The latest round of unseemly reporting about the Bianchi accident has led to a reaction from Marussia regarding what was said or not said in radio transmissions to Bianchi in Japan. It is all recorded and at some point it will be made public if that is deemed to be the right thing to do, but until it is, it is irresponsible for journalists to speculate. There is too much contradictory information flying around to be sure of anything except what we know to be fact.
At the same time there are still people banging on about the use of tractors. It is a subject that has been much discussed over the years but it is still deemed to be safer than having static cranes that require marshals to be manoeuvring stricken cars to positions where they can be picked up. The tractors are fast and efficient and are used in conjunction with double yellow caution signals.This means that the drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop. If they do not do this, then they must take responsibility for their own actions. If they come around a corner and find a car in the middle of the track, surrounded by marshals, they must take responsibility for what happens. If they crash because they drive too fast, no one is to blame but the driver himself.
What was unusual about the Bianchi crash was the angle and the speed. In many respects it was a classic case of a driver losing control, correcting his car and suddenly finding unexpected grip, which speared the car off at an unexpected trajectory and speed. But it was not the kind of accident one expects to see in such a corner. The key point, however, was that at the very moment Bianchi had his accident, the tractor moved into his path. That, I’m afraid, is fate and no amount of wailing and gnashing of fate is going to make the system wrong. It was a combination of things that came together to produce the accident.
The definition of accident is “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally”. This is not to be compared with safety in other eras, where everyone knew that things were wrong and accepted them. If we were discussing national level rallying that might be the case because the best is still not good enough, but in F1 everything has been gone over and over. This does not mean that lessons cannot be learned but sometimes one just has to accept that things happen.
The same people who now yell about tractors are the ones who complain if the safety car is used too much.