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.
Doubtless 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.
At 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 188.8.131.52 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.
The 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.”