#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Suzuka 2014 – #JapaneseGP

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

[For those who are new to the page; TJ13 attempts to remove certain aspects of the race to give a fairer reflection of the race result.]

Editor’s note: This post uses the official classified results and not the results of when the red flag was called.

A race which had promised so much then had been in doubt, before finally delivering a sting to end proceedings.  The Japanese Grand Prix of 2014 will always be remembered for ‘that crash’ over anything else, which is a great shame.  It should be remembered for ‘that overtake’, ‘that 17 year old that drove’ or Jenson Button once again demonstrating just how good he is in the rain.

Races of these conditions are usually much higher in attrition with only three not finishing, two for the same incident and another for an electrics system failing, as the drivers showed extraordinary control to keep the cars out of trouble for so long – even when making overtakes.

The fallout of the whole Bianchi incident is far from running its course, although perhaps there is far more to be mulled over. At some point the question of race start times will inevitably be raised once more.  Having spent a large proportion of the past year living in Mexico I can say with some confidence that the start times damage popularity. Leaving the poor weather conditions that affected safety, at what point will FOM move the focus away from the European audience?

For the long-term future of the sport in these expanding markets I hope the answer is soon.

Normally a place for celebration, the podium was rather subdued

Normally a place for celebration, the mood on the podium was subdued

So what really happened?

Fernando Alonso: The timing of Alonso’s car shut down was perfectly ironic given his impending departure from Maranello.  Alonso stood and stared at his stricken Ferrari in disbelief at yet another retirement. The Mercedes and Red Bulls looked too strong in the wet, so 5th is really the best Alonso could have hoped for. Given the Ferrari performance in Hungary and Button’s supreme strategic call, he is awarded 6th place.

Adrian Sutil: When the German aquaplaned off the circuit into the barriers he could never have imagined the subsequent incident.  Unfortunately for Sutil, he remains retired in what is looking increasingly likely to be his final year in the sport.

Jules Bianchi: Devastating, shocking and a moment that will have ramifications to come for a long time within the sport, the French protégé’s crash shook the world of Formula One.  As of yet, there is nothing which has been released to say that it was caused by a car failure, therefore, he remains retired.

The Verdict
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start RevisedPosition
1 Lewis Hamilton = 25 = 2 1
2 Nico Rosberg = 18 = 1 2
3 Sebastian Vettel = 15 = 9 3
4 Daniel Ricciardo = 12 = 6 4
5 Jenson Button = 10 = 8 5
6 Fernando Alonso RETIRED 8 +8 5 6
7 Valtteri Bottas -1 6 -2 3 7
8 Felipe Massa -1 4 -2 4 8
9 Nico Hulkenberg -1 2 -2 13 9
10 Jean-Eric Vergne -1 1 -1 20 10
11 Sergio Perez -1 0 -1 11 11
12 Daniil Kvyat -1 0 = 12 12
13 Kimi Raikkonen -1 0 = 10 13
14 Esteban Gutierrez -1 0 = 15 14
15 Kevin Magnussen -1 0 = 7 15
16 Romain Grosjean -1 0 = 16 16
17 Pastor Maldonado -1 0 = 22 17
18 Marcus Ericsson -1 0 = 17 18
19 Max Chilton -1 0 = 21 19
20 Kamui Kobayashi -1 0 = 19 20
21 Jules Bianchi = RETIRED 0 = 18 21
22 Adrian Sutil = RETIRED 0 = 14 22


Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Lewis Hamilton 1 306 +40
Nico Rosberg 2 290 +34
Daniel Ricciardo 3 187 -9
Sebastian Vettel 4 143 +4
Fernando Alonso 5 124 -7
Valtteri Bottas 6 110 -20
Felipe Massa 7 91 +20
Jenson Button 8 79 -3
Nico Hulkenberg 9 50 -26
Kimi Raikkonen 10 47 +1
Sergio Perez 11 37 -9
Kevin Magnussen 12 25 -14
Daniil Kvyat 13 11 +5
Jean-Eric Vergne 14 14 -7
Romain Grosjean 15 4 -4
Esteban Gutierrez 16 1 +1
Jules Bianchi 17 0 -2
Adrian Sutil 18 0 =
Kamui Kobayashi 19 0 =
Max Chilton 20 0 =
Marcus Ericsson 21 0 =
Pastor Maldonado 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

Had the race been cancelled due to the typhoon which later hit Japan, then social media would have been awash with people crying out for the FIA/FOM to have better control and foresight of the situation.  In the end, we went racing in what turned out to be a fairly dull procession, only broken up the odd overtake and round of pit stops.  It should have been a momentous occasion as Hamilton broke his Japanese duck, however it was far from joyful.  If we had known what would occur in the fading light then, of course, the racing would have been halted; but as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The important thing now is that lessons are learnt from this tragic happening.  Procedures, briefings and even rules will  undoubtedly change which is really the only positive that can be drawn from all of this.  In some ways then it was fitting that the racing (and consequently the VoC report) was so unexciting, as it left little distraction to the gravity of this event.

A dark day, both literally and metaphorically, for the sport.

Quote of the Day

The story of Stephen Sutton is one that defies belief that such courage and maturity was shown by such a young person, at such a difficult time. Even though he was diagnosed with incurable metastatic bowel cancer, he focussed on the positive in his time left and achieved so much.

For more information on Stephen’s story, follow this link.

He said, “It is not the situation, it is how I react to the situation that is important.”

Quite remarkable and truly an inspiration

Quite remarkable and truly an inspiration

Stephen’s words can be applied in many walks of life, with this state of affairs being no different.  Head of the GPDA, Alex Wurz, spoke of the need to avoid knee-jerk reactions, which in my mind is essential. However, the need to react positively is paramount to making sure the tragic events that unfolded on a wet afternoon in Suzuka are not in vain.

5 responses to “#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Suzuka 2014 – #JapaneseGP

  1. I’d like to congratulate the whole TJ13 crew for the way the site has reported on the Bianchi situation, it has been done with the greatest sensitivity and respect to all concerned.

  2. “Fernando Alonso: The timing of Alonso’s car shut down was perfectly ironic given his impending departure from Maranello. Alonso stood and stared at his stricken Ferrari in disbelief at yet another retirement.”

    If the Judge’s intuitions are correct, and the Three Stooges are indeed on the brink of recruiting Fred, then the Asturian will have to practice the “staring in disbelief” much more often. Come to think of it, there is no better way to ensure the stalling of the car’s development than to push Brawn and Hamilton out of the team, and replace them with Lowe and Alonso…

    If this is indeed the scenario, next year should be fun. Remember that this year the Three Stooges were incapable of keeping in check Rosberg (!); what chance do they stand in face of the almighty Fred?

  3. Doesn’t Magnussen deserve a modest bump given his electronics glitch & unnecessary additional stop accompanied by change of steering wheel? It certainly was not something in his control.

    Also Button had the exact same issue (however the steering wheel switch took place along a regular pit stop), but I’m not sure that he had the pace to survive the onslaught of the Red Bulls..

    • Potentially, but it was the lack of downforce that was chewing through the intermediate tyre. A chance of a gaining a few places, but I don’t think he would have made a point scoring place.

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