#F1 Bianchi Redux


Brought to you by TJ13 contributor Mattpt55

Yesterday, as the rest of the F1 world prepared themselves for the eagerly anticipated start of the season in Melbourne, the subject of Jules Bianchi reasserted itself in our minds following an interview granted by Bianchi’s father, Phillippe to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

bianchi 2Doubtless the FIA will be less than pleased about the timing of the interview, stealing the limelight away from politicking drivers and teams and reviving the memories and issues surrounding the tragedy that occurred last October in Suzuka. It remains to be seen whether the FIA resorts to another ham fisted attempt at public relations as occurred when other outspoken critics such as Phillippe Streiff and Dr. Gary Hartstein dared to criticise the administration.

Nevertheless, Mr Bianchi was plainspoken when it came to the family’s view of the events surrounding Jules’ crash whilst confirming a lawyer has indeed been hired by the family:

“We still do not know what we will do, but certainly it was not a normal racing situation,” he said. “If there is someone who is responsible for it, he will have to pay for it, without question.”

Apart from the undeniably catastrophic chain of poor decision making which took place before and during the Japanese GP together with the morally dubious decision by the FIA to shift the blame implicitly to Jules, it is clear that there were multiple failures on that day, both mechanical and procedural.

jb carAt the top of the list is the fact that the ‘FailSafe’ mechanism, intended to override the throttle and cut the engine simply did not work properly on the Marussia, despite the car having passed scrutineering all season long.  It is also impossible to ignore the fact that the FIA were well aware that Marussia were running a unique design of Brake By Wire not used by other teams.

Beyond that TJ13 has been able to confirm that the Pop Up Alert for high G impact also did not function that day, a fact that was missing in the FIA report. The report did though suggest there should be “a review of safety critical software and measures to check its integrity will take place.”

A case of the horse has bolted – gate has since been shut.

TJ13 can also confirm, despite contradictory media statements at the time, that the helicopter was unavailable to transport Bianchi and that his trip to hospital by ambulance took 32 minutes, despite Appendix H section (c) clearly stating that in the event the helicopter was unavailable, transfer time by ambulance to an approved facility may not exceed 20 minutes.

jb2The same regulations go on to state that “If these conditions are not satisfied the timed session must be interrupted”. Clearly that did not happen despite the fact that with Google and a spare 30 seconds anyone can map the route from Suzuka to Mie University (site of the hospital) and see clearly that in a best case scenario – without a tropical typhoon in town – is well outside the window specified by the regulations.

There are those who would attribute the statement of Jules’ father as a typical reaction to the tragedy he has endured. However, the daily reality facing Jules and his family makes it crystal clear that if nothing else, the family themselves deserve a full and transparent explanation of all the events surrounding that terrible day. This should include why the very regulations that might have prevented this accident were not followed by the FIA’s own delegates.

“Jules is still in a coma,” Mr. Bianchi continued. “As long as he does not wake up, the only thing we can do is wait.”

“It takes patience, a lot of patience, but it is difficult to know that at any moment a terrible call could be coming from the hospital. We have to be strong, like Jules and for Jules.”

Phillippe Bianchi concluded, “As long as he is in this state, the doctors cannot say anything. He might wake up or he might not.”


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15 responses to “#F1 Bianchi Redux

  1. Very well said, this ongoing catrasphoe is a disgrace and the FIA of all people and their self publicised work for road safety say nothing. Bring Back Max. That little Napoleonic like (in stature) French fellah is neither a man of opinion or any readily recognisable authority…..

  2. Having read many of the stories of Prof Watkins of old (and Bernie’s support for him, to be fair), I can’t help but think that this race would not have gone ahead (or would have been stopped) when he was still medical chief – purely because of the transport time to the designated hospital.

    I have no idea what, if anything, that would have done to improve poor Jules’ current condition, but on the face of it, that (if nothing else) was a massive failure in process – and it sits at the FIA’s door, I’m afraid.

  3. Yes, their regulations are quite clear and reading over Gary Hartstein’s account of Piette he makes it quite clear at least when Gary was still there they were incredibly serious about having the heli available, to the point of shutting down races if necessary.

  4. Matt – The race shouldn’t have gone forward and the FIA was considering postponing it until later in the day when the typhoon passed. But they didn’t. So there was rain and standing water and an accident that didn’t need to happen.

    • I dont think they could have possibly pushed it later as it was pretty dark at the end of the race.had they pushed the start back even later,all the cars would have needed headlamps.

  5. Jeez, matt, that was a superb piece and well timed too popping up shortly after Gary H updated his world and this mob’s involvement.
    Am pleased to hear Jules father has engaged counsel. He had to, as leaving to Toad and cronies to sort……simply unthinkable.

  6. It’s is patently obvious that the FiA (Charlie W) failed massively on that day. We all know you can’t rely on drivers, or teams for that matter, to take sensible decisions when it comes to the racing. This is why the FiA are supposed to be fully impartial, so they can make the call to stop a race if needs be, regardless of what the drivers say the conditions are on track, mainly because if a driver is going well in the wet he doesn’t want to stop, in the other hand if you have driver who is in a great position, may well want the race to, stop to consolidate that finishing position, we have seen several times in the past that driver described the conditions over the radio as ok to race or undriveable depending on how the race has gone so far.
    There was talk that with a head injury such as Bianchi’s may be exacerbated by flight due to the pressure changes at height, that said, the moment that the chopper couldn’t fly and it would, you would think, be obvious any road journey would take considerably longer too, so the race should have been stopped, well before the the accident occurred.

    I know I’m covering old ground, but Whiting must be quaking in his boots that he may eventually have to shoulder the blame and any punishment that comes with it.

    • I agree. Actually, the race should have been delayed a day, but financial considerations wouldn’t allow that, so everyone pretended the track was OK and hoped it would be OK . . . enough. And it was OK . . .enough . . for everyone but Jules. I know Whiting is supposed to be the Decider, but could he really have red-flagged it to the following day? The list of big money that feeds off the race might actually be the Ultimate Decider. (Hello Bernie? Are you there?)

  7. Fortunately, Not All Sites Have Chickened Out.

    If You Have Not Seen The Footage

    GOOGLE – VIMEO 108126461

    It Is Still Available There.


  8. Philippe Bianchi, who is Jules’ father, has given another interview to the local newspaper, Nice-Matin.

    It is here:

    Philippe says at the end, “Des gens très compétents s’occupent en ce moment de défendre les intérêts de Jules. Si un responsable est désigné un jour, il devra payer.”

    I believe that means they’ve lawyered up.

    Hoping the legal slugfest becomes a public event…

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