Bianchi’s medical condition – and what it means

The Marussia F1 Team has put out a statement on behalf of the Bianchi family, in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center. Jules Bianchi remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital and is listed as being in a critical but stable condition. The statement says that he has suffered from “a diffuse axonal injury”. Professor Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, and Professor Alessandro Frati, neurosurgeon of the University of Rome La Sapienza, who has travelled to Japan at the request of Scuderia Ferrari, are both at the hospital and have met with medical personnel responsible for Jules’s treatment.

A diffuse axonal injury is not the result of a blow to the head, but rather is caused by the brain moving back and forth within the skull as a result of extreme acceleration or deceleration. The injury is very common in automobile accidents. The movement of the brain within the skull causes lesions to the brain tissues, which cause permanent damage to the brain.
The initial treatment is to reduce swelling in the brain as much as possible as this can cause additional damage. However, surgery cannot repair the damage done. It is, however, impossible at this stage for anyone other than the doctors to say how bad the long-term effects of these injuries will be. However it must also be noted that severe diffuse axonal injury is a significant cause of death in patients with traumatic brain injury and is also a frequent cause of persistent vegetative state. It may not be that bad, but we must be prepared for all possibilities.

79 thoughts on “Bianchi’s medical condition – and what it means

  1. as i think on this. the name schumacher comes to my mind. in this case we’re about to see a young talent wasted… what a shame. motorports is a dangerous way of compete. but danger comes together with this kind os sports.
    a shame to see a young guy in this state. a shame indeed

  2. I’ve always longed to see him in the famed red overalls,I am sure it is his dream & hope this will be fulfilled.

  3. Jule’s crash was hugely tragic, and I agree that everyone did the best they could in regard to safety. It was a very unlucky set of circumstances.

    We are so used to seeing drivers walk away from huge crashes, so when the broadcasters go silent, and there is no activity, butterflies begin to churn!

    I commend you for handling this so tastefully – and even more so, the F1 Photographers who have refused to sell or publish images of the crash!
    Bravo!

    1. “We are so used to seeing drivers walk away from huge crashes, so when the broadcasters go silent, and there is no activity, butterflies begin to churn!”

      You were lucky. It took the BBC an absolute age to notice anything was up with Bianchi. They kept saying it was Sutil despite the on-screen graphics saying otherwise. Even when talking about Sutil they didn’t seem too concerned to see the unusual sight of an ambulance and the Medical Car on track and carried on talking about Lewis Hamilton. Even repeated shots of the Marussia pit crew looking really concerned and shots of the Rolex gantry over the pitlane scrolling through saying “Bianchi OUT” wasn’t enough for them to notice. It was only long after the red flag came out that they noticed anything was up.

      1. My, Sky is so much better – Martin Brundle and David Croft are doing a fine job there. For us in Asia we’re just happy Star Sports is using Sky to for the race (qualifying and practice included) coverage commentary. We were sick of Steve Slater and his ever rolling line-up of co-commentators.

  4. As fans of F1, we love the sport. The drivers know that these dangers exist, but they love driving and competing even more. I suppose that their decision to race with that knowledge puts accidents, like Jules Bianchi’s, in a certain perspective, i.e., informed assumption of the risks involved.

    I am growing more and more pessimistic about his chances, based on Joe’s judicious reporting, but I’m not sure that Jules would have wanted to do anything other than race in F1. Unfortunately, though, in a very dangerous sport terrible things will eventually happen.

  5. Very sad news that’s been released today I hope for a positive outcome. These types of injuries unfortunately has been my biggest fear in the sport. I realise the circumstances of the accident are very unusual, but the drivers are now so strapped in in all forms Motorsport that the only thing that moves rapidly in an accident is the internal organs. Internal injuries have hit nascar, indycar and now F1 I wonder is the speeds acceleration and deacceleration are just to much.

  6. It is awful to contemplate this, but the outcome does not look good for Jules, in as much as the diagnosis seems to predict that he is very unlikely to have what passes for a normal life in future. That is terribly, terribly sad, especially as he is only a kid, same age as my older son. My heart goes out to his Mum & Dad and family. It is difficult to imagine how dire this is for them all. One can but hope for the best possible outcome for this talented young man.

  7. It’s worth noting that the press release does not state the extent of DAI. There will always be some element of DAI with a significant head injury. On a CT scan it appears as small punctate white dots representing micro haemorrhage within the brain substance. We’ll know more from how long they keep him ventilated and sedated.

  8. Joe,

    Not sure if u read Dr Hertstein’s blog discussing DAI. In the end he carefully chooses to suggest ‘sombre prognosis’ as part of way ahead for Jules. It’s just heart breaking really… We all understand the explicit and obvious options for Jules given his. situation. Vegetative state is not you want to associate with Bianchi, even in thought or summary.

  9. “…impossible at this stage for anyone other than the doctors to say how bad the long-term effects of these injuries will be.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t think even the doctors reallly know either. And, that’s what make brain injuries so difficult to deal with, both medically and emotionally. If someone breaks a bone, the doctor can say it’ll heal in x weeks and they’ll be back to normal x weeks later. With brain injuries, there is no certainty of good or bad outcome and no real way to assign a timeline to either outcome.

    I can only hope for the best, but as you say, be prepared for less than that.

    1. A friend shattered his heels, and they fused back well enough to amaze his doctors, who were really up in the air as to whether he’d walk again. They said they’d not seen bone regeneration in anyone his age like that. So I guess there can be big ifs and buts, even for a obvious injury.

      Head injuries, even “little” ones, are unchartered territory, but there’s a awful lot of effort going on, to find out what we can. What is known now, may be not a great deal, but it’s way way better than a blink ago. I think this is a case of hoping there’s not tissue permanently damaged, but the scope of care available is going to be medically superlative. Just, please, may he come back, first, so he can be looked after and heal.

      1. Tell me about it.

        I twisted my ankle in late March. The doctor saw no fracture on the first X-Ray. Then, the hospital called me back to say there *was* a fracture, of the inside of my left lateral malleolus The doctor told me I would be on crutches for two weeks.

        I wound up being on crutches for six weeks and am still in pain six months later, even with physiotherapy.

  10. Effectively, your brain is sheared apart. Pretty much the worst prognosis. We’ve all been praying for a miracle, but when your car decelerates from around 100mph+ in half a car length…

    1. Then again, Richard Hammond had the same diagnosis, and sure, although he was playing with Lego bricks for a few months and learning some words again, he’s back presenting on BBC2 only slightly the worse for wear. As Brachistochrone said, it depends how serious the DAI is.

  11. Many thanks for your hyperprofessional reporting Joe. Indeed we have to look at the incident and see that even when many things are done right, things still can go very wrong. The only thing we can do is check whether anything can be done to prevent such a crash from having such severe consequences. When so many things come together and a car hits such a vehicle, how can we prevent it causing such injury. It’s the same if a crash would be caused by a failure on a car. It’s the same they did when that tyre hit that cameraman. It’s about trying to cover all bases. If possible and if realistic. Whichever way you look at it, indeed the presence of such a vehicle means the crash barriers, tyre walls,… are momentarily not there.

    Apart from that I have my fingers crossed for Jules. I met him several times as an employee of a sponsor when he was racing for Tech1 in RWS. He’s a splendid young man with obvious talent and a great personality, able to put things in perspective, patient and open. I also hoped we would once see him in a Ferrari. Let’s hope that the incident causes just a delay. I’m sure he’s surrounded by the right people to optimise his chances for the best recovery possible. Good luck Jules. I hope for good news and progress.

  12. Joe
    I appreciate your open and pragmatic opinion, please keep us informed of your thoughts going forward.
    Alas I made the typical impatient error of watching the video clip and was surprised at the speed and severity involved.
    Amongst the numerous questions being asked within the paddock are any in relation to a potential car issue, I have bad memories of the incident with Maria but recall mechanical / elecrical issues were ruled out at the time.
    We here are all thinking of Jules and his family.

  13. I hope for the best. Was this also what happened to Allan Simonsen at Le Mans last year? As far as I know, there has not been an official publication of the investigation into his accident or that of Maria de Villota over 2 years ago now. Are they still ongoing or is it confidential? Surely this information would be useful to prevent future accidents – air accidents often take less time to analyse and the reports are normally public domain.

  14. Given the revenues generated by the sport there should be a dedicated FIA track safety team. It should be their first responsibility to go to each track prior to F1 events and physically inspect the track looking for existing hazards in the path of cars as well as ‘inertia paths’ (somewhat predictable) cars will take when traction is lost.

    When Kubica had that big crash in Montreal in 2007 the front of the car became air born (eliminating the steering potential) after he ran over a small off track depression / shallow flat hole(cost, a few sacks of mud to level. I walked down and took a look at it) After that incident all F1 tracks should have been physically inspected for similar innocent looking but potential hazardous at F1 speed trackside terrain, did that happen? Probably not. What did happen was a reconfiguration of the Montreal hairpin concrete barrier, a no brainer to any physics major – why did it take a near fatality for it to be realized the concrete barriers were at the wrong angle? How many other tracks have similar oversights. Metal drain covers previously displaced by F1 cars etc.

    Point is, establish an FIA track safety crew, get some physics experts/ ex-F1 engineers on the team to inspect all tracks bringing them up to the best possible safety standard. This team should also review all track car recovery protocols and enforce an internanional standard. There currently is an obvious inconsistency in trackside competency from venue to venue, that would gradually be eliminated with FIA standardized procedure and inspection /policing.

    Last point, FIA has to pay for it as Bernie will always download costs to already exploited race promoters, they in turn cannot self govern to ensure safety as they are biased to cut costs. Additionally the older non Tilke unsanitised tracks which host the best racing are obviously the most potentially dangerous, the sport should not lose the best races. Trackside safety needs reviewing rather than the easier path of cancellation of future race due to incidents.

    1. The problem in my opinion is not so much the tracks or the lack of dedicated safety teams [ though both are important ] but rather the cars themselves . Or specifically the performance of the cars . I’ve said this many times but I truly believe its time to put the Positive [ Magical ] Thinking aside coming to the realistic and honest conclusion that the current F1 cars performance [ especially when turning ] has well and good exceeded the physical capabilities of the human body to handle . My guess is in the next five years or so F1 will be seeing long term hidden injuries to the extent of rivaling that of the NFL/NHL’s rising to the surface . Fact is .. we may already are .

      My solution ? Drop most of the aero aids … increase the mechanical grip .. throw away the Must Use Both Compounds rule .. and finally once and for all dump the stupid ignorant and dangerous mandate [ madness ] that your set up in qualifying determines your race day set up regardless of any changes in track conditions .

      What ever idiot came up with that last one along with the morons that ratified the rule should all be made accountable for each and every accident that happens when conditions change from qualifying to race day

      In closing .. not to be contentious Joe . But I do take issue with several of your previous comments that everything was handled correctly in Japan . The response may of been good .. but allowing cars on the track with a multi ton tractor right in the path of the corner where the majority of incidents over the weekend happened was anything but correct . And I’ll still contend that will be a decision that will haunt the organizers as well as the FIA for many years to come . Especially in light of the gravity of Jules injuries

      1. I don’t believe you can come to any “realistic and honest conclusion” without even mentioning the speed (however that happened) Bianchi was travelling at under double waved yellows.

        Other than that, I’m not entirely convinced by your over-generalized, scatter-gun blame game. For example, part of your “solution” is to drop the two tyre compounds yet that was already in effect at Suzuka due to the wet conditions. You claim the human body cannot handle modern F1 yet even school kids can do it. I believe the vast majority of the field managed it last Sunday too. Ok, not easy for sure but how easy should F1 be?

  15. Joe, thanks for your darn good writing and unbiased reporting- if there is such a thing.  I simply cannot fathom, however, why he was driving so quickly in that area with a car off and recovery vehicle on location and with a yellow flag thereabouts.  Seems an avoidable accident, mainly on the part of the driver, though I’m sure all sorts of people will be blamed.  Ditto circumstances caused Michael’s injuries.  I personally wish he’d been allowed to pass away in all his glory and been in a better place than where he is now.  I remember him saying that if he were ever injured and not able to enjoy life to the fullness, he would not want to be kept alive.  Cheers!  Major William Irvine Brown in the USA (friends with Redman, Attwood, Elford, Herrmann, etc) 

  16. When I saw the picture of the stricken Marussia taken from the right hand side, it was very concerning that the entire roll hoop was gone. This has got to be the very strongest part of the car, but maybe it is designed to shear away with a straight frontal impact. Who knows? I am sure the roll hoop is the part that hit the bottom of the crane body. The fact that the impact moved the crane several feet and that the top of the helmet appeared intact was encouraging. The clear visor seemed to have a jagged tear at the bottom, but it was difficult to tell.. There seemed to be evidence of scraping just forward of the cockpit. The modern full face helmet seems to be a hugely well designed piece of kit and appears to have withstood a major shock. But the g forces cannot be dampened except by the foam within the helmet and that isn’t much travel distance. Let’s hope that there was just enough margin to allow for a full recovery for this fine young driver. Dammit all!

    1. You cannot build crash structures to survive such impacts. If you did the driver would in any case be killed by the deceleration. Crash structures are designed to deform and soak up energy but there are limits to what they can do.

      1. I think the unfortunate point of talk about the roll loop, is the very fact, that being so strong, for obvious reasons, it increases the speed of deceleration on impact, as opposed to other structures that would more easily collapse.

        I think if there were a kind of sled, pneumatically suspended, you might include the roll cage somehow, but having thought on the idea since last night, I guess the roll loop is important structurally, so suddenly this is a very complex idea to implement. Nevertheless, I think i’d feel a lot better in a normal car if I knew, based on sensors, my seat could “reel back”, which means relatively not stopping so fast, and bring me to a hydraulically more controlled stop. In a normal auto, that would be keeping my head from the windscreen, also.

        1. This is why seat belt pre-tensioners were invented. Much better for your body to be firmly affixed to the chassis and suffer deceleration at the same, evened-out, rate as the crumple zones allow, rather than having the car decelerate around you only for your body to be restrained instantaneously at the last moment by a whip-crack snap from a loose seat belt. Many modern road cars have them.

          The problem with a seat that could absorb some of the motion of the car is that in a head-on collision this would almost certainly mean your knees colliding with the dashboard.

  17. Joe,
    Thank you for your updates and insights to this unfortunate turn of events. Jules has been in my thoughts since the accident. As you say, Jules and his colleagues understand the risks and race by their own choice. So I’ll simply add my positive thoughts and best wishes to Jules and his family for a rapid and full recovery. Come on Jules, you can pull through!

  18. Joe you very carefully put into your words the spectrum of outcomes that can be expected with this type of head trauma. Thank you for the careful and thoughtful writing. It is appreciated.

    To further put this into context not only is it the type of head injury seen in motor racing and suffered by the Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond in his dragster crash; it is also seen in other sports. In the United States head traumas from Football of this “whiplash” type are not at all rare and occur to relatively young kids. The odds for this injury were possibly higher on the drive home or anytime you get behind the wheel, although the severity is likely less in most highway accidents.

    I wonder how much he benefited from HANS and the improvements in recent years to the cockpit sides. This could have been a lot worse a decade ago. That is not to say there is nothing to be learnt here and I am sure this will result in improvements to race car design and procedures at the tracks.

    Fact is no one, not even the doctors, can really guess the outcome at this stage. Lets accept the recovery covers a spectrum and pray for the very best outcome for this young man.

  19. I hope the very best for Jules.

    I also hope that certain parties will not speculate on his condition as they did with the Schumacher injury. I was fed up with reading sensationalist headlines and stories based on pure speculation and hope not to have to do so again.

    Well done Joe. Proper reporting.

  20. Head trauma has been benefiting from intense levels of research in recent years. Almost certainly this was spurred on by the countless head injuries suffered in Iraq and other war zones. Only last week, I watched a intelligent, balanced documentary, on head injury and concussion in American Football, where there’s been a string upswing in concern, not least because of the enormous numbers of concussions in junior and college leagues.

    This may not be the glimmer of hope anyone is looking for, but compared with even very recently, there is a comparably enormous increase in available data, medical knowledge, understanding, and treatment for recovery. One can probably say that in any event, Jules’ chances are genuinely so much better than had this occurred ten years ago. This detail of the injury, albeit very much more severe, reminded me directly of the experiments being shown during that documentary, designed to Improve helmet safety. I can only offer my prayers, and though those are the deeper now for regardless this detail is indeed very worrying, I do feel reassured everything that can be done now should be in his favor.

  21. A truly sad situation. Axonal damage is usually permanent and I doubt that he will ever really recover. I saw a few cases during my residency; never saw a good outcome. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

  22. I wish people would stop referring to it as a racing accident.Bianchi’s injuries were the result of a sport which thinks nothing of spending millions on the latest ‘Gizmo’, but thinks its OK to put a 3 ton JCB type vehicle on track side to remove another racing car, which is a infinitely safer object to hit,in the event of an accident. In every form of motor racing ,drivers hit other cars without injury in most cases. The last fatality was the result of an accident similar to Bianchi’s, which sadly claimed the life of Marussia test driver Maria de Vallotta.I hope somebody somewhere takes action.Hopefully last Sundays accident has only robbed Jules of his Formula 1 career,and not his life.

      1. Joe have you ever heard ballistic parachutes discussed as an option for F1? They open almost instantly and immediately begin decelerating the vehicle. If they open prior to hitting a barrier it would certainly reduce the impact to some degree. It seems like the perfect challenge for F1 to tackle. The Cirrus SR-22 aircraft uses them and there have been many successful deployments. A friend of mine was the first to test it for Cirrus many moons ago.

        If deployed at the right time (not on the main straight with 10 cars bearing down at 200mph) it seems like a helpful safety device. There have been a number of spectacular crashes that could have used one. Webber in Valencia, Kubica in Canada, any number of long slides on wet grass. It may have helped in Sazuka – hard to say. Clearly helmets impacting anything directly must be stopped. This must be possible while keeping F1 an open-cockpit spectacle.

        Along with good synthetic vision systems (or not racing in heavy rain) it seams like a good avenue for exploration. There are clearly issues to resolve, but I can’t think of any technical barriers to an effective system if the right brains attack the problem with resolve. Newey? Sid would approve would he not?

        It also seems like track workers should be able to retrieve vehicles without running around among 200mph projectiles. Every time I see a broom I shake my head. Dysan could sponsor an awesome track vacuum could they not? Something like a giraffe that could work from the sidelines in safety, or something fast so it wouldn’t get in the way. The creativity used to save 3 tenths of lap time must be able to solve these problems given proper management buy-in.

        Once the will to fix these issues is there, the technical barriers will be solved before long. Why wait?

        It would be valuable to know how many racing drivers are killed or injured every year – it is far more than just those killed during F1 races. Death off-camera is still death.

        1. Or, sort of like the Veyron, one thing there should really be the ability to design: aero brakes.

          There must be a technical solution, or combination, to dramatically reduce the deceleration rate.

          As for making anything sissy, any deceleration from straightaway speeds is dangerous, so not a crashers charter.

          A thought that might of might not be useful, what about forced air brooms, or for that matter, even swilling away fiber pieces with a water sluice might be acceptable under certain circumstances. (advantage being ability to shift heavier shards)

          Yup, a F1 “Dyson” or dysonmobile ought to be invented. Is he a fan?

          (though I am absolutely amazed / appalled at the market for expensive vacuum cleaners, but then I attribute a possibly unfair amount of our economic decline to designed obsolescence.)

          1. Sorry, I guess technically making anything literally completely safe ought to be a Maldonado Mandate… I hope that’s not too tasteless, since this accident was not a driver induced crash..

        2. “Joe have you ever heard ballistic parachutes discussed as an option for F1? They open almost instantly and immediately begin decelerating the vehicle. If they open prior to hitting a barrier it would certainly reduce the impact to some degree.”

          “If deployed at the right time (not on the main straight with 10 cars bearing down at 200mph) it seems like a helpful safety device.”

          I’m not sure that it would be able to have much effect in the brief time it would be deployed. With the Cirrus SR-22 there’s usually quite some distance between it and the ground when it’s deployed. With drag cars they supplement the brakes and even then take a while to bring the car to a stop.

          Another problem with such a system if it’s automatically deployed is preventing it deploying falsely. If a driver drives over rumblestrip, has a brief off-track excursion or bangs wheels it would probably be more dangerous as it could obscure other drivers vision, limit the amount of control the driver has over the car, and the decceleration could catch out drivers behind.

          If it’s manually deployed drivers would probably prefer to try and save the car before deploying the chute as deploying it would effectively mean their race was over. If it’s an incident where the car becomes airborne from going over a bump/s the driver may not be able to hit the deploy button if their arms are flailing.

        3. I am not an aerodynamics expert but if a parachute would have an appreciable effect (no idea whether it would or not) then surely it would pull the car straight thereby making every accident a head on impact. I wouldn’t have thought this was a good thing?

      2. I would suggest that the teams could redirect a small percentage of their vast income into funding a technical group from the cream of young design engineers with knowledge of the latest developments in composite materials.In the meantime it seems to me that good old gravel, or catch fencing did a far better job than tarmac run off areas. Quote from Jon Lancaster a GP2 driver. “In my opinion hitting a parked Formula 1 car isn’t much of an issue as the cars are designed to take such impacts from all angles”.

      3. +1 on all the comments of praise to you Joe for your insightful and professional reporting. Your site leads the pack in this regard and I look forward to a daily fix of your reporting.

        Martin Brundle in commentary often expresses concern when one of the tractors makes it’s way to salvage a stricken vehicle because of the danger they pose to an out of control car. (The fact that within a lap it was backing Sutil’s into safety is impressive). I’m not sure about aero brakes mentioned below and how you could make that work reliably to make it safer for the driver in every single scenario e.g. Bianchi’s accident, Kubica’s accident in Montreal, Webber backflipping in Valencia.

        So here’s my attempt at a better practical system. How about cranes positioned in strategic areas of the track like they do in Monaco. If the crane can’t reach them then deploy the safety car when all the cars are in the snake send out a tractor.

        The unfortunate outcome of that is that the safety car tends to stay out longer than it should so cars can un-lap themselves and next year we’ll have a standing start after a safety car which could end up becoming circus like.

        I don’t think any fan wants to see a driver collide with a recovery vehicle or track marshall (it was fortunate a marshall wasn’t also involved in Bianchi’s accident).

        If the safety car was deployed I expect that it would have taken them through the danger zone where Sutil’s car was being salvaged slower than the cars were driving under double waved yellows particularly when the marshals and the tractor were out.

    1. If the marshalls had left Sutil’s car in place and Bianchi had hit it, not the tractor, we would be screaming that the marshalls were insane to leave it in place (even if there had been a near-miss). Bianchi would either have suffered much the same impact or been launched up over the tyre wall. I do not ever want to see what happens to a driver in that situation, though other racing formulae offer a glimpse.

      If Bianchi had hit the barriers where Sutil did but a lap or two later, we would would be cheering the brave and efficient marshalls for getting the track cleared.

      If Race Control sent out a safety car every time a car goes off and hits a wall, we’d be complaining about them nannying the drivers and it would almost certainly have decided a world championship by now – which we’d all moan about.

      If the FIA insisted circuit owners had super crash absorbing tractors, the circuit owners would need to pay lower race fees, Bernie would insist on making the money back from the TV companies who would charge fans more to watch – which we’d all moan about. Or they’d put more adverts in – which we’d all moan about. Or Bernie would screw the teams out of some of their cash – which we’d all moan about.

      I won’t go on.

      It all comes down to one question which modern society is going to have to ask itself more and more : what level of risk are we prepared to accept?

      —-

      And for the record, while de Villota hit a support vehicle, the accidents were not “similar”, her collision was in a private test session and in the pitlane.

      1. Like any other working environment, there can be no acceptable level of risk, when it comes to actions by organisers or circuit owners. However there will always be a risk of injury due to car failure, or driver error.This is an unavoidable element of racing.

        1. “Like any other working environment, there can be no acceptable level of risk…”

          People like to claim this. Then I tell them it will cost them a billion pounds to reduce a given risk by 50%. Then they say that the risk is acceptable. Sooner or later it is always a cost-benefit game.

          Many industries talk about ALARP, As Low As Reasonably Possible (or ALARA, As Low As Reasonably Achieveable), because we could do some amazing things to reduce risks in all sorts of areas but doing so would either be economically suicidal or just totally impractical.

    2. Hitting another car is certainly not safer, let alone “infinitely” so. Just take a look at the latter years of Clay Regazzoni’s life. He was paralysed from the waist down when his Ensign hit a parked Brabham at the Long Beach race in 1980. That is part of the reason modern trackside marshals are so quick to get a stricken vehicle out of the way. Two minutes work under waved yellow flags should be pretty safe, so long as the drivers slow down in the caution zone.

      1. Different era and different cars. Today a crash similar to Clay Regazzoni’s, in a modern F1 car, would probably result in minor injuries.

  23. It is still early days for Jules.

    As mentioned on another site, Richard Hammond had this kind of injury and recovered fully.

    Fingers crossed for Jules.

    1. I wonder if Richard Hammond and those that know him personally would agree with ‘recovered fully’? His autobiography (On The Edge: My Story) certainly showed that the impact of the injury went far beyond the immediate physical recovery period.

  24. Joe, do you have any news on how this tragedy will affect Marussia’s efforts this weekend and the rest of the season?

  25. For me, there are two safety aspects that need fixing, as demonstrated by Jules’ crash:

    1. Proper respect for double waved yellows and Marshals on track. No more of the “I was 0.2s slower through that sector under yellows” kind of nonsense that we’ve heard for some years.
    2. I was a bit shocked to see Sutil’s car detach from the crane on impact. This could have taken out a Marshal too. I know the impact was high energy..but still.

    All the considerations that encouraged Jules to be travelling too fast for the conditions let alone under double yellows need removing – and I don’t mean by using a Safety Car (although that would do it).

    I really wish Jules all the best and hope he fully recovers but he’s taken a staggering wallop on the head.

    Azzurro_F

  26. From what I’ve read it’s not to disilimar to the head injury Richard Hammond suffered, and he’s not doing to bad now So always hope.

  27. Joe – do you know if there is an email address where we can pass on our messages of support to Jules and his family?

  28. There is such a fine line between making something (racing in this case) exciting, challenging, and making it safe. Too much of one, and it becomes dangerous; too much of the other (safety) and it bcomes boring and sanitized… so people lose interest.

    Most of Human nature is ego. People, racers, desire and crave to see who can be the best at playing at the limit, and people have different limits. Sport in which there is some kind of engineering involved too is only going to add to the issues and problems that are implied when trying to not only achieve, but push to create new limits. Often it goes wrong, and the results are cruel to bear. But that is the nature of the racer, as has already been observed, and know all too well, the rules of the game they’re playing.

    I hope we can get a few more years of exciting F1 and motor sport before it is all sanitized into extinction by the various factions and guises of H&S law

    1. Except for those wanting a blood sport, sanitizing driver behavior under double waved yellows would not make F1 boring.

  29. It is considered to be in the same category as hammonds injury (in that the brain gets bashed about in the skull) however his incident lasted a considerably longer time. In essence it was a series of small bumps. Bianci was unfortunate to have the whole lot in one hit.

    I see Williams are mentioning closed cockpits… (Box news)…

  30. We must keep Jules Bianchi in prayer…

    Joe, based on what has been reported of Bianchi’s condition, a closed cockpit would not have helped in any way in this particular accident, right?

    1. As far as I can tell, a closed cockpit would have made no difference at all. The injury was caused by deceleration. Adding a cockpit might have caused injury from shattering or even great deceleration. One cannot know these things unless they are properly tested.

  31. Joe, maybe Bianchi did not reduce the speed as needed according to the yellow flags shown. Any chance to get Marussia’s telemetry data to confirm?

  32. Thoughts and prayers to JB, his family and friends …

    I’ve seen the video of the impact – and heard of the call for greater head protection….

    young american drag racer Eric Medlen suffered DAI/DAN from the ultra-violent shaking he sustained in a fully enclosed NHRA nitro funny car roll cage in 2007 when a tire failed while under 8,000 bhp of drive load.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Medlen

    eric was not able to breath on his own and his family – including his father, an engineer/chief on Eric’s failed car – elected to let him pass shortly after the accident.

    american drag racing has required a full roll cage around the driver ‘forever;’ a titanium shroud within the roll cages since ~ 2004 to reduce penetrations into the cage; and thick padding within the roll cages since Medlen’s incident.

    still … the brain has the consistency of warm butter, and if one applies 1,500 g’s to the tissue mass, the cells that process information and the cells that transport information get dissociated, and that condition doesn’t reverse over time or with therapy.

    ?airbags? maybe … but the video I saw speaks of slowing from 100 mph to 0 in 10 or 20 feet, plus a massive lateral impact against the tractor. It is hard to see what could have been done. It is also hard to endorse palliatives.

    I have no appetite for blood sport – but to me, compelling racing is completely linked to the risk of consequences that most of us will not contemplate for ourselves.

    again, prayers of comfort to his family.

  33. By the way, on facebook there is a group “R.I.P. Jules Bianchi” online. I have no words for such a depravity. So I tried to report it as abusive, but facebook didn´t remove it. It`s still there. Shame on them.

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