#F1 Features: Further Questions for the FIA & Whiting over Bianchi

Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.

Ismail Haniyeh

Read more here

Charlie Whiting F1It is now almost 4 days since the FIA ‘fronted up’ to the media in Sochi over the accident of Jules Bianchi and the events surrounding it.

It remains astonishing, that TJ13 appears to be the only publication questioning the disingenuous nature of that presentation – whether intentional or not.

After grand words from the F1 Emperor with no clothes, Whiting opened by dealing with the matter of speed.

There had been rumours initiated by loose words from driver steward Mika Salo immediately following the race, that Jules Bianchi had been speeding prior to his off. These claims were in actuality that Bianchi had breached the 0.5 second time/speed reduction regulation issued by Whiting March 2014 as an appropriate measure for slowing the drivers when under a double waved yellow flag caution.

Whiting began the grand inquisition by discussing the issue of speed.

“I know what speed he left the track at. We have seen the data from all cars, and everyone slowed down.

Some didn’t slow down much, some a lot. We don’t need to go into how much he [Bianchi] slowed down compared to others. He did slow down; it is a matter of degree.”

However, the effect of this obviously coded response was simply to propagate the perception that Bianchi was speeding – leaving those listening to draw the inference, that either the crash was Jules’ responsibility…. or at least a contributory factor.

Certain irresponsible sections of the media have noted the nudge from Charlie Whiting and written stories to the desired effect. Some even claimed the team instructed Bianchi to drive more quickly under the double waved yellow flags.

All this whilst Jules lies critically ill and helpless in hospital: unable to speak for himself.

Thankfully, whatever deals were done to allow Marussia to run only one car, they have not felt the need to be gagged.

“These allegations are entirely false. Jules did slow down under the double waved yellow flags, that is an irrefutable fact, as proven by the telemetry data, which the team has provided to the FIA”.

The statement adds, “Charlie Whiting, the FIA’s race director, confirmed that the team had provided such data, that he himself had examined this data and that Jules did slow.”

Marussia refute categorically Jules was instructed to increase his speed. “It is quite clear from the [radio] transmission and the transcript that at no point during the period leading up to Jules’ accident did the team urge Jules to drive faster, or make any comments suggesting that he should do so,

The team is distressed to have to respond to deeply upsetting rumours and inaccuracies in respect of the circumstances of Jules’ accident.

However, given that these allegations are entirely false, the team has no alternative but to address these.

The team sincerely hopes that, having clarified these facts, it can now avoid any further distractions to its primary focus at this time, which is providing support for Jules and his family.”

What is astounding is that none of the big F1 publications have once published opinion editorial pieces which even ask one question regarding possible culpability from the FIA or Whiting.

The reason Whiting gave during the press briefing for not deploying the safety car during the removal of Sutil’s stranded vehicle was that race/control/he thought it was far enough from the track.

What does this mean? The cars could travel legally under double waved yellow flags at over 180kph (time/speed reduction factored in for 0.5s rule.

It transpires Adrian’s Sauber was a mere 50-55 feet (approx 15 metres) from the edge of the asphalt.

Worsening pouring rain – light at around 50% brightness of normal – cars travelling at high speed (legally as defined by Whiting’s time/speed regulation for DWYF) – round a corner – incident on outside of the corner being attended to by people on foot and on the slippery grass – damaged car being removed by modified digger????????????

If this wasn’t a matter of life and death, you would be forgiven to believe that somewhere… somebody is just having a laugh!

Given this information – it was arguably PROBABLE…. HIGHLY LIKELY…. ALMOST UNAVOIDABLE – that another vehicle would spin off at the same spot. Clearly grip was more of an issue at that point on the circuit.

Moving on.

Whiting asserted in the Friday propaganda session, that the start time of the race had no bearing on Jules accident. He gave no evidence and was not questioned on the matter.

Yet we know that the FIA spoke with the race promoter Honda on two occasions, offering to bring forward the start time.

In a room full of critically minded journalists – did not one think to ask, why the FIA felt it necessary to offer the promoter an unprecedented opportunity.

Of course Whiting asserts the start time of the race had no impact on Bianchi’s accident, the direct implication is that the level of light around the time of Jules’ crash was not a contributory factor.

Really, I wonder why Charlie and the FIA are desperate to cling to the assertion the start time is irrelevant?

Maybe, BECAUSE IF IT WAS – Whiting has failed in his duty of care as race director to red flag the race for the safety of the marshal’s and the drivers.

The FIA and Whiting did not need to discuss the matter with promoter. On the grounds of safety, they could have rescheduled the race – and leave Bernie to worry about whether he gets paid or not by Honda.

The late start time in Japan 3pm – for the benefit of keeping TV numbers in Europe up – meant that even on a glorious day, sunset was around just 2 hours 30 minutes from the race start.

It is ridiculous for Whiting to assert, that in nigh on Monsoon conditions, the fast deteriorating light had no influence on the drivers abilities to drive appropriately in the given soaking conditions.

The cynical running of the safety car by Whiting for just 2 laps to start the GP said it all for many. 2 laps meant that the contractual obligations were met which precipitated the contractual payment from Honda to the commercial rights owners.

Be not surprised at this though, Whiting made sure Bernie got paid simply because they are good friends and Charlie is Mr. E’s man inside the FIA (as was Mosely). This is hardly a great revelation as all three were cronies dating back to the Bernie and Brabham days.

Further, why are no big F1 publications calling for an independent inquiry?

Asking the organisation responsible for safety in F1, to gather the evidence, weigh it and conclude whether they indeed are culpable – is laughable beyond the farce that was the Russian GP.

We encourage TJ13 readers to challenge the people they follow on twitter or even by email, who write for the big news outfits.

TJ13 had a fruitless engagement with @FakeCharlie the other night – though considering the F1blog which @FakeCharlie contributes towards, is under threat from FOM at present – they want their domain name – don’t expect anything but the establishment line to emit from that source any time soon.

However, we must press the matter – there are many questions to be asked.

TJ13 is about the power of social media, and we the fans owe it to Jules to ensure proper accountability and responsibility is accepted by those paid by us to protect drivers and marshals in Formula 1.

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77 responses to “#F1 Features: Further Questions for the FIA & Whiting over Bianchi

  1. Hear, hear!
    There is one person who is solely responsible for the continuation of the race, one person responsible for allowing drivers to continue driving at dangerous speeds. That person is Whiting.
    After the German GP I questioned the effectiveness of the double waved yellow on here when marshals were running across track to recover Sutil’s stricken car. I argued that the cars do not slow down enough to stop and it was luck that no-one was seriously hurt then.
    I have also argued recently that the issues around F1 cars being too easy to drive centred more around the cars being too safe and they spent less time on the edge. Drivers of yesteryear were considered heroes because if they made a mistake they often payed dearly, sometimes with their lives. Today, if you get the Parabolica wrong, you can overshoot onto the lovely area of smooth asphalt.
    However, there is a plain distinction between a formula that is difficult to drive (and punishes mistakes) and one that, in my opinion, pursues commercial benefits above anything else.
    I cannot blame Honda for not bringing the race forward knowing what (little) I do about their train system, I cannot blame the teams for submitting cars to race or keeping their cars out on track. I can’t blame the drivers for pushing their cars to the limits of the regulations. I feel that I can blame the commercial rights owners for changing the race times and Whiting for allowing the race to continue/setting a time delta. This is independent of them proving to be liable or not.

      • “The FIA and Whiting did not need to discuss the matter with promoter. On the grounds of safety, they could have rescheduled the race …”

        Is that statement true?

        • They knew before hand that the schedule had the potential to be problematic based on the time of the year it was scheduled for.
          It is bad enough that the promoters don’t get much revenue, but to then further deny them any chance to make some gate takings would have been pretty bad.
          As far as I can recall, it was Bernie who always wanted those late starting races, and the FIA should long have refused to sanction such races that leave drivers running at speed with very little light or the low setting sun in their eyes.

          • As the grumpy old voice of the podcast, I will add my tuppance… does that measure of currency even exist anymore… anyway, I used to get up – thirty odd years ago – around three in the morning to watch the Japanese Grand Prix which would have a local starting time of 2pm.

            The season opener in Australia would be the same time of night essentially.

            It staggers me that for all the new dollars he is chasing in different parts of the world, shiny new facilities at the expense of historic European ones he is catering still for the European viewers and changes start times due to that..

          • “The FIA and Whiting did not need to discuss the matter with promoter. On the grounds of safety, they could have rescheduled the race …”

            Per the FIA Sporting Regulations, the Race Director does not have that authority.

            Please share with us the regulation that empowers the FIA Race Director to move the scheduled race start time up from 3PM to 1PM (or any other time prior to the scheduled time).

          • I see… So the Race Director does NOT have the authority to move the race start time up from 3PM to 1PM or whatever time, and yet you wonder why professional journalist were not asking that question.

            Perhaps our dialogue here has helped to satisfy your curiosity on that particular question…

          • … further implying I said something doesn’t mean I did…. then then arguing what I didn’t say is incorrect – is called an argument of straw….

          • OK, you’re implying that Charlie is both the Race Director and Safety Delegate for F1, and (yes) I believe that to be true (w/out digging through various FIA docs to verify). But neither position grants him the authority to reschedule the official race start time, at least as stipulated in the F1 Sporting Regs.

            As far as I can see, you’ve asked two or three questions in this feature article. One of them is why didn’t CW move the start time up toward the middle of the day, and the answer is he didn’t have the authority to do so.

            You’ve also asked if the FIA, particularly the Race Director / Safety Delegate, CW, are culpable. The answer is obviously yes. But that is not the point of the FIA investigation. Since the answer to your question is obvious, Jean Todt has instead asked for an investigation and report to determine how to prevent this from happening again.

            So that is two of your questions answered here.

            You’re welcome! 🙂

          • …Once again you state I said something which I didn’t – no point debating with you further….

            …and Todt has not asked for an investigation – he has ordered it (see semantics matter)

            I stated the FIA can make an executive decision to move the time of the race – given considerations of safety issues – and this can be done.

            What is most likely – were the FIA to believe the race promoters would be intransigent to this decision, they would enquire whether the race promoter would be inclined to agree to moving the race time – rather than just enforce the decision.

            If the answer was no, the FIA have to consider the result of rescheduling the race with uncooperative locals.

            There would be interminable arguments over the revised race time – tickets sales – marshal availability – and importantly how much less the race promoter should now pay.

            The FIA could even get timed out in being able to reschedule the race due to the problems objections and behaviour as outlined above.

            So the FIA are then left with the option of cancelling the race – but no hosting fee get’s paid – or allowing it to go ahead at the time planned.

            Clearly the latter decision was made – along with a mini show of force, a display of authority – complete 2 laps – get FOM paid – job done.

            Fortunately for the Japanese promoters, conditions improved for a while.

            Yet the rationale behind the desire to move the race was in fact on the grounds of safety.

            Anyway, lets not fall out – Good to know you’re onboard and want to see the FIA answer questions – and are not merely agreeing with the party line “here’s what we’re going to do now – isn’t it brilliant”

          • OK, as per my penchant potentially relevant reg from the sporting regs:

            12.3 The clerk of the course shall work in permanent consultation with the race director. The race
            director shall have overriding authority in the following matters and the clerk of the course
            may give orders in respect of them only with his express agreement :
            a) The control of practice and the race, adherence to the timetable and, if he deems it
            necessary, the making of any proposal to the stewards to modify the timetable in
            accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations.

            Would seem to give race director authority to change start time..

          • Well early in the run up to the race when the typhoon was the hot topic, Charlie was reported as being on the horn to Bernie, consulting.
            So, who is the race director, the safety delegate and the clerk of the course?
            Teflon coat of many colours….

          • I’m not interested in a debate. I’m just curious, and want to better understand an interesting point that you’ve raised here.

            You stated, “The FIA and Whiting did not need to discuss the matter with promoter. On the grounds of safety, they could have rescheduled the race”.

            You’ve made that point a second time with, “FIA can make an executive decision to move the time of the race – given considerations of safety issues…”

            The week prior to the Suzuka race I didn’t see any journalists mention that CW has this authority, so I want to know how we know your statement is true.

            This is my fifth time to ask you this same question. First I asked directly, and then again directly, and then (after you responded with, “…Gary Hartstein said last week…”, seriously?), I goaded you twice by concluding that CW does not have that capability, in the hopes that it would prompt you to put me (that VM guy with impudent attitude!) in my place by sharing why you know it to be true that CW can move the race start time forward a couple of hours.

            But that didn’t happen. I don’t want to debate… I’m only asking you why you believe CW had the authority to move the race start time up to an earlier time.

            These are the types of questions that you ask your readers to ask others. I’m looking forward to learning…

          • Hi Matt!

            Long time!

            I didn’t see your reply before I posted above.

            I had reviewed 12.3,.a) “…the making of any proposal to the stewards to modify the timetable in accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations”, and concluded that at best CW can propose modifications of the time table to the stewards.

            The time tables as specified by the Sport Regs are very rigorous and rigid. So moving a race start time up two hours for instance would have a large effect on the schedules of the teams, to say nothing of the TV folks, the support races, event staff, various race / track staff, the spectators attending the race, and the spectators of the TV broadcasts.

            I’ve not reviewed the Code to see how it addresses changing the race start time (if at all).

            Mr. Scandlyn,

            The Clerk of the Course would have been nominated by the co-authorizing organization, the Japan Automobile Federation. The JAF nominated Takashi Mitarashi to be one of the four Race Stewards, but I don’t know who the Clerk of the Course was this year.

            You raise a great point about Charlie talking to Bernie during the week prior to the race. The narratives I saw included possibilities of the race being run on Saturday during known good weather. Then the possibility of the race being run earlier on Sunday. Then the word came that Honda squished both ideas.

            Which raises the question, who has the authority to move the race start time forward by an hour or two, or a day? The regs say only that the Race Director can propose a modification of the timetable to the Race Stewards. But the story back then was that Honda made that decision.

            The Judge has, in the past, been familiar with some back room things that others are not, but in this case, given the non-answer (or speculative answer), it’s not apparent how this decision to not change the race start time was reached.

            In the end, changing the start time wasn’t important. The irony is that on Sunday October 5th, the only opportunity to run in light rain or no rain for more than 90 minutes was after 3PM, (the time of the race). Prior to 3PM, the only instance of greater than 90 minutes of light rain (or no rain) was at dawn.

            The weather (light rain / no rain) made for a helluva a great race up to those last tragic few laps when it rained harder and became too dark.

  2. “I cannot blame Honda for not bringing the race forward knowing what (little) I do about their train system…”

    Yes we can. This wasn’t a freak storm. The whole world knew for 5 days that a typhoon was headed directly at Japan.

    If FOM/FIA/Honda had simply sat down and talked about the situation on Thursday or Friday, they could have changed the schedule several days out, giving the ticketholders plenty of notice to rearrange their train schedules.

    WE do not know what the actual attendance of the race was, but Sky commented that on the day of the race, the stands were as filled as they would ever get by the time the second feeder race had started, so the fans were already there anyway.
    I have seen reports that most of Japan had been shut down on Sunday in anticipation of the storm.

    SO the rest of the country was preparing for a huge, potentially devastating storm, but F1 doesn’t get weather reports.

    quote from bernie post race:

    “If I was going to know, when this so called storm was going to happen, it would be easy, but as nobody knew, and nobody would know in the future, when these are going to happen or not happen. Maybe it will never happen again in that part of the world. Who knows.
    It was unfortunate. I mean I think, honestly we are a little bit lucky, that it wasn’t as bad as we anticipated. And we race in the rain all the time.”

      • …..there were a number of issues…..

        when there are certain incidents, the safety car is not quick enough to respond… there must be a way of isolating/making safe that section of the circuit – for the benefit of the stranded driver/marshals and drivers still on track.

        yes we have the red flag….. however the World Motorsport Council has mandated for ALL forms of Global Motorsport that double waved yellows mean “slow down and be prepared to stop”

        it is for the regulator’s within the various forms of Motorsport to enforce this appropriately.

        0.5 second loss of pace for DWYF in no way does this, yet this was Whiting’s directive earlier this year.

        The drivers were told if they slowed by 0.5 seconds, they would not incur a penalty under DWYF.

        Further, ask yourself this. Sector speed limits of 60-80 Kph will be enforced under DWYF in Austin – did the FIA just go and get the technology to so this at 3 weeks notice? – no they have had it at each race this year already.

        Further, if there is a global governance (for a geographic area) which sets out a safety standard for all to apply in the various workplaces in that territory – If the those responsible for safety in one company fail to apply the standard properly – then there is an accident due to improper enforcement of global safety standards – who is culpable?

        • “Further, ask yourself this. Sector speed limits of 60-80 Kph will be enforced under DWYF in Austin – did the FIA just go and get the technology to so this at 3 weeks notice? – no they have had it at each race this year already.”

          No, that is not correct. Sector speed limits will NOT be enforced under DWYF in Austin because the FIA do not have the technology to do so. Instead the FIA is likely to test the concept at the end of either FP1 or FP2 on Friday at Austin by having the teams do a sector at perhaps 100kph at the end of the session.

          The FIA can’t implement such a system this year because requires too much change to the ECU system. The test is to assist the FIA in engineering a good system for next season.

          • …. I rest my case…. they will make the drivers responsible to drive certain sectors to a set delta/speed – because they have the technology to measure their response.

            This technology was there in Japan and has been the entire year.

            Charlie had just made a stupid estimation of the measure of speed reduction which was ‘legal’ under DWYF – 0.5 seconds per sector…. around 83-87% of full speed.

            He is in effect revising his 0.5s directive to a more appropriate number.

            And by the way, feedback so far from the teams is that it will be unlikely there will be control assumed by race control of the cars in 2015 – or indeed ever.

            The Texas solution will stand going forward.

      • Hey John, I agree with you completely, and have posted that sentiment here multiple times.

        My post was meant to respond to the first post, his line is quoted at the top, i hit the wrong button.

        However, the is no denying that weather, light, etc played contributing factors in why Jules went off in the first place.
        The storm was a Category 3 in the day leading up to the race.
        In some respects, what bernie said in his quote was true, they had no idea what the real intensity of the storm would be. So let’s flip it the other way… what if the storm intensified as it approached the coast and 100,000 fans, plus all the teams were caught in a 180kph wind storm?
        Where exactly would they shelter that many people?
        It was negligent to even have the race based on the weather projections.

        • ….it was negligent to dispatch a recovery vehicle – and have no TV monitoring of its progress from race control

          …it was negligent to have cars travelling at “legal” double yellow waved yellow flag speeds in excess of 180 kph whilst Sutil’s car and the marhals and the recovery truck were 50 feet away across wet grass

          • Judge I’m really having trouble buying the no video coverage bit….
            I’d believe it must be there just not being owned up too.

          • We have some information on the FOM camera angles present in japan – but are still working on it.

            There is also the circuit CCTV – which apparently was the only footage Whiting claims they have and it was this footage of Bianchi’s crash which was presented to the media.

          • And it was negligent to not call off a race that had been run under safety car conditions for several laps and then red flagged in worsening light conditions.
            They well knew failing daylight could be critical for completion before things even got underway.

          • ….Question: How many times in such conditions have we seen the race start on time – run two laps – which coincidentally fulfils the commercial rights owner’s obligations to the promoter – and then the race is red flagged?

          • … What may not be clear to readers is that Charlie Whiting had completed his investigation of all the circumstances surrounding Jules bianchi’s crash, prior to the press briefing on the Friday before the Russian GP – so say 4 days from the incident – whilst travelling from Japan to Russia and presented it to Jean Todt…. Smart work indeed!

  3. As I mentioned in a previous post, there have been three deaths at Suzuka since 2003. The last one in 2012. Two of the deaths were motorcycle races and the third in a WTCC event. In all three fatalities the accident reports were done exclusivily by Honda, who own the track. The reports were accepted by the local police and the Mei Prefecture and no additional investigations done by any Japanese agency or the FIA . The reports concluded that all three deaths were the result of driver error and indirectly marshals /course workers. Honda was admonished of any culpability.

    Bianchi’s accident is following the Suzuka pattern. Blame the driver and maybe some volunteer course workers. But the circuit, race organizers and race control will be declared blameless. Honda are going to play a large part of F1’s future and with the FIA and FOM, none of them want to be seen with any blood on their hands.

  4. I posted this to Joe Sawards blog today, under his article “Incidents, accidents and reportage…”
    He’s not published it.

    ===

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    A lot has been made about the speed at which Bianchi’s car hit the tractor. Using the video taken by a spectator, several people have calculated that the car was travelling at around 40 mph, before it hit the tractor.

    We’d have been given information about the G forces involved, why is the FIA having a problem in either confirming or denying the speed of the car? Charlie Whiting said they needed to check the calculations, why is it taking so long?

    This continued and unnecessary secrecy is not doing F1 any good. I makes it appear F1 has something to hide.

    • I’ll tell you why Jonno… it’s because they are trying to cover it up. I’d not be surprised if it was green flags/signal when that accident happened…

    • Joe’s seeming attitude of “aw shucks that’s racing” is pretty surprising. While clearly the Suzuka race had a number of strange factors that lead to the crash (heavy rain, low light), the simple point remains that a tractor was in a place where it could be hit by a car. If the tractor part of the equation cannot be changed (because apparently it’s the cheapest and most effective way of moving cars) then the car part of the equation has to be changed. I’m don’t think anyone is knee jerking, this has been a worry for 20 odd years now. In the end Jules’ legacy could be to force the correction of a dangerous attitude.

  5. Nicely put Jonno. The sad part is that all this is very likely to come out when the lawsuits start pouring in and the FIA have no other choice but to provide the data. Sure they’re buying time right now, but that won’t last long.

    • If that is a possibility why is not John Toad showing he’s in charge of the FIA and giving Chazza some gardening to do?

    • If this had happened here in ‘merica I would buy the lawsuit idea, but this happened in Japan. Does anyone know what are the laws in Japan are in regards to civil liability in a situation like this?

      • You raise a good point re. Japanese law…can’t quite help here. I don’t think any of the parties (beyond the FIA) will be satisfied by the FIA-mandated investigation. Bianchi’s dad hinted that he had things to say but would keep quiet for the time being and there will be way too much money at stake (via the insurance companies etc etc) for this to not end on court in Japan and/or somewhere else.

  6. We probably could do with your honour doing or preparing somethings for us to replicate. tweeting some figures for us to retweet and favourite perhaps?

    • …. good idea…..

      If you look I did one with the BBC tonight. It’s about engaging with people and asking the questions?

      This is the third article on the subject since Japan…. and there are more forthcoming…..

      Start by asking the F1 journo’s – Adam Cooper, Alan Baldwin, Byron Young, James Allen, Michael Schmidt – BUT use the #TJ13 in the question so we can all go to #TJ13 and see who is conversing with whom and join in.

      Ask the drivers if they are happy they are being treated like naughty boys who won’t play by the rules – when the rules were wrong….

      Ask the teams who engage with fans like Lotus and Mercedes and Williams

      • Maybe #TJ13 and #Justice4Jules ? we need a hash tag for this instance specifically, so its not purely tied to your site, whilst you are also the driving force?

        • …Ok Adam Done. I’ve asked @Bild_Sport a question and the ball will begin to roll.

          We/you/I need to do the same with other F1 aficionados.

          For you twitter users, just search under #Justice4Jules and see what’s being said and join in the conversation re-tweeting when appropriate or replying adding the hashtag to any replies.

          • Will do, perhaps this is the way we can all consolidate our sentiment in future, with a pertinent hash tag, it is the one way the fans can truly have their individual say, yet be part of a larger force or sentiment.

  7. “Whiting made sure Bernie got paid simply because they are good friends and Charlie is Mr. E’s man inside the FIA (as was Mosely). ”

    Would this statement stand up in court as it appears you are suggesting CW would willingly endanger lives provided BE got paid.. Hmm I suspect you could be in deep water trying to prove this was and is the case

    • Bernie bought Brabham in 1971 and sold in 1987. The timeline may prove of interest..

      CW joined the Brabham team in 1977 as mechanic, rising to chief mechanic then chief engineer. He became FIA tech delegate in 1988 and Safety Delegate and Race Director in 1997.

      Herbie Blash – Brabham team manager in 1973 working alongside Bernie until 1988, became FIA Deputy Race Director in 1995.

      The digital broadcast unit in the paddock is called Bakersville. It is named after a guy who looks after all this called Eddie Baker. He also was another ex Brabham mechanic.

      Paddy Mcnally looks after all track signage and Paddock club facilities. He came into contact with Bernie in the 70’s and the two worked together ever since.

      Bernie met Mosley in 1971 and they forged a close friendship within what became known as the FOCA. By 1991 Max was President of the FIA and that’s when Bernie really turned up the control of F1

      Coincidences? The toad controls F1 because he has all his cronies in the highest places.

      • …and Max Mosely infuriated Jean Todt because he gave Whiting a lengthy contract as one of his last acts before exiting as FIA President…..

        • Bernie and Todt can’t stand each other but because of Mosley, the FIA has become ineffectual to FOM.

          Mosley and Bernie set it all up during the FIA/Foca war in the early 80’s, Balestre signed a deal which gave him control of the FIA and gave Bernie control of TV rights.

          Essentially although the FIA sanctions the circuits and has the rights to designate an event as official no race can be run without the say so of FOM. Mosley was well aware of what the arrogant Balestre signed away.

          It was also Mosley who signed the 100 year agreement with FOM for TV rights for 300 mill…. against SKY paying £1.1 billion for three years of the Premiership…

      • It’s a shitty litle little man’s club.

        The more I think about the powers in this sport, the more I struggle to not dismiss the whole thing as a low lifer’s paradise. No wonder there’s no good journalism around it.

        This palaver may have put a end to my interest, as it was before.

        • sorry for my potty mouth language. But I am now tired to the end, of the parochial club attitude endemic to this sport. It’s tainted everyone, including the press around them. I think we have seen, with this sorry awful accident, that the bell must toll for the pathetic powers, not ever another driver. Look, it seeps into this site, also, which was set out as a bid to be fresh air… but the closer you get to anything, and the foul stench rises.. and everyone is reeling, in adhominems and worse and general rot. I reeled at the wagon circling, and accusing of knee jerk from knee jerkers and all because a bright young man is in a terrible way that might have been averted. That’s so simple a thing to try to understand, and to try to deal with positively and without name calling or blame manufacture… but I feel dirty and sickened, now, by it all, even if the volume had to be raised by necessity.

  8. At Hokenheim a car was stranded ON the track at a corner with marshals running across to attended to it. No safety car was deployed for political reasons. I still cannot believe that.

    • ….and the double yellow flags were not slowing the drivers down to be “prepared to stop”.

      Lewis said words to the effect of – it was the closest shave he’d had yet…

      • Yes and the spin Charlie put on in explanation only served to muddy the waters, extremely.

    • Sutils car was parked on the blind side of the final turn for over 4 minutes, approximately 2.5 laps, in the closing laps at Hockenheim. Only a local yellow ever flew.
      That should have been the final wake-up call to everyone as to the real purpose of the “safety car”.

    • Is there any consistency that warrants a rulemaking body being permitted to continue?

  9. “It transpires Adrian’s Sauber was a mere 50-55 feet (approx 15 metres) from the edge of the asphalt.

    Worsening pouring rain – light at around 50% brightness of normal – cars travelling at high speed (legally as defined by Whiting’s time/speed regulation for DWYF) – round a corner – incident on outside of the corner being attended to by people on foot and on the slippery grass – damaged car being removed by modified digger????????????”

    Not to forget the symbolically set-up gravel traps! Binachi’s car skid in between the gravel traps like on a ski track…

  10. “Further, why are no big F1 publications calling for an independent inquiry?”

    Way ahead of you, Judge. FIA’s second “move”:
    FIA asks Formula 1 teams for Jules Bianchi crash information
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/116364

    With the implication that FIA doesn’t have all the data it needs to assess responsibility in this case, and with the insinuation that teams (wink wink Marussia) may be withholding information. I guess we’re in for a kangaroo court…

    • Cos they depend on the sport for their being would be reasonable?
      Just like reporters who report from attendance depend on the goodwill of the Powers-That-Be for their continued admission.

      As to the rest……Spot On.

  11. “Thankfully, whatever deals were done to allow Marussia to run only one car, they have not felt the need to be gagged.”

    I wouldn’t buy too much into Marussia’s pious, doggy eyes. We still have no data on María de Villota’s crash in remarkably similar circumstances. No speed info, no circumstances, no independent investigation, no FIA safety-related improvements, no nothing really. Just a good old sweep under the rug, with responsibility diffused towards no one.

    And, BTW, if we’re into bean counting F1 driver fatalities post-Senna, it most certainly is María de Villota. As an F1 *driver*, she participated in an F1 test in which she crashed in 2012. She succumbed to her injuries in 2013. An F1 driver fatality.

  12. from a f1 purist, to f1 purists. no bullshitting, stating the obvious which is, or rather should be clear for everybody to see. i like that.

    great piece, thank you judge.

  13. I think you’re usually a great read, but this one goes too far. All the statements from Salo, Whiting and Marussia can be simultaneously correct. Clearly it is fact that Bianchi was going very fast when he left the track. The speed of cars under yellows and double waved yellows should have been addressed before, not for the safety of drivers, but for the safety of marshals. The marshals’ union is significantly less powerful than the GPDA. If the drivers had wanted to address this any time in the last 30 years, I’m sure, or maybe I just hope, the FIA would have addresses the issue. The obvious accident I remember is Fernando at Brazil ’03, but there have been many others. The nature of F1 means rules need to be very well thought through, because whatever you do, both teams and drivers will push those rules to gain even 0.001 second advantage. It is all far too easy to shout after an accident, many people have been doing. The most stupid comments I read suggested removing cars by helicopter! Can you imagine the bloodbath?! We are not expecting good news from Japan, but we are praying for some. It is all very sad, but it was an accident.

  14. I’ve been watching Formula 1 for decades and the procedures surrounding the recovery of Sutil’s car were nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t recall hearing you (or really anyone else) calling things to be changed BEFORE this incident. Yet here you are assailing Charlie and the FIA because they SHOULD have known. I’m no fan of the FIA or FOM but they’re not to blame for everything (just most things).

    Hindsight is 20/20 but it’s also a lousy basis for complaints about the way something should have been handled.

    • …. Appreciate your opinion OpenTrackRacer…

      And if the recovery element of Sutil’s car is has been done a number of times before – then we are most fortunate we have not had a disater much sooner…. Something Brundle has asserted.

      however, the line being pushed from certain quarters within F1 – “shit happens” is nonsense….. A health and safety disaster in “corporate world” requires an understanding of who was culpable – to ensure that person/people are not incompetent, and so lessons can be learned.

      This was no unfortunate accident as you are being led to believe. There were serious political machinations taking place behind the scenes and the race was to be run regardless of what weather had turned up, firstly from a desire to posture and prove a point….

      That attitude alone is a likely contributory factor……

    • Brundle 94. always worries on air. Hartstein on podcast “worried about driver behaviour under double yellows for years”. We hadn’t heard it but I’m guessing FIA had been made aware of their concerns. And we have no idea what drivers etc., have said to CW over the years.

      Point is, institutionally speaking there have been warning signs that were missed/ignored over the years. If we know of 2, chances are there were more.

      This is common to all large orgs and appropriate response is to have outside panel review procedures etc and institute reforms. It’s an ongoing process and inevitable. FIA’s current response is inadequate w/r/t the nature of the issue, as it likely has been in the past.

      They may solve a problem, but they won’t learn any lessons the way they are proceeding.

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