#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 6th October 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TechF1 Treasures- #F1 Race Weekend in Official FIA Docs #JapaneseGP

Voice of the #F1 Fans: Analysing the Vettel Move

#F1 Race Review: A Wet Suzuka Does Deliver A Race

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the 2014 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX?

#F1 Polls: 2014 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX – Driver of the Weekend

#F1 History: 6th October 1985 – Mansell wins his first Grand Prix


Andrea De Cesaris – A celebration of an F1 legend

Social Media – Jeckyll and Hyde

Safety under microscope following tragic scenes at Suzuka

Sutil suggests fading light may be to blame

Marussia Statement

Wurz says lessons will be learned

To sell of not to sell F1

Honda teaser video

Villeneuve calls for Safety Car rule change

Sutil surveys the scene


Andrea De Cesaris – A celebration of an F1 legend

imagesNews arrived yesterday that Andrea De Cesaris had been killed in a motorcycle accident on the Rome ring road. With this news following the harrowing accident of Jules Bianchi in the Japanese Grand Prix, motor-sport was left shaken once again.

De Cesaris arrived in Formula One in 1980 with the Alfa Romeo team mid season at just 21 years old. In 1981, with his ever present Marlboro backing he found a berth in the Mclaren team that had been taken over by Ron Dennis who had run him previously in Project Four Formula 2 team.

The season would earn him the nickname “Andrea de Crasheris as he took the record for most accidents in a single season. Every event that the F1 circus visited would feature one of his crashes at some stage. Dennis, unsurprisingly, decided to not renew his contract and he found his next berth in the Alfa Romeo team.

A quite brilliant pole position in Long Beach showed his ability but during the race he was baulked momentarily by Raul Boesel as he came to lap him. Lauda following closely behind waited whilst watching the young Italian waving his fist at the back marker and forgot to change gear. Lauda passed for the lead.

In 1983 he took two podiums and was leading the Belgian Grand Prix comfortably before his engine expired. He moved to Ligier for 1984 and 1985 before being dismissed after a stomach churning accident in Austria. As written in this OTD Lite.

A succession of teams followed including MInardi, Brabham and Dallara before he signed for the inaugural season of the Jordan GP team. His career finished in 1994 after driving for Tyrrell and Sauber and he remains the driver with most Grand prix starts without having won a race.

But if poor reliability hadn’t stopped him, history may well have been kinder to his legacy.

The 1991 Belgian GP is best remembered for the remarkable debut of one Michael Schumacher. Taking an astonishing seventh on the grid his race was over by the time the cars had navigated Eau Rouge. Yet his team-mate, De Cesaris is almost a footnote to this performance.

He qualified in 11th place, just four behind Schumi and would drive an inspired race. Senna took the lead from the start followed by Prost, Mansell, Piquet, Berger and Alesi. Truly a bunch of legendary names to savour.

With various retirements throughout the race, by had distance, Patrese (Williams), Piquet (Benetton) and De Cesaris were fighting over third position. As Alesi’s engine gave up the ghost, De Cesaris passed Piquet for second and began closing on race Leader, Senna.

1991Andrea de Cesaris

The Jordan was the better handling machine but lacked the power of the Honda and therefore struggled to get close to pass. To maintain a challenge he tracked the Brazilian closely but his temperature gauges rose and he would have to back off to ccol the engine down. Three laps from the end his engine blew and he retired once again.

Twitter: “All at McLaren send condolences to ex-McLaren #F1 driver Andrea De Cesaris, who sadly passed away today.”

Addio Andrea, may you rest in peace.

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Social Media – Jeckyll and Hyde

It was a weekend for social media being the winner and the loser as we saw the good and bad side of this new platform. Formula One fans have bemoaned the lack of social media use by the sports’ officials for some time with those calls falling on deaf ears, until now.

The on-screen encouragement to ‘Join the conversation’ using #JapaneseGP frequently popped up in the bottom left corner of the screen. The instruction was simple, to get more people talking about the sport we love which, in turn, raises the profile of the sport. For all intents and purposes this works as social media will in theory become awash with chatter on the subject.

When used with casual observations of the racing this works to good effect, allowing the many to many interaction that Twitter, Facebook and other media offers. When not able to watch the racing on-track, fans can check their twitter timelines and garner a reasonable idea of what is unfolding even when in the office, on the move, etc.

Not purely limited to while the cars are circling the tarmac, one TJ13 team member was fortunate enough to be browsing Twitter during the small hours of Saturday. Within moments of the news about Sebastian Vettel being broken by the Red Bull management, the world was richer with the knowledge thanks to social media – something that would not have happened nearly as quickly in days of yesteryear.

Immediately, others were informed demonstrating the power these platforms have.

This was a positive use of the medium, however, where there is a Jeckyll there is also a Hyde.

Sunday saw the bad side of social media and highlighted the absolute need for having a central source of Formula One information. The tragic events that unfolded following Jules Bianchi aquaplaning into the stationary recovery vehicle attending to the recovery of Adrian Sutil’s car which had also aquaplaned into the barriers left many confused, worried and speculating as to Bianchi’s health.

Those who had even a grain of information of the incident were offered the attention of a worldwide audience at the tap of a button. Information was unsecure and unverified from many as #ForzaJules trended on all continents. The dangers in this situation are obvious, as there are those cretinous individuals who will stop at no length in search of their 5 minutes of fame.

In this instance, the requirement for a central source of information is paramount to the effective communication of sensitive information. Whatever people think of the incident itself, the fact it has happened cannot be altered as the inevitable knives are sharpened looking for something and someone to blame.

In a new world where data transfer is instantaneous, FOM has a responsibility to move with it for the safety of delicate information. If the dwindling TV audiences are not enough, maybe an incident like Bianchi’s should act as wake up call to those at the top of the series. Forget promotion and growth, at times like this leadership is required from those at the top.

The question that lingers is will Formula One Management and the FIA listen, or will the issue once again be brushed under the carpet?

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Safety under microscope following tragic scenes at Suzuka

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Anyone who uses social media will have received or seen images from Suzuka. The TV pictures have to date not been released which would show how the accident happened although Sutil claims that it was similar to the trajectory that his car took when he aquaplaned off the track.

Martin Brundle spoke with measured tones as he watched the scene unfold, having experienced this terrifying journey himself twenty years ago. If F1 is going to applaud itself over twenty years of safety, surely it is about time that these antiquated tractors are either update or removed completely. There will be discussions over yellow flags, safety cars and drivers keeping to a delta but is this really the only way that the sport can progress – through reactive measures.. .

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Update: A contributor found this picture and sent it in. We cannot confirm that this is the tractor unit that Bianchi hit but the coloured barrier to the right and blown tyre would suggest its genuine. In addition, the bent skid plate bears marks of a collision – which we all hope was caused by the roll bar of the car hitting it…

One picture was circulated, to a surprising amount of righteous indignation by people on twitter. One person commented, “You must have been near the scene. Shame on you”.

Taki Inoue reposted the picture and received a tirade of abuse.

“Why post the picture? show some dignity”.

“It’s really disrespectful to share photographs of a guy fighting for his life in hospital. Jesus”.

“Absolutely. There are family members and friends of him on here. I don´t think they need to see that! It´s bad enough!”

“Where is your brain!? you really think Jules fans wants to watch these kinds of pics? You should remove it”.

The list of similar comments goes on and on and on…


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However, this is not a graphic or gore indulgent picture depicting someone in severe distress. Any distress is inferred in the mind of the readers.

In fact for this writer, having seen a number of pictures of the car following Bianchi’s extraction, this particular shot was of great relief. Other photographic evidence implied Jules could have suffered injuries as severe as a partial decapitation. Clearly here, his helmet is mostly in tact, though the sight of the roll bar completely missing is truly frightening.

Further, it is important due to the appropriate/inappropriate censorship by FOM of the TV pictures, that public comment can be made on the safety standards as presided over by the FIA.

Roll bar crash tests obviously do not accommodate the possibility of impact with a digger removing a stranded car, which ripped the structure completely away.

Of course not every accident can be prevented and Motorsports are dangerous, however, a number of circumstances surrounding this crash will definitely will affect safety protocols for F1 from hereonin.

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Sutil suggests fading light may be to blame

TV camera technology is simply staggering. In a football stadium, the bright light of the sun is filtered so it appears normal on TV. In a tennis arena as the natural light fades, the camera pick up the merest hint of light and once again make transmission around the world a secondary consideration.

At times, over the years, races have been set in the Far East and Australia to start at times that are better suited to European tastes. Considering Bernie wants a World Championship with exotic locations paying him millions in hosting fees, the TV schedules are set around the historic centre of F1 – Europe.

The camera technology used makes the event appear as though it is mid-afternoon but as this picture shows, the cars returning to the pits after the red flag are in anything but light.

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Adrian Sutil believes that the fading light and worsening conditions made it practically impossible to see the track surface properly.

“It was quite difficult. In the end we got more rain and it was dark, so visibility was getting less and less and this corner was a tricky one the whole way through, you couldn’t see where the wet patches were and that is why I lost the car and it really surprised me. Bianchi’s crash was the same as what happened to me – he had aquaplaning but just one lap later.”

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Marussia Statement

“Following the accident involving Jules Bianchi during yesterday’s 2014 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, the Marussia F1 Team would like to acknowledge the huge outpouring of support and affection for Jules and the Team at this very difficult time.

With regard to the communication of information concerning Jules’ medical condition, we will respect, and be guided by, the wishes of the Bianchi family. Together with Jules’ care, they will remain our highest priority. Therefore, we would ask for patience and understanding with regard to further medical updates, which will be communicated in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, where Jules is being treated, when they feel it is appropriate.

Representatives of the Marussia F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari will remain at the hospital to support Jules and the Bianchi family”.

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Wurz says lessons will be learned

The newly elected chairman of the GPDA has given an interview with ORF where he shares his thoughts on the incidents in Suzuka.

When asked about Jules Bianchi’s present condition, Wurz replied, “I have no new information about the accident. We have heard he [Jules] crashed sideways into the tow vehicle and that the roll bar has torn away. As to how the accident occurred, I have no information.”

According to SKY’s Craig Slater, Jules Bianchi is not breathing for himself since the operation. However, Alexander Wurz reveals, “Very shortly after the collision, he was still conscious but then become unconscious. He was breathing for himself and it was not necessary to resuscitate him. Whether this is a good or bad news, I cannot judge, because I’m not an expert.

Following the incident, there was initial outrage that the medical helicopter was unable to fly. The rules laid down by the FIA state if the medical helicopter cannot fly, the cars cannot be on track.

However, Alexander Wurz confirms it was a medical decision made by the doctors to transport Bianchi by road to the hospital, which was 10 minutes drive with a police escort.

Further, Wurz refuses to be drawn when asked should the safety car have been released once Sutil’s car had hit the barrier. “Hindsight is always smarter. But you have to say one thing, the FIA has always seen safety as most important this year. You have to now analyze whether more could be done and if someone is to blame – but we must wait and see. One thing I have learned during the work I’ve done with many organisations on safety is that you cannot draw premature conclusions. We must wait until we have all the facts together first, to obtain a judgment and secondly, so as to learn from the accident.. . “

In conclusion, Wurz affirms his commitment to an ongoing improvement in asafety for Formula 1 drivers and track officials alike, however, as a racer he known, “motor sport is dangerous and always has an element of risk, because cars travel at high speed and if you lose control you are like a ballistic projectile, an uncontrollable energy.”

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To sell of not to sell F1

Private Equity firms generally like to invest in a project, get out within 3-5 years having made a multiple of 4 times their investment.

Of course many investments go belly up and so the investors lose their shirts.

CVC bought the commercial rights to F1 in 2005, so 9 years is an eternity in their world of corporate finance.  Of course a failed attempt was made to float the sport on the Singapore Stock Exchange, though the global credit crunch scuppered that idea.

In the meantime to mitigate their risk, CVC have sold their stake down to just 35%, part of which may have been due to the potential ramifications should Ecclestone have been found guilty of his bribery charges this year.

Bloomberg reported last week that CVC were once again looking to sell their stake in Formula One, with the likely buyer being John Malone of media network Liberty Global which owns Virgin Media.

The Telegraph today however reports CVC are in no hurry. “I don’t think anything has changed,” Ecclestone is quoted as stating. “I think Malone still wants to do something. It’s incredible to me why people take so long to do something they say they want to do.”

Ecclestone implies that it may even be too late for Libery, “I don’t think CVC are going to pursue a sale actively. Not by the end of the year for sure.”

The 2013 figures have just been revealed for Formula One, showing an increased profit of over £300m, on revenues of £1 billion.

Corporate hospitality revenues were fairly static at around £53m, whilst advertising and sponsorship revenues grew by some £32m due primarily to deals done with Rolex and Emirates. The net profit from these activities plus £3m profit from GP2/3 of £3m is around £145m. The rest of the £315m profit is from TV deals and race hosting fee’s.

If we consider this is an all time profit high for CVC, who have already banked £2,6bn from the sport, after buying the commercial rights for £573.8m from its investment Fund IV and a £653.7 from Royal Bank of Scotland loans.

TJ13 believes, but cannot confirm, that a further £1bn in loans has been leveraged against the future revenues of Formula 1, and paid out in dividends to the shareholders. This would bring the indebtedness to over £2bn.

However, it is difficult to see how values of £3-6bn can be seriously touted by CVC for the sport, as valuations for business of the order of 10 and 20 times multiples of profit would require a far higher predicted growth curve than Formula 1 at present can demonstrate.

New races in Mexico and Azerbaijan are due to come on stream over the next 2 years, however, recent history suggests that Ecclestone has struggled to make an absolute net gain in the number of events on the calendar, as new venues come on board.

Further, for 2015 Mr. E now has the headache over the German GP once again, as the failed sale of the Nurburgring leaves it in no position to host the race, unless again the fee is waved by FOM as in 2013.

Despite Ecclestone’s sanguine assertions that CVC are relaxed about when they sell F1, It may simply be, CVC have highly overoptimistic valuations they expect Malone to meet, and Liberty Media are just refusing to pay too high a price.

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Honda teaser video

Apologies, Honda have not provided the facility for this be embedded

http://world.honda.com/motorsports/video/20141006/

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Villeneuve calls for Safety Car rule change

Following Jules Bianchi’s accident in Suzuka, former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has called for changes in the safety car protocols. “The rules have to be changed concerning the safety car. When I was racing, and afterwards, I was always saying that any time there is an accident there should be a safety car”.

Villeneuve believes that following the safety car reduces the opportunity for drivers to make decisions on how fast they should drive through yellow or double waved yellow flag sections of a circuit.

“There should not be room for judgement. If someone has to go out to pick up a car stranded on the track, it’s simple. Accident – safety car, and that’s it. It should have been like that for years. America has had that forever.”

Jacques’ argument is the FIA have become impotent in their decision making

“The problem now is every time the FIA send the safety car out all the media and fans complain, saying they destroyed the race. So now they second-guess themselves. It’s a lose-lose situation. Yes, sometimes it does slow the race down a bit, but at least you avoid cases like today, and you avoid the human aspect of having to make a decision”.

Sympathetic spinning is a commonly known feature of motorsport from karting upwards and Villeneuve argues this makes incidents at the same point on the track even more likely. “Quite often people spin when other cars have spun and they just miss them by inches.”

Finally, Jacques questions the drivers’ responses to seeing yellow flags, whether single or double waved. “I never really like just having yellow flags. You do slow down, but how much? And you could have a puncture, or a suspension failure. I’m amazed something like this has never happened before. I think we’ve just been lucky before”

Slower is indeed safer, but Villeneuve is ignoring the fact that the safety car effect may not have been influential in Jules case, due to track position. In fact he argues well that there should be a stronger response from the drivers to yellow and double waved yellow flags together with proper punishment for those who transgress.

This is not to say Jules accident is his own fault, because drivers will drive to the limit of their technology, experience and the rules which allow them to go racing.

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Sutil surveys the scene

It is a small wonder Adrian Sutil appeared shell shocked as he spoke to F1 reportrs on the eve of the Japanese GP as these pictures reveals

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With Bianchi still in the car, and miraculously alive thankfully.

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A video of the incident was briefly posted on YouTube before FOM removed it. The JCB digger had backed up 10-20 years with the stricken Sauber in the air and a marshal dangerously balancing it on a wire track side of the Sauber.

The JCB still reversing had just left the gravel trap and was crossing a service road which appeared to run at around 90 degrees from the barrier towards the track.

Bianchi’s car comes at high speed (apparently a lot quicker than Sutil’s prior to impact)  into the frame, travelling along the concrete/tarmac road and not in the gravel, and the left hand side of the Marussia car travels underneath the counterweight balance at the back. It did not collide laterally, but close to 90 degrees of the direction of travel of the JCB recovery vehicle.

The speed and force of the impact lift the JCB into the air and rotate it through the direction of travel.

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155 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 6th October 2014

  1. Let’s hope for good news about Jules Bianchi. Especially the poor Marussia team must be horrified. After Maria de Vilota it’s already the second accident of this type for them.

    As for things we learn from this. It’s not a popular thing to say in a situation like this, but the accident is mainly Jules’ fault. The section was under double waved yellows, which as per the rules means you must be able and prepared to stop at any time. For that he was simply too fast, like all others before him, who just had luck not to spin.
    Race control must clamp down on this hard. I repeat a suggestion I already made in one of the podcasts – sections of double waved yellows should be passed with the pit limiter activated. It’s easy to govern and to verify.

    • since footage either doesn’t exit or wasn’t released, none of us saw the accident happen. therefore, none of us know how it happened and if it was a driving error or not.

        • This is an excerpt from Mark Hughes’ column on motorsportmagazine.com…..

          “Thirty-odd laps later as, first, Adrian Sutil and – a lap later – Bianchi lost control, the rain had returned and the Marussia’s intermediate tyres were 17 laps old. The piece of track where they each went off, the crest of an uphill curve, is notoriously treacherous in the wet. Both were downforce-light cars on worn inters in increasing rain cresting the rise. “It was very marginal there,” said Valtteri Bottas, “because just outside the groove there was a lot of water, visibility wasn’t good because it was getting dark and if you got just a little bit off line you could suddenly find no grip; you have to lift and even lifting off could cause you problems.”

        • Sutil said he aquaplaned and that he saw Bianchi aquaplane too. And I repeat what the rules say – double waved yellow means: be prepared to stop at any time, which under conditions like they were yesterday would most likely have meant anything over 50 or 60 kph mean you were not prepared to stop at anytime. We should keep in mind that double waved yellows are the sternest warning possible. That means you can’t just lift to make sure you don’t purple the sector.

          • I’m with you @hippo I won’t repeat my tirade on double waved yellows that I released yesterday, but the rules need ‘reaffirming’ like the radio clampdown.

          • It would take extra-ordinary conditions to lose a car under double yellows. Considering that most others made it past hints to either a catastrophic failure on the car or Jules was simply too fast. If if pours down and I’m in a low-downforce car on worn inters under double yellows, I might have to slow to a crawl to satisfy the rules.
            The fact that his car was wedged under the truck however suggests that he impacted with substantial speed.

            Hence my call for tighter rules on that. I see it whenever I’m at the Nürbrurgring. The rules there are clear : double waved yellow = 60 kph. It shouldn’t be hard to enforce that in F1 and I have serious doubts that the accident happened at less than 60kph.

          • I’m made the same points yesterday, but was told my comment was ‘vacuous’ and in poor taste, I don’t want to offend anyone, so reeled back a bit today.

          • “Sutil said he aquaplaned and that he saw Bianchi aquaplane too.”

            from looking at the video, i’m not sure sutil saw him aquaplaning. he saw him suddenly crashing into the digger and probably assumed he was aquaplaning. but from the speed with which he crashed it might have been something else. it looks much faster and more violent than sutils crash, even though most crashes look less violent on tv because of angles and camera movement. and of course sutil crashed into the tyres and not into what was basicaly a moving block of steel.

            anyways, i think at this point, we don’t know what happened, and therefore it’s to early to make judgement on who or what was to blame.

          • Just some media. Not sure if any will embed or not.

            I appreciate the Court reporter’s pointing out how FOM is trying to censor these images, and what shame that should manifest given how violently at odds FIA’s claims were as to the lack of severity of the impact (lateral) vs. what really happened.

            And this is hardly a surprise incident – anyone who followed F1 in 2003 knows how close we were to such horror in Brasil that year…

            http://imgur.com/a/YaGf7#7

            //imgur.com/a/YaGf7/embed

            https://vine.co/v/OK69b15iP1T/embed/simple?related=0

            https://vine.co/v/OK69b15iP1T

      • there is now footage of the crash, although it’s still not clear how he lost control:

        • Video has been taken down, but when you find a copy, you will notice that there are:

          Double yellows waving in the upper right corner until 58 s mark, as Sutils car is being carried away.
          The tower is directly above the tractor, not more than 8-10yards distance.

          Green Flags are waving from 58 seconds on, despite the tractor and Sutils car still being on the track. The green flags continue to wave until some time just before 2:29, when the double yellows come back out. The accident occurs at 1:11.

          So the green flag had been waving for 13 seconds before the crash, and the flag marshall didn’t notice the crash for another 1:16ish, despite it happening feet away from him.

          • Nonsense. When measured perpendicular to the track, the marshall waves green as the tractor has moved *in front of* the location of the post. He keeps waving green after the Bianchi incident because *from his post on* the track is indeed green. Only when the SC comes out, there is a *full-course* yellow and the marshall starts waving yellow.

            This is all according to the regulations, and crystal-clear for those familiar with them (which includes the drivers). Unfortunately, the amount of confusion generated by people who keep pointing out the green flag is non-negligible.

          • OK, if Sutil’s accident was not cause for flag station 12 to go Double Yellow, because it was past the incident, then why were the double Yellows waving for the first 58 seconds of the video?

            I will buy your argument that the double yellows came back at the 2:29 mark because the whole course had gone Yellow with the safety car.
            But if Flag station 12 was truly “past the accident” the yellow flags would not have been waving at all. They were waving, without a safety car, for at least 1 minute post Sutil crash and pre-Jules crash.

            Besides, drivers don’t look 90 degrees to the side to see what flag is waving. Jules would have been looking for that specific flag as he was coming out of Dunlop, and when he was coming out of Dunlop the flag he saw was GREEN.

          • Full 2min43sec video is available on Liveleak.
            Re. Green flag – I think the marshall start waving green as soon as Sutil’s car has been moved out of that sector. He continues to wave green even though he sees the Bianchi accident, probably because he is going by the rules which say he cannot wave yellow for something that is not within his sector. He later brings out the SC sign and yellow flag – probably after getting the instruction from race control. At that stage the marshall probably has no idea that the safety car relates to Bianchi’s incident going on just below his tower outside in his zone of control.

          • In the 2.43s video posted by “jamesnotifski” on Liveleak, there is a FOM cameraman filming the action on the track. At 1m10s mark, he sees Bianchi coming towards the wall and manages to follow the action.
            So it seems FOM and FIA will have a recording the moment Bianchi left the track, and be able to assess whether the accident was akin to Massa’s Hungary 2009 crash – where the driver had no control of brakes and steering.

          • @Tourdog: sorry, that doesn’t make sense again. @CraigG hit the nail on the head in his reply. The marshall started waving green when Sutil’s car had been cleared to the previous sector. For the record, this is exactly what I wrote in my post: “the marshall waves green as the tractor has moved *in front of* the location of the post”.

            Your second point that the drivers don’t look at a 90 degree angle doesn’t make sense either. A driver is aware of the rules, and knows that when they see a green flag, it’s green from that point onwards. They can see the green looking forward, well before they reach it (i.e. the angle << 90 deg) and anticipate their further action. Please don't argue for the sake of arguing… it's distasteful given the events under consideration.

          • Gentlemen, I will concede that by the letter of the rules, the flag at station 12 did the correct thing.
            Essentially you are saying, that because Sutils car had crossed an imaginary line drawn between the tower and the track, the flag has to change, as it is the flag for the next sector. Even though the car had actually only moved 10 feet. I get it. I just don’t agree that it was the safest way to handle it.

            With an accident happening on the line between two sectors, at the base of a tower, it only makes sense to keep both the sector leading into the accident, and the sector after it under yellow. Would it really have effected the race that much? It was pouring rain, how did anyone know for sure a piece of Sutils front wing hadn’t broken off and slid further up the racetrack? We can see now that sutils car was intact, but the marshalls are volunteers, and it was raining pretty hard, do they really know what to look for?
            If Charlie is the one that makes the call personally, how could he be sure? The conditions weren’t bad enough already to at least err on the side of caution?
            It seems you are defending the actions because they followed the letter of the rule, have you considered that the rule is sh*t, as was the way the whole situation was handled?
            But the truth is, none of it matters. Green flag, Yellow flag, safety car, fast or slow. Any driver could have aquaplaned off the track in that exact spot, and hit the same tractor. The only way this could have been prevented, would have been to not have a tractor and the race cars on track at the same time. Apparently not finishing under a safety car is more important than the safety of the drivers. Or should I say, money is more important.
            BTW, I think the safety car should be banned too. there are much better ways to handle cautions, wrecks, slow zones, accidents, etc.
            Little guys in towers with flags is the most efficient system we got?
            For F*cks sake.

    • @FH I have been leaving this out, but its important to know that double waved yellows were defined to drivers as being 0.5s slower than your best sector time. If you tell a driver this, they will try and get as close as possible to that loss.

      • My god I hope Jules is Ok, but I fear for him massively, especially in light of the video coverage.

        I immediately started to think about my comments about the German GP incident

        ” I’d argue strongly that double waved yellows are the most extreme warning you can give to drivers. Even in horrific pile ups double waved yellows are first displayed, then perhaps 15 or 20 seconds later the red (or SC) comes out.
        It is therefore my argument that drivers should follow the rules and be prepared to stop, and those who take too many risks should be punished accordingly to bring them back into line.
        This is an area that needs clamping down on in my opinion. We’ve had several near misses in F1 where drivers haven’t slowed sufficiently. It’s not just one or two drivers who carry too much speed in yellow zones, it’s all of them. They lift what? 10 %? When really it should be more like 50%.”

        It’s hard to fault the drivers, because if one pushes that boundary they all have to, otherwise they’ll be without a seat. Worringly I seem to recall The Judge saying the idea of a virtual safety car was mentioned to Charlie and he laughed it off.

        No one’s laughing now Charlie…

        • “It’s not just one or two drivers who carry too much speed in yellow zones, it’s all of them. They lift what? 10 %? When really it should be more like 50%.”

          Exactly. Bianchi’s accident is a scathing indictment of how inappropriately and inefficiently the double-yellow rule is currently enforced. (And I guess that’s one of the reasons why they didn’t want to show the video footage.)

          Having drivers to lift ~0.5sec from their personal best sector time is laughable, especially in mixed and worsening conditions. This Sutil incident is very similar to the one in Germany this year, with the only difference being that then marshals and drivers got lucky, while in Suzuka they didn’t. As Hamilton said at the time, it was very very dangerous for the drivers and for the marshals, because the drivers were traveling at speeds far away from “safe”. (And this isn’t the fault of the drivers per se, but more like the fault of the FIA for poorly enforcing a clear rule.)

          The FIA should impose the pitlane speed limiter in a double-yellow zone, but even a ***slowish*** delta would work just fine. Lifting 0.5sec isn’t slow enough for these racing cars.

  2. Sorry if this was discussed yesterday but If we want to talk safety in the wet why were half the cars still on inters rather than full wets? Maybe safety needs to be that fom puts a message up saying standing water must pit for full wets, then when Gone remove and can go for inters/slicks

    • Don’t know if it was discussed Kevin. I believe the inters actually grip better than the full wets (not in standing water though).

      I get what you say but if you make it mandatory would it not take away from someone like Button who seem to get weather/tyre calls right more often than not?

      • I dont know about the grip but in standing water they are the best tyre.

        I personally wouldnt like to lose the stratagy details that would cause but if you want to talk safety the cars must be on the best tyres for conditions?

    • @kevin, the Wets are not good this year. Lewis was complaining about them going off pretty rapidly. Inters much better overall tyre, apparently. That close to the end, no one wanted to come in without SC, as if it did come out subsequently you would have lost a lot of time relative to competition. Hence worn Inters

    • Yeah because switching to full wets would drop you down behind the guys who will stay out on worn inters. It’s still a race.

  3. Yesterday I posted a link from the BBCF1 site where it stated that Jules was breathing on his own after his surgery, that however seems to have been misinformation.

    Skysports news Craig Slater is reporting that this is not the case and he’s relying on a respirator to aid his breathing and also he has not undergone a second surgery.

  4. I’m sure this has been mentioned elsewhere, I’m just back from a weekend away. But… It is startling how useless the BBC team were in pickup up that something had happened. How many clues do they need? The TV feed kept focussing on the Marussia team, Jules dropped down the order with no explanation, didn’t they even count the number of cars?

    As for the race itself, I can’t agree or disagree with the Hippo until there is some indication as to how he lost control. With enough water you can lose control at any speed and once on the wet grass there is no stopping a car.

    My main thought though is that Charlie must go NOW. He could easily have called a safety car earlier – even Coulthard nailed it when he said he usually waits for a car to go off before deciding the weather is too bad. If the field had all been on wets yes, keep it going, but with a developing situation and conditions changing massively from one corner to the next it’s too much risk. I’d even add Bernie to the list for forcing the race so far back in the day where light could be an issue.

    • I think most TV station missed it as they all work with the same world feed and that deliberately didn’t show any pictures from the scene of the accident.

      • I think Brundle had an inkling something had gone wrong but was being cautious about what he said. I think they (Brundle and Croft) spotted the broken bits of Jules car just as Ted Kravitz interjected. Sky finished the race show early after the podium and initial reactions and suspended it’s schedule for the rest of the day, which was the right thing to do. I did not see the BBC coverage so I can’t comment on that, other than it was probably a mistake to show the race highlights.

      • Understandable they didn’t show pictures, but there was plenty of coverage of the Marussia pit crew looking very worried and Graham Loudon going somewhere on a mission as soon as the race ended – any why else would they show him?

        Surely a bit of digging behind the scenes would have shown there was more to it that Sutil having a bit of a sore neck as the Beeb were so keen to suggest?

    • I believe it was the Japanese race promotor that didn’t want to hold the race earlier in the day, the FIA made 2 attempts to get it changed.

        • And the bbc said they didn’t move it because your entrance ticket was also a ticket for the train for a specific time.and if they had moved it an hour earlier many people here in Europe would have missed half of the race.

      • Yes, but there is a difference between originally scheduling it late and moving it earlier at the last minute…

    • Coulthard said in commentary quite soon after it happened “Bianchi’s disappeared out on track” or something along those lines. He then mentioned that the car tracker showed his car as being next to Sutil’s. With the lack of footage showing it and the lack of information being provided about it, it’s not too surprising that they weren’t able to build up and relay an accurate commentary of what was happening.

  5. That last picture of the cars in the pitlane – WOW… I didn’t realise it had got that dark, the TV cameras as you said made it look like one of those cloudy mid afternoons….

    Surely there must have been drivers complaining on the team radio about the fading light level?

          • @Fortis I don’t think you can lay the blame on Bernie this time, the FIA approached the Japanese race promoter (Honda) twice in an attempt to change the start time but the were flatly refused in both occasions. The FIA had to do the best with what they were given.

          • It was Bernie who set the race time a year before.
            These circuits didn’t ask for late afternoon races. They had committed to a start time which doesn’t just involve the circuit alone, but the Marshals, security personnel, transportation, Helicopters and pilots etc.
            All these are either volunteers or are paid for and have fees associated with their operating time or may nt even be available until the appointed time.

          • Maybe, but if they were that concerned on safety grounds, then I’m sure he could’ve intervened.

            Personally, I don’t think the conditions were that bad that the race would need to be moved to an earlier time. Apart from the darkness in the closing phase of the race, we’ve seen races held in far more treacherous conditions. Fuji 07, Silverstone 08 and as recent as Canada 11.

            This was just a very unfortunate set of circumstances that resulted in the accident.

            So like most have said, until we know the full extent of what occurred, it’s hard to know what happened. Hopefully the FIA conducts a full and thorough investigation and from that, implement procedures that will in someway prevent accidents like this in the future.

        • Why others didn’t? Well, we don’t know what others said in the radio, and usually Massa is more open to critisize in public than the younger drivers. Apart from this, since his life-treathening accident, he is more aware of the risks than most of the pilots. It is not a question of not being able to drive, but a question of being aware of the risk for everybody.

    • That photograph might be as misleading as the TV pictures are though. The exposure for the TV images is going to be controlled to make it appear lighter, but if that was just a photograph taken on Auto/with auto exposure on a camera, due to the make-up of that image the camera would make it appear darker than it was.

      Because of how cameras try and make an even, neutral exposure, and the way they read colours/light, the grey skies/scenery and bright lights from the cars/tower would ‘fool’ the camera into making the photo appear darker than it really should. That’s a really basic, over-simplified way of putting it as the reality is much more complicated, but what I’m ineffectively getting at is that it’s not necessarily representative of what light conditions were actually like.

      • The crash is probably filmed with a smartphone and it doesn’t appear as dark as the photographs.

        • With the difference in sensor/processor and variations from manufacturer to manufacturer on how they make their sensors interpret what they’re seeing just within ‘real’ cameras, I’d imagine the gap from ‘real’ camera to cameraphone would probably have a different set of parameters too.

          My main point though was that if you’re just snapping away with a camera there’s no real way of showing how light/dark it actually is, so comparing two images (in this instance TV to a still photo) doesn’t really show whether one is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ compared to what was really happening. Whether the exposure is being decided by the photographer or within the camera itself, changing light levels like that “confuse” (for want of a better word) them both into misleading results but for different reasons.

  6. Visibility was the problem.
    Night, low sitting position and rain is a very bad combination.
    The typhoon was not the problem, the race was always scheduled for a very late running with the posibility of finishing at night.

      • But it’s also been said that, there’s not much difference between a wet and a dry setup. The main difference is just the amount of DF each team runs. The ride height remains relatively the same, because due to the threads blocks on the wet and intermediate tyres, the cars are raised a few inches/cm/mm’s higher anyways.

        Look at the RB’s yesterday, they still ran the same rake angel as they do in the dry.

        Isn’t aquaplaning caused when the tyres encounter more water than it can clear?

        • I believe this is correct as well. I think even in wet conditions they like the car close to the floor to get the aero parts working as near to their optimum as possible.

        • But a f1 car has the effect with the floor. Usually the water lifts the car up. Too much water underneath the body or the tires
          .. its all the same

  7. In a grim twist of irony, this is exactly the type of accident that Newey had warned about with the new noses, although he referred to submarining under another car, not a crane. With the roll hoop completely shorn off, it must have been a massiv impact.

  8. Regarding the medical side of things, it is usual to keep a patient sedated and on a ventilator after major head trauma. Presumably he had an intracranial haemorrhage which required drainage, and repair of skull fractures. The ICU will monitor intracranial pressure and if stable (once swelling subsides) will reduce sedation and allow him to wake and breathe on his own.
    This may take 3-10 days depending on severity. In the meantime all we will hear is that he is in a critical, but stable condition.
    Hopefully we hear good news soon.

  9. To have a tarmac run-off area isn’t worst than gravel in rain conditions? I’m wondering about the parabolica, etc…

    • Davidson talked about LH shunt in fp3 pointing out that there wasn’t enough gravel to slow the car once you lock the brakes. Can’t aquaplane on gravel

    • I believe gravel traps at places like Monza and Malaysia are pretty deep. In the rain cars are often stopped dead in their tracks before they hit a barrier (especially sideways). But the gravel traps at Suzuka is like a layer of gravel.
      Vettel was able to cross a gravel trap yesterday without to much problem.

      Run off areas wouldnt stop a car at all when its wet.

      • But Charles says that tarmac runoffs are safer than gravel. I say we heed this idiot’s sage counsel and ban gravel runoffs as too dangerous for FIA standards..

    • In view of the latest spectator video, it seems the above simulation is completely wrong.
      The real footage of the crash shows Bianchi’s car coming straight on, just catching the underside of the rear end of the tractor. The roll-bar gets ripped off by the protruding towing bar.
      in a manner similar to Massa’s crash in Hungary in 2009, with the driver seemingly neither steering nor braking the car.
      One second earlier, the recovery tractor was just enough further forward and there would have been no impact if the car had reached the spot that little bit earlier. On the other hand, a second later and the tractor would have been hit square on.

      • Did not want to actually watch footage and then, in a blog… bam, an animated gif. Does not look how it was told: not lateral impact at all, and actually, quite frontal impact against the head although I suppose that he could hide in the cockpit in some way, considering that the impact took away the air intake and everything above Jules shoulder level. I suppose that the helmet would not look as intact as it looks in some pictures (even the visor) otherwise.

        Forza Jules!!!

        • Sorry regis. I just wanted to post the address of the page. I didn’t know that the gif will be automatically embedded in the comment by doing that.

          • No problem Diego P, it was not here where I watched it, it was a blog unrelated to Formula 1 where I was less careful in browsing. The only important thing for me is that Jules can survive this accident, for impossible that it seems.

      • Both Erickson and Chilton (the only two other than Bianchi we get numbers for) accellerate through that corner after Bianchi crashes – both are at the same speeds as Bianchi, in fact I think Chilton was going significantly faster.

        interesting video – seems to show speed isn’t the factor, perhaps it’s visibility – avoiding the puddle Sutil was talking about.

  10. A video of Jules Accident recorded by a spectator has just popped up on twitter. Not going to share it, feels disrespectful to do so. But it’s easy enough to find through twitter.

    • He hits it head on. It also looks like his helmet is the first thing to hit it. I’d say he was coming in way to hard considering it was double yellow.

      • Not to mention those marshalls were incredibly lucky. They could have been crushed by, Bianchi, the crane and Sutil’s car.

        • It hit the tractor at a slight angle, had it been fully head on I guess it would have been a fatal accident there and then. Had the tractor been a bit slower, then I think it would have been a near miss. And how many of those have happened down the years I wonder ?

      • And Bianchi couldnt have gone off in a worse way and in a worse spot. Resembles Senna’s crash as in both could have walked away unscathed in nearly every other scenario. #ForzaJules

    • The video you refer to has been removed by FOM due to copyright issues – which is odd as it was shot by a spectator and the rights owned by them not FOM. Undoubtedly it will appear on other sites which don’t care what FOM want.

      • Much as I’m against censorship in any form, I think FOM and YouTube are correct. To be honest I feel a bit dirty for not being able to resist having a look.

        • YouTube got themselves into legal trouble a couple of years ago with a similar issue at a NASCAR race. I believe it was during the 2013 Daytona 500 there was an accident where a tyre went into the crowd and several spectators hurt. A spectator shot the incident on his mobile phone and uploaded it to YouTube. NASCAR then got YouTube to remove it for copyright reasons. YouTube complied with NASCAR’s request. The spectator threatened YouTube with a legal challenge and the video was put back up again. Whether you want to view the video or not is your choice – but the fact is the video is the property of the spectator not FOM.

          • I think the word is piety here. Keep in mind that there or tons of spectator videos and tons of F1 snippets on YouTube that have not at any point been challenged by FOM.

            You can say a lot about them (FOM) – and that’s a different discussion – but can’t recollect noteworthy copyright childishness from them when it comes to YouTube &co.

          • I visited Hungary 2005. There were lots of Tiny print rules about camera’s and filming on my ticket. Bernie’s probably smarter than nascar in who owns the rights.

          • FOM, like NASCAR, use the Millennium Copyright Act to force YouTube to take down any video that someone makes a claim against. That is done automatically to comply with the law. NASCAR makes the same claim on their tickets, that they are the sole rights holder for any video shot at an event. However, in the US, and that is where YouTube’s servers are located and terms of use are enforced, copyright at a sporting event only applies to commercial applications, that is someone shooting video where the intent is to sell it. Non-commercial applications are covered by a variation of fair use.

    • Why on earth was the green flag being waved???! They said that double yellows were being waved?….

      Am i missing something here?

          • Because once you have gone past the yellow section, you have to show green.

          • As explained above, the flag was waved after the scene of the accident and in the direction of traffic.
            The yellows will be seen by the drivers approaching the curve and once past the scene of an accident they are allowed to speed up again.

          • @john Mane…..

            Actually he correct, there was a green flag being waved right at the scene of the accident.

            The video Diego P shows it clearly in the background in Tower 12

        • Not sure he’s talking about that flag judge. If you watch the video that Diego P posted below, you’ll notice that there was indeed a green flag being waved in tower 12, right behind the tractor.

        • As Fortis points out, for ~10sec prior to and at the exact moment of Bianchi’s crash, the flag right above Sutil’s car at Tower 12 was *green*. The marshal continued to wave the green flag for ~1min 10sec after the accident happened. At that point, he switched to a yellow flag and the SC billboard.

          @Judge, since I was sensing that the video would get removed, I made a copy of it. Let me know if you would need access to it.

        • That’s the ERS safety light on the car (if it’s green it’s safe for marshals etc to touch, red light = rubber gloves etc time). The other green light is as the Judge says.

          • I’m guessing that flag was perhaps meant for the driver of the tractor i.e. it’s safe to move the car. I hadn’t spotted it before my attention has been on the spot of the accident it’s disturbingly hypnotic.

          • I doubt that it would be for the driver of the tractor, given his position within the cabin, he’d be unable to see the flag in the first place and also there were other marshalls around the tractor directing the driver.

            You’re right it was very hypnotic, because I didn’t see it at first, only saw it after viewing it for the 5th time.

    • That tractor probably weighs in excess of 6 tonnes and for the impact to actually lift off the ground, can only mean Jules was probably flat out when he lost control of his car.

      • Bring on the tarmac run-offs… They must certainly be safer than gravel in such incidents…

        • he actually was sliding on the tarmac runoff. gravel would have slowed him down much more. Thats the tradeoff – gravel is safer in rain, tarmac better in dry.

          • “tarmac better in dry”

            I disagree on this bit.

            Gravel is safer in dry, too, since it slows down a car that skids uncontrollably. They can skid off for a million different reasons: brake failure, suspension failure, Massa & Perez-like incident in Canada, Massa-like head trauma in Hungary 2009, driver faints because of this year’s diets, etc., etc. In all of these cases gravel can do something for the driver safety, while tarmac is simply a glorified red carpet up to the barrier (or, as we have it, the recovery tractor).

      • If you look at telemetry video, he is slower than his previous lap (i.r he does back off a bit) but he scrubs no speed before inpact. Heading round Dunlop the speed rises, and then instantly zeros.

    • Holy s***, I am scared to death for Jules. There is nothing the marshals could have done here, but dear me the impact is spine-chilling.

    • F**k me! Wow…

      Reference case for doing something about double waved yellows rule.

      Also saw the green flag on the tower in this vid and am curious about it.

      • The green flag is some meters beyond the accident.
        After the green flag point all cars are past the accident location.
        It wasn’t the cause of the accident.

        • For now we don’t really know much for sure. Specifically, we don’t know how Bianchi got himself skidding on the off-trac tarmac.

          However, I wouldn’t rule out this as a contributing factor, for several reasons. Poor visibility. Rain and worsening conditions. Then there is the track geometry. Even if we assume that drivers start accelerating only at the point of the green flag, he would still probably start preparing to accelerate a tiny little bit earlier than that. Add to this that this curve is infamously tricky to negotiate in the dry, and even more so with this year’s cars loss of downforce. And lastly, consider that Charlie’s psychopathic interpretation and enforcement of the double-yellow rule requires a -0.5sec lift on the sector time (vs personal best), which considering worn inter tires and worsening rain would in all likelihood mean that Bianchi complied with FIA’s requirements for being “prepared to stop”. (And stop he did.) While at the same time being at a woefully dangerous speed given the double-yellows and the conditions..

          So a green flag right at the spot of Sutil’s crash could have made Bianchi to get over-eager on the throttle a tad too soon..

    • Having seen that this young man is going to need all the luck he can get, because his head looks to have taken that impact. Sickening. The poor lad.

        • For this issue, I don’t know. But as a future principle, I’m with Hippo on that, we need something better, and I think that has to be enforced pit limiters in DWY zones, and perhaps a lesser limiter for yellows, it deals with the actual issue, the area of the accident yet doesn’t interfere with racing.

          • and how would you account for a car tucked in the slipstream of another one,and suddenly the car in front brakes heavily for the speed limiter? Especially in the wet??? It would cause another massive accident. Its called the “concertina effect” or the “accordion effect”. Dangerous when distances are small.

          • Fully agree. I’m in favour of adopting the method used in this years Le Mans 24 HR race.

            Pitlane speed limit is to be used for the entire sector the incident where an accident has occurred, especially when you’re inteoducing marshals and machinery such as tractors etc…..

          • @av2290
            “Dangerous when distances are small.”

            Implementation details can be tweaked. Both drivers could be instructed on their display that PL speed ahead. We could also have single-yellows prior to the double-yellow zone, making it anathema for a driver to slipstream or prepare a passing move on the other..

    • Oh man, this has me worried now. I thought that he had avoided hitting his head, from the cockpit side protection.. but seeing this loop makes it seem that the left side still partially submerges.. thus the rear right tractor tyre comes in to play, which could hit in a similar position to the Massa spring.

      A picture of the helmet could clear this up, but now I’m just hoping he survives. Vettel and Hulk should wrap themselves up in cotton wool – Kubica and now Bianchi have suffered terrible accidents while waiting to drive the cars in red.

      PS. Sky were showing the visor pre-race.. clear, two sided, inside for anti-fogging, with the ‘Massa strip’ of carbon on top… I was thinking then that I wonder if the clear part is now weaker than the rest.. but hopefully the carbon toughens it up.. it could still be the first point of contact. 🙁

  11. I dont agree how the conversation is taking a turn towards the cause of the accident.

    This is racing, and you cannot control chaos. I race part time with rotax karts and I know how close you can be at all times to something totally unpredictable.

    The conversation should be about WHY A DRIVER GOT INJURED. To me it is simple: he hit a construction digger on an active racetrack. You can talk all you want about double yellows, but if that digger wasnt there Jules would be fine right now.

    • “he hit a construction digger on an active racetrack.”

      True, but incomplete. Bianchi would have hit a marshal if the trajectory were only 2m to the left.

      The idea is that once you have marshals or tractors on the side of the racetrack (and no longer protected by the barriers), then cars must slow sufficiently to avoid such tragedies. Properly enforcing double-yellows with pitlane speed limiter in the concerned zones of the track would have avoided Bianchi submarining under the tractor (or, for that matter, Bianchi beheading a marshal or two).

    • You have to look at the whole sequence of events that lead up to an accident to understand how it happened and to see if anything can be learned from the accident. That may lead to safety improvements or it might not. Which is what the FIA will be doing in this instance.

      F1 needs a better system in place to deal with accidents or cars that are stopped in dangerous positions. It will never completely remove the risks of racing at high speeds but if it saves a life, it’s well worth it. The Hans device is a simple idea, but has saved countless lives when racing drivers have crashed heavily etc

      • I agree 100% that everything must be learned as much as possible. But this isn’t a commercial aircraft accident.

        The events were simple, cars were racing, someone lost control and hit a damn construction digger in the process. If we were to go after the what was the main cause based on sequence of events then the solution would be to never go racing again when it rains. Because thats what caused Jules to lose control of his car in the first place.

        Again, I understand and agree with your sentiment, but to me this is a tragically simple issue that can be dealt with simple engineering solutions.

      • Why have a special engine map for all cars that is automatically activated on yellows or double yellows? Make the engine run at 95% capacity for yellows and 75% on double yellows. As long as it is automatically activated AT THE SAME time and on ALL cars then I think it’s fair.

        • That might appear a great solution but is potentially as dangerous.
          Lifting suddenly in the wet can cause the car to snap and you end up with another accident.

  12. Re: Safety car rules

    Villeneuve is wrong. Bringing out a safety car for every race incident will lead to a boring race flow, the way we see in IndyCar, where it is normal to see 6-7 full course caution periods during a 2 hour road course race. We have to accept that racing is dangerous. While efforts should be made to improve the safety, we can’t compromise every single principle for the sake of safety. This is why the cars have open wheels and open cockpits for example, despite the safety issues.

    • What you have to hope for then is, if this does come about, the IndyCar practice of bringing out the sweepers to scour the track of discarded tyre rubber is not followed. Safety car periods in the Indy series become unnecessarily prolonged as sweepers work for lap after lap long after the incident that originated the caution has been dealt with.

      • More more thought regarding this.. because IndyCar has so many full course cautions, they normally have more restarts as well. And restarts normally are quite a dangerous phase of an IndyCar race because all cars are bunched up, often resulting in more accidents. No wonder they say “yellows breed more yellows” in Indy racing. Granted, perhaps they do restarts the wrong way in IndyCar. Green flag is given only after the field of cars is in tight formation, very tight. In F1, the green light is given without the cars being bunched up too much.

    • They probably packed extra parts for #Sochi I’d have thought. I guess Putin will be all over the race like a bad rash.

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