regga’s crash at Long Beach 1980 , the abandoned Brahbam of Zunino saved his life at the time.
        Reggazzoni ‘ s Ti brake pedal snapped as he was going from the fastest part to the slowest part of the circuit.
        Clay purposely hit the parked Brabham to his left to scrub some speed before his Ensign slammed head on into the tires/concrete barriers at the end of run off area.
        The impact was so severe , even the impact of the parked car , that his car moved the 2 TON Concrete barrier a number of feet as well as the aluminum chassis folded back on itself , causing Regga’s back injuries

    2. I completely agree with your remark. That’s exactly what I think. Everytime i’ve seen cars being removed like this I always thought “what if”. They should have thought the same. Charlie Whiting is to blame, of course. Just because he’s done so much for the sport doesn’t mean he is not guilty this time. And I’m sorry to see the “oh it’s a dangerous sport” mentality. Because of this mentality may people have died in the past.

      1. You may not have noticed but it is a dangerous sport and trying to say otherwise and believe otherwise is just not logical.

        1. It is, but the way people like you dismiss this kind of accident because of the dangerous nature of the sport does nothing to help drivers get to their families safe! Yes it is dangerous, drivers may crash and get hurt, a car might catch fire, but this was a tractor on the run off area of a complicated part of the circuit in awful weather. What was it doing there? This accident was avoidable! Were I a japanese prosecutor, some people would not have left the country so soon! Race management acted in a negligent way, and a person got hurt. I’m glad nobody else did, but it was close, very close!

          1. You do not seem to understand that people who go racing know that it is dangerous and they accept the risks. Obviously they want it to be as safe as possible and F1 has an astonishingly good safety record these days. That said, there is an inherent danger in driving a car fast so one accepts that risk.

    1. So I hear, but as there is no way that I can confirm this at 05.25 in the morning in a stormy Shiroko, I have not reported it. I believe these reports are coming out of France, probably from his father.

  12. This is such an extremely sad accident. I don’t know if this is the wrong time to discuss this, but when Sky F1 learned what exactly happened I couldn’t help but to wonder why the FIA doesn’t have special equipment for removing cars. I suppose overhead cranes should probably be used more often. But when that is not possible, I’m wondering if a smaller crane or loader that is lower to the ground and surrounded by a steel and foam barrier would work? Like a mobile piece of a crash wall.

    1. These machines are the most effective way to move things. They are quick but in this case Bianchi hit while Sutil’s car was being removed. The crane was only there for about two minutes before Bianchi arrived.

      1. This ^^^^. It seems to take an age to shift a beached BTCC car at some circuits, where they have to drag it out of the way with a 4×4. I don’t think a crane would be as effective for moving a GT or touring car as the “tractor”.

      2. They are effective for moving a wrecked/broken car, but they are not safe when struck by a moving car. As far as I know (and correct me if I’m wrong), this is the first time this has happened, but Martin Brundle said it nearly happened to him during his F1 career. Isn’t that enough of a reason to modify the loaders and surround them with crash protection?

    2. It makes total sense to have an additional vehicle on site at the ready with a mobile crash barrier. Or the mobile crane itself drops the barrier in the first step of the removal protocol then picks up the car. Better yet, on active expressways you see a trailing vehicle with crash protection behind work crews there needs to be an F1 version of this concept.

      Unfortunately a driver is paying very heavily for what seems a glaringly obvious hazard, heavy metal. The reluctance likely stems from fear of excessive recovery times/delays. In a sport that prides itself on creativity, problem solving & constant rapid innovation a better solution should be forthcoming, if not something is very wrong.

  13. I daren’t think the ways how one can collide with a tractor. That’s a ugly thing to have close by when anyone might aquaplane.

    Am I right in thinking no broadcast of the event was relayed? Neither sky nor BBC reruns have any hint of it, and I was quite unaware of the event when live.

    Why does Lauda have to be the hard man, in comments, today, of all days? I found his comments upsetting.

    Prayers and best wishes for Jules. It all feels wrong, today. No matter what happened, questions have to be asked. I fear for Bianchi, this has left me with a feeling I know won’t dispel quickly.

    1. Lauda is not a hard man. he has the same kind of attitude that most racers have. It may not be what the modern health and safety generation think but racing is dangerous and those who do it, accept the risks.

      1. Lauda went through literally, the fires of Hell, and came out, not really different than before. He is probably the ultimate pragmatist World Champion. Like him, fans of that era, well, we grew up with our heroes dying year by year. As Joe suggests, it was a different time. The attitude to any form of safety had not changed since the dawn of the sport, and only JYS and Jo Bonnier, really tried hard to change the mindset of the authorities, the track owners and the drivers. As with all such accidents, apart from wishing Jules a good recovery, one can only say that he was doing something that he loved beyond all else in life. If the circuit had been empty and no other cars around, he would still have been wanting to drive his car yesterday. Jules and all the others, and every participant in the sport worldwide, accept the risks all the time, I respect them all for that, and it is one of the reasons why one has to love all the men and women who drive machines to the limit, in our sport, for their pleasure, and ours.

    2. This is a horrible tragedy, but I was shocked that the U.S. commentators on Fox Sports seemed to have completely missed that anything was awry at all. It’s possible to confuse the two silver Mercedes road cars going out on the track, especially with all the spray, but when I saw the medical car overtake the safety car, I knew it couldn’t have been a good reason.

      I don’t need to see details, but it sure is helpful for the viewer if something can be acknowledged on-air about about the existence of a serious incident.

      All the best for Bianchi, his family and friends.

  14. Joe, I think you removed my earlier post out of respect for Bianchi. Although the video didn’t show the crash, I completely understand it. My question is, why is there a green flag clearly being displayed on video as the track workers approach the Bianchi accident? I keep reading there were yellows or waved double yellows – how do they explain the green flag within meters of the accident when it happened?

    1. I have no idea but the caution systems these days go way beyond flags as you can see if you look at the lights etc

      1. They are supposed to be waving a green ‘after’ an incident section – in this case the next available green flag station was just past the accident scene. This is proper flagging. At that point in the process neither a full all course yellow SC situation had been called and of course it was before the Red flag was called. If someone is making a statement that the green was incorrect at this point (full course SC yellow was already in effect) you would have to twin this video with some official time stamp to prove that. I doubt the green was incorrectly used here (time wise) although even if it were – it has no bearing on the incident to Bianchi.

    2. Logan, I presume there’s every chance your question has been answered by someone else, but in case it hasn’t:

      The way the lights work, as I understand it, is that a green light/flag is shown at the beginning of the sector *after* the incident.

      In this case – the green light / flag you are seeing is after the crash and marshals.

      The fact a green light was shown at that point, is actually confirmation that yellows were in effect up to that point.

  15. Joe, terrible reports like this one (that have to be written) from time to time is why I read your blog exclusively for F1. You gave the event, what is known and havent speculated on the future. Thats proper journalism. Just like you did with Michael Schumacher.

  16. Sad day for F1. Hoping for some good news regarding Jules’ condition. In the meantime, Rest in Peace Andrea de Cesaris.

  17. A terrible end to what had been an exciting and riveting spectacle; a race I always look forward to watching year after year. Brought back all the negative feelings surrounding Michael’s accident. Thoughts are with him & his friends/family. I hope he pulls through. Thanks also for ‘just’ reporting the facts – just what I’ve come to expect from you.

  18. I suppose it’s the way of the world now but I was disappointed to see that a lot of the interviews after the race focused on trying to draw the drivers and others into criticising either the FIA or the organisers for not moving the race, stopping the race earlier or not implementing different procedures. Of course there are always lessons to learn when horrible things happen but the knee-jerk need to point the finger and blame someone, anyone, for something that is simply a terrible piece of misfortune leaves a pretty nasty taste.

    1. Seems to be the way of the world these days. Lots of people become experts after the fact and there always has to be someone to blame, the concept of an accident seems to have disappeared. For me Niki Lauda seemed to speak the most sense in the aftermath of the event.

      Hope Jules recovers from this and fulfils his potential. Maybe changes will be made in the aftermath but even if they are, the danger will always be there in F1 and we should not be surprised if another bad accident occurs in the future

  19. I hope jules pulls through without too much long term damage.

    Joe, you probably don’t hear Sky commentary being at races, but if you did you would know that frustration and alarm expresses by commentators at tractors on track, marshalls behaving bizarrely on track etc etc is practically a weekly occurrence.

    From clowns with brooms running around erratically in harms way to un-uniformed staff with their backs to oncoming cars, it all happens.

    To say F1 has nothing to learn from other series when it comes to safety is the worst form of complacency and I hope those inside F1 do not indulge in that.

  20. The video linked from Logan’s post (above) has the FIA Press Officer saying that “the helicopter could not fly in these conditions.”

    I thought this was an immediate red flag event: no helicopter = no racing?

    1. It is more complicated than that. The helicopter flew off as the ambulance departed. I stood there and watched it happen. This was because the helicopter was going elsewhere and the race was finished. The problem was as the hospital. In any case, the road to the hospital was very quick.

      1. For clarity’s sake, I wasn’t criticising the response, but more being surprised by the FIA comment given the oft-quoted rule. Presumably, in future, the conditions at the local hospital will also factor in the go/no-go decision.

  21. Joe, a quick question. I read that he had to be driven to the hospital as the helicopter ambulance could not safely take off. I thought that it was not possible to race if the helicopter ambulance can not fly under FIA regulations?

  22. In the future, a potential solution could be to install low barriers around the cranes. It could be as easy as welding hooks off of which to hang Armco or any other rigid ‘skirt’. In the US, freight trailers are supposed to have low-mounted barriers to prevent similar accidents when a passenger vehicle rear-ends them. Similar idea, just all around.

    Between this accident and María de Villota’s, it looks like this is one of the bigger dangers remaining in the sport, and it certainly isn’t one of those dangers that add excitement to the spectacle. So fix it. It can probably be done for less cost than paving over gravel traps.

    Best wishes to Bianchi.

  23. “Lauda is not a hard man. he has the same kind of attitude that most racers have. It may not be what the modern health and safety generation think but racing is dangerous and those who do it, accept the risks.”

    First, all best wishes to Bianchi & His Family.

    Second, I agree with with Joe. No one forces drivers to do their “job”; they (as everyone else does) know and accept the dangers and are rewarded richly for doing it. If modern H&S had their way, no one would dare get out of bed in the morning, nevermind watching or competing in dangerous sports.

    H&S and “think” in the same sentence… you’re joking, right? So one day someone will trip over one of those stupid H&S obstacles; the lightweight, flimsy yellow wet-floor warning signs, and fatally spit-open their heads on a hard floor. Good thinking

  24. Sad days in the community. Sending best thoughts to Jules for a complete recovery. As everyone wonders how to learn from the accident any curiosity as to how last year’s nose height and structures would have fared in the collision.

  25. Without going to the extreme of having a safety car for all accidents, and while also allowing tractors/JCBs in the run-off area, a solution would be to ensure that a yellow flag means a *substantial* reduction in speed, especially for wet races, and perhaps have the yellow flags waved two or even three corners leading up to the accident scene.

    Currently, drivers see a yellow flag as requiring one to do that sector slower (by one tenth?) than average. 10% or 20% slower would make a big difference

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