Words and thoughts from an oddball
Now that the glitz and glamour have arrived at Monaco we should remember that another story broke this weekend. The family of Jules Bianchi has now started legal action against the FIA, Formula One Management and the now defunct Marussia team over his death following his crash in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
The family wants answers (and who can blame them) about the decisions that were made that dreadful Sunday, from the decision to go ahead with the race despite discussions about postponement, to the decisions around the presence of a mobile crane operating at the side of the track.
Bianchi died in July 2015, nine months after the accident in Suzuka which occurred when he lost control and smashed into a mobile crane that had been attempting to recover the previously shunted Sauber of Adrian Sutil.
The official 396-page FIA report, produced by the governing body’s accident panel, came to a number of conclusions with the main reason being that Jules had failed to slow sufficiently on the wet circuit and as he approached the corner where marshals were attempting to remove Sutil’s car under double waved yellow flags, he lost traction and struck the removal vehicle. These few lines don’t do justice to Jules and hide the failings of the track and promoters, but let us hope that the family can get closure from their own findings.
Bianchi’s father Philippe said: “We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son’s crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014. As a family, we have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules’ accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made.”
Julian Chamberlayne, a partner at Stewarts Law, who is representing the Bianchi family has given further reasons for why they have decided to take action:
“Jules Bianchi’s death was avoidable. The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula 1 but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules’ death.
It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules. The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings. This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first. If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today.”
Jules suffered a diffuse axonal injury in the crash and, after being removed from the car, he was taken to hospital in Japan before he was eventually transferred to France, but as we know he lost his fight last year.
He was only 25 years old at the time of his death and had achieved a best F1 result of ninth, which came at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, so this weekend has a special meaning for the family and I have no doubt that the timing of the action was to gain maximum exposure for the sport’s failings.
We don’t wish any harm to come to the drivers or teams from the sport that we all enjoy, and it takes something like this to highlight the failings of safety when it’s coupled with entertainment. They are two opposing forces but above all safety should win hands down.
My thoughts go out to the family and I hope that this action will stop anything like this happening again.