• Bianchi Accident

Bianchi did not slow sufficiently - FIA

ESPN Staff
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Jules Bianchi "did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control" before his accident at the Japanese Grand Prix, according to the FIA.

No fail-safe for Bianchi?

  • F1 cars have a fail-safe system designed to cut the engine when the driver applies the brakes and throttle at the same time, which Bianchi did when he lost control of his car. But Marussia's brake-by-wire was "incompatible" with the fail-safe system, the report found, which "may have affected" the speed at which Bianchi hit the crane.
  • But the report added: "However, it may be that Bianchi was distracted by what was happening and the fact that his front wheels had locked, and been unable to steer the car such that it missed the crane."

Bianchi was left with severe head injuries after sliding off a wet track and colliding with a recovery vehicle while double yellows were being waved. An accident panel was set up in the wake of his crash and the 10-man group, which included two-time champion Emerson Fittipaldi and ex-Ferrari and Mercedes boss Ross Brawn, published a summary of its 396-page report after the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) met in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday.

The panel concluded: "If drivers adhere to the requirements of double yellow flags, as set out in Appendix H, Art., then neither competitors nor officials should be put in immediate or physical danger." It confirmed Bianchi hit the crane, which was removing Adrian Sutil's stricken car from the side of the race track, at 126km/h.

After the race there were questions about why a safety car had not been deployed, but the panel said that, without the benefit of hindsight, the actions taken following Sutil's accident were consistent with the regulations and the 384 incidents in the last eight years. On the subject of closed cockpits, one solution proposed in the wake of Suzuka, the accident panel concluded this would not have lessened the injuries sustained by Bianchi.

The report said: "Bianchi's helmet struck the sloping underside of the crane. The magnitude of the blow and the glancing nature of it caused massive head deceleration and angular acceleration, leading to his severe injuries ... It is not feasible to mitigate the injuries Bianchi suffered by either enclosing the driver's cockpit, or fitting skirts to the crane. Neither approach is practical due to the very large forces involved in the accident between a 700kg car striking a 6500kg crane at a speed of 126km/h.

"There is simply insufficient impact structure on a F1 car to absorb the energy of such an impact without either destroying the driver's survival cell, or generating non-survivable decelerations. It is considered fundamentally wrong to try and make an impact between a racing car and a large and heavy vehicle survivable. It is imperative to prevent a car ever hitting the crane and/or the marshals working near it."

The rain in Suzuka delayed the start of the race and meant it ended in darkening conditions. The panel has put forward a new four-hour rule, which would ensure the start of a race would not be within four hours of dusk or sunset - except in the case of night races run under floodlights.

The WMSC also confirmed the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) will be implemented for 2015 for caution situations which do not warrant a full safety car period. The report recommended yellow flag speed limits be rolled out across all forms of international circuit racing.

Bianchi remains in a French hospital following the serious head injuries he sustained in the crash.

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