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Jules Bianchi “serious but stable” 24 hours after surgery on head injury
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Jules Bianchi
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Oct 2014   |  4:37 pm GMT  |  201 comments

Jules Bianchi’s condition was described by an FIA spokesman as “serious but stable” on Monday, following surgery at Mie General Medical Centre, near Suzuka for injuries sustained in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix. Meanwhile an amateur video of the crash has appeared, which shows the full violence of the accident.

“Bianchi is in a serious but stable condition,” FIA’s head of F1 media Matteo Bonciani told reporters at the hospital. “That’s all I can say, and I’m doing this update on Jules’ parents’ behalf.”

Bianchi’s parents, Philippe and Christine, have arrived at the hospital today, where they met with Marussia’s Graeme Lowden and John Booth as well as Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci. Bianchi is a member of the Ferrari Young Driver programme and was being developed with a view to driving for Ferrari one day.

Earlier, Marussia issued a statement saying that “The Marussia F1 Team would like to acknowledge the huge outpouring of support and affection for Jules and the Team at this very difficult time.

“With regard to the communication of information concerning Jules’ medical condition, we will respect, and be guided by, the wishes of the Bianchi family. Together with Jules’ care, they will remain our highest priority. Therefore, we would ask for patience and understanding with regard to further medical updates, which will be communicated in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, where Jules is being treated, when they feel it is appropriate.”

Bianchi aquaplaned off the circuit and crashed into a CAT tractor which was moving the damaged Sauber of Adrian Sutil in the closing stages of Sunday’s race.

An amateur video has emerged this evening on Vimeo which shows the accident clearly. We will not publish it here because it is too distressing. It clearly shows the CAT reversing in the gravel trap, with Sutil’s car suspended from the front, while a marshal walking alongside it on the left, holding the nose down with a cable. The marshal sees Bianchi’s car arriving at speed and jumps backwards. It narrowly misses him and the Marussia violently strikes the rear of the CAT, wiping the air box off the car and lifting the rear of the CAT into the air with the severity of the blow.

The flag marshal on the tower (number 12) above the crash site was waving double yellow flags initially but switches to a green flag while the CAT removal operation was still happening, around 10 seconds before Bianchi comes through. This indicates the end of the zone where drivers have to slow down. The marshal then continues to wave a green flag for around a minute after Bianchi’s accident.

The track leading up to the Sutil crash area will have been subject to double waved yellow caution flags while the operation was carried out.

But the drivers are not reliant only on flags. F1 circuits also have yellow lights on the outside of the circuit and these will have been highly visible in the gloomy light levels. Additionally Bianchi will also have had yellow light in his cockpit on the marshalling system to tell him that there was a danger area ahead. The protocol is that a driver must show that he lifted off on the telemetry. F1 engineers have told this site that drivers generally lift for barely a second in such situations.

There is no mandatory speed a driver must reduce down to under waved yellow flags, unlike behind a safety car which does have a mandatory speed.

One important question the FIA will no doubt already have investigated is what happened with the flag marshalling at that point and they will have sought confirmation that the system was still working for the lights on track and in Bianchi’s cockpit.

Reports from French journalists at the hospital last night that Bianchi was “breathing unaided” have not been confirmed by the hospital, nor by the FIA while other media reports suggest that he is on a respirator. A UK based surgeon with knowledge of this kind of injury and operation told this website that it would be surprising for a patient not to be on a respirator at this point.

Gerard Saillant
Prof Gerard Saillant, the specialist who attended to Michael Schumacher in Grenoble after his head injury while skiing in December, is on his way to Japan. Saillant is president of the FIA Institute and a close associate of Jean Todt, whose son Nicolas is Bianchi’s manager.

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201 comments

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1

I dont know if its allowed but here is some footage of the accident.

https://vine.co/v/OKgBBYZt2Y2/embed

2

Unfortunately, Jules injury is of the devastating kind, similar to the one sustained by Schumacher. Wikipedia has a very clear description of a diffuse axonal injury and it's not encouraging.

3

I have been waiting to see Jules in Ferrai for years. I was quietly hoping this year he would drive next to Alonso instead of Kimi. I was upset when I heard Vettel would take Alonso's seat instead of Jules next year. Now this accident just broken my heart into pieces. Can't explain the feelings in words. I am a life long Schumacher fan & I can't believe that something so unfortunate happened to both of these guys. We might not even see the one of the most promising drivers of the next generation ever in a F1 car. I want answers, FIA seems to have lodged an investigation. Tody personally asked Charlie to investigate the matter. I am sure fans deserve justice. It's just cruel & someone's responsible for this somewhere. Someone needs to be accountable.

4
Tornillo Amarillo

Horrible accident, hope for BIANCHI. Doctors should do a good job now.

James, who is responsible for this accident?

Why there is water accumulated in that point, there is no drainage there?

Is it responsibility of the Suzuka Promoters?

Nobody wanted to take the decision to start the race early because of the typhoon?

Is it FIA fault? Who is the responsible to stop the race in case of aquaplaning danger?

I think if the responsible is rapidly found and he pay for that, it will prevent new accidents like this in the future.

5

Clearly it was an accident as there was no mal-intent.

6
Tornillo Amarillo

It's funny some fans declare it was an "accident" before any investigation... Of course, in name of the Security before any other interest, you have to start the investigation immediately and learn about facts and responsibilities according with current rules.

AFTER investigation, maybe you can conclude it was an accident, not before.

And may be you can change some rules as well.

7

I must dismiss out of hand the above post by @Torillo amarillo.

Additionally, I would condemn those of similar inclination. Formula one racing is inherently dangerous. There is no blame necessary here. There are lessons which will likely be learned, maybe able to be applied in the future, but the ultimate fault is belonging to racing a car on a wet track. Jules/Marussia/FIA/track promoters/weatherman/God/celestialtyphoonorganizers/etc

Is where you can play your sad blame game.

8

Nobody at the scene of the accident, including the guy with the green flag, wanted to cause this accident, so the responsibility lies with those who organised the safety arrangements. Under extreme pressure human beings make mistakes: I am sure they will find the green-flag guy thought he was waving a yellow flag.

If you want to find those responsible, it's the safety rule-makers who did not foresee what now seems obvious -- that heavy machinery with no under-run protection should not be allowed on the circuit.

Unless you're going to stop all racing in wet conditions, or show red flags immediately a car stops on circuit, the circumstances will always exist which will allow a race car to collide with a recovery vehicle.

Solution: from now on only recovery vehicles with energy absorbent under-run protection devices fitted round the whole vehicle should be permitted on the circuit under yellow flags.

9

If your into the business of blame then why not the guy who crashed the car? He lost control under waved yellows and nearly killed someone.

No one is to blame. This is Motorsport. Just because its F1 it is no different. I remember a horse got onto the TT course years ago and killed a solo rider. Who was to blame? Or the year Nearey dropped oil and bill currey and kevin morgan hit it and were both killed.

E=Mc2

Any time you haver mass travelling at speed here will be risk of injury. All the people on here ranting about the FIA or whoever must not watch any thing other than F1 and even then must not have been watching for very long. Motorsport is dangerous and if you do it long enough it will get you.Jules was going to fast for the conditions and lost control.

10

I think it's a little early, and certainly lacking decorum, to be wanting to start the blame game just yet. We're not going to get a definitive answer until investigations are completed and findings made, and that won't be within the next five minutes.

11

Why does there ALWAYS have to be someone responsible...couldn't all reasonable care and action have been taken and it was JUST an accident?

12

It's horrible to say, but Bianchi really may have been lucky, only because the impact could have been so much worse. He hits the tractor with a ton of force, but crucially it's at the rear of the vehicle which almost pushes it to the side. If he had hit the tractor in the centre, there's zero doubt in my mind that it would have been a fatal impact. Thank God as well that the marshals were all unharmed; it's amazing they all escaped, and Sutil too for that matter.

13

I'm not so sure. His head must have hit the bottom of the JCB as the car went underneath it. If he had hit the tractor further forward, then the car would not have gone underneath it. It would be a massive impact, but the crash structures on F1 cars are immensely strong, and importantly his head would probably not have hit anything.

Of course this is all just speculation. The big question for me is why was a green flag waving.

14

A friend of mine was at Suzuka on the pit straight and told me what a fellow spectator at the crash had seen, it sounded horrific and we both thought it was exaggerated. That video proves it wasn't.

I'm praying for a similar result to when Mika Hakkinnen crashed heavily at Adelaide, a full recovery and came back an even better driver.

15

all those drivers and marshals are heroes for what they do. wish all the best to Bianchi.

16

except for green flag guy.

17

It's also available on VIMEO. I won't post the link, but it's there for the moment if you want to see it.

I should advise anyone who does view it is it particularly gruesome, distressing and very graphic. The accident footage on VIMEO happens around the 1.09 mark. Having said that, I watched it not because I'm ghoulish but because it's vital hard evidence as to ascertain what exactly happened.

Also, if you do watch the footage, it's very evident just how close the marshalls came to being either decapitated or even cut in half. At the 1977 South African GP at the original Kyalami, 2 marshalls run onto the pit straight and one of them run straight into the path of Tom Pryce (Shadow). Poor Tom hit the marshall and the marshall's extinguisher hit him clean in the face, which knocked Tom out and ultimately caused his death by massive brain injuries. The marshall was literally ripped apart into two with his intestines and vital organs splattered on the side of the track.

That could have so easily happened here.

Like I said, it's worth watching purely for the evidence it provides which is crucial, but be aware it is extremely harrowing footage.

18

@ lola bido,....yes, you are quite correct. there are worse images on TV nightly.

19

That was like a horror movie. Saw it once and never viewed it again.

20

Brought back a horrible image for me Gaz Boy. As a young boy I was at Kyalami with my Dad in 1977 and saw the incident less than 50 meters from where we were watching.

The marshals name was Frederik Jansen van Vuuren.

21

OH, PLEASE... there is NOTHING "gruesome" about the video/accident.

Zanardi's accident was gruesome, Francois Cevert's accident was gruesome, Helmut Koinigg's accident was gruesome, Tom Pryce's accident was gruesome, Tony Renna's accident testing at Indy was gruesome (caught air, hit fence, survival cell broke apart...you get the picture), as were many others but this was by no means a "gruesome" accident.

Had Bianchi's head been just a few feet or even inches closer to the truck he probably would have been decapitated or scalped . That would have been gruesome. Given the violence of the impact, I can't believe how lucky he is to still be alive. If he's really lucky, he might even pull a Massa and make it back to the grid someday. That is my sincere hope for Jules.

If you haven't seen video of the accident, don't be put off by the over exaggerations. It's very violent but it's not gruesome. I would say it's as violent as Robert Kubica's accident in Montreal or Greg Moore's accident at Fontana.

Most of us here are big boys and girls. We can handle seeing massive crashes. And even for the youngsters...look, I was 14 years old when Gilles Villeneuve died. I cried like a little girl when I saw the accident. I already knew that motor racing was dangerous as hell, but seeing such a violent and fatal accident at that age just drilled it into me even deeper. And Gilles became more of a hero to me, not less.

Now that racing has become so much safer, IMO, teenagers, especially those aspiring to be race car drivers, NEED to see the truly violent accidents over and over so that it gets drilled into their noggins that racing is not a bloody video game, it is still very much serious, dangerous business. And the drivers and riders are still extremely brave and heroic sportsmen - even the "backmarkers".

But forget the kids and let's just be real for a second. This whole Nanny State, new millenium rubbish of blacking out serious but NON gruesome accidents has just gone too far. Serious and unfortunately fatal accidents are a part of racing. They always will be. There is NO good reason not to show them at least once during the telecast. Nobody is saying they have to be shown dozens of times from every possible angle in super slow HD but to not show them once is, IMO, disrespectful to the viewing audience.

Those who can't handle seeing massive racing accidents shouldn't be watching racing.

22

I bit distressing yes, but I didn't find the video gruesome, you cannot actually see Jules injured in any way.

Now the Tom Pryce incident... I watched that maybe a year ago. Seeing the marshal's body flipping through the air is absolutely horrible, and unreal looking. I'll never watch it again.

23

My goodness. We're waiting for a miracle.

24

Sebee at this point that's what we can hope for as fans. What else can we do.

25

Look at that video Charles posted below as well KRB. We're talking cm. But it may be that the nose lifts that CAT out of the way just enough for Jules to clear. So hard to say. I really hope so.

26

KRB, we know so little about type and size of injuries that it's impossible to guess. But no doubt, if that nose doesn't hit that rear right and lift the CAT, the full energy of impact would be helmet area, so that is a bit of blessing perhaps, and a lot of energy is burned off there along with it. Plus again, 700kg hanging on the fork provides a counter balance by shifting the centre of gravity forward. For all the things that go wrong, a few things go right to leave a window of hope for a miracle. My concern lies obviously with brain, but also left eye, spine, etc. HANS saved his life likely, but also prevented compression perhaps when CAT comes down. But again, wet ground would allow that F1 car some give down. I'm hopeful, much more so seeing the video than I was reading just the description. Description sounds brutal. Video looks brutal on first view. But after closer look at the clip, a bit hopeful that some things were to his benefit under the circumstances. We really need a specific detail of injuries to know more at this point. If these are not shared by end of week, then things probably aren't looking good.

27

Watched a video of it, and I can't believe the speed that Bianchi's car arrived at ... that was a far worse crash than Sutil had, during straight green flag conditions. I am actually surprised that Bianchi survived that impact.

His head had to have missed the tractor, right? There's no way he could survive that otherwise.

Praying for a miracle.

28

I think we may just get a miracle in this case.

It looks as if the nose of his car hits the right rear wheel of the CAT. It is this impact that lifts the CAT up. Depending on the timing and how ridgid that nose of the Marrusia was, it may actually have lifted the CAT out of the way so that the impact wasn't really helmet/head onto the rear left of the CAT, but rather a different type of impact or minimized by this lifting action. If the impact was anything else like direct helmet, he wouldn't be alive at that speed and force.

This is a very messy accident, and we don't know the head injuries sustained. But if the timing is right, and it looks it may have been, then the violence of the crash is actually nose impact lifting the CAT up and away from his head. Also, there is a car on the front of the extended loader - this weight likely significantly decreases the speed and force of the CAT on the way down. It looks nasty(and it is), but since we don't know how Jules is injured it's hard to say what's up. I think there appears that miracle may be possible in this case. Fingers crossed for Jules.

29

I wish Bianchi all the best and hope he will have a speedy recovery.

30

Let's all pray from the bottom of hour hearts he recovers fully & we get to see him winning F1 races driving to his potential & soon. No matter what religion or background we all may have, let's just pray.

31

I don't pray but I like your last sentence. We all need more of that generous spirit.

32

Saw the video from a spectator in the stands and is brutal. I hope he survives.

33

Get well soon!

Hope Jules can avoid all these bad consequences of head injuries...

35

That is.... horrifying beyond words. No surprises there was no replay shown on TV. From that view it is much more violent than the other video shows. It's a miracle he wasn't killed outright.

36

Most people are assuming that Jules will be ok now he is in hospital.

Eddie Jordan was going on about him racing again.

From the footage and the medical bulletin I am hoping he will be able to lead a normal life.

37

It would appear from the cameraman in the foreground that it was captured by the cameras at the circuit, at least in some form.

38

A bit grim and in bad taste to have an advertised link to a funeral plan above the video!

39

The green flag is still be waved until about a minute after Bianchi crashes. Surely he must have thought he was waving a yellow.

40

What the heck is going on with the flags??? Charles' video shows marshall post #12 waving double yellow, and then switching to a single green before the collision happens? I don't get why it went green.....

41

@yak - James Palmer managed to answer the question in one sentence of which I understood and replied to quite clearly. Not sure why you needed to spit out a rant about the same thing.

The point is, the system needs to be reviewed if a few meters fore and aft of a fixed point, there is a life threatening danger at hand. Last time I checked, drivers look well ahead while racing, so if there's a green flag ahead, drivers anticipate it's arrival by ramping back up to racing speed. This of course wouldn't be good if said driver then lost control and smashed into the danger in 'the vicinity' of the flag.

I know that rules are written on white paper with black ink, but don't play it off like that tractor should have been there and that another yellow flag wouldn't have helped.

42
Spinodontosaurus

Someone on Reddit made this infographic:

http://imgur.com/iaVdgT8

The green flag is being waved for the section of track after the incident, not the section of track that the incident was on. That will have been covered by a flag post earlier on the circuit.

43

The flag changes to green once the car is moved back past the post. By the time a driver gets to that green flag on track, he's well clear of it all. Unless a driver can suddenly fly off the track 90 degrees to the direction they were heading (which isn't really possible), the green flag is no issue. Drivers shouldn't be seeing the green flag ahead and getting back up to normal racing speed early. The flag isn't saying, "Somewhere in this vicinity, maybe before, maybe after, you can go racing again. We'll leave that up to you." It's saying, "From this point onwards, the track is green." If the previous post was waving the yellows, then it's yellow all the way up to the bloke with the green flag.

Unless the post before was also waving the green flag, Bianchi went off under yellows. He may have ended up right near where the green was being waved, but where he went off was some distance before that.

44

@James Palmer Ah I see, I wasn't aware of the rules regarding flag position relative to the incident. Still seems like quite an ambitiously early green given the imminent dangers. Jules would have seen (or not seen...weather) this green flag from the entry and perhaps decided to push 100%, as opposed to progressing with caution. Especially because the exit is fairly blind from the entry....

45

The recovery vehicle and crew etc. had moved to being in front of the post - the flag is always for the next section, which was now (technically) clear.

I don't think it should have been green, but it within the FIA rules.

46

I guess from his perspective the car was out of the trap and back on the exit road.

What an awfully unlucky accident. If the crew had no been so quick to move the car it wouldn't have happened.

47

Thanks for that James.

Fingers crossed for Jules.

I've been looking in every hour since the race. As a JB fan I am very saddened by this. But hoping and praying for good news

48

This WAS a very serious accident...... http://mirror.ninja/sc60 I even fear for the marshals who where attending to Sutil's car, imagine a few metres left or right and that car would have struck any one of them..... I think if an accident happens on the outside of corners, especially the faster ones, it should mean a safety car. The inside of corners and straights the risk is a lot lower.....I would have thought this was obvious to the FIA.

49

Yes you can throw out the safety car for every single incident, but safety car’s cause safety cars and other incidents (Hockenheim with Alesi’s violent accident in 2000, Jenson’s accident at Monza in 2000), so it’s not automatically going to neutralise the danger.

Double waved yellows where you should be prepared to stop immediately is probably the best solution, but racing drivers will always push, so maybe a target speed as there is when driving to catch up to the safety car is the best solution.

50

I've seen the footage from that spectator on VIMEO, and my goodness, how Bianchi wasn't decapitated I'll never know.

Right, having watched it thoroughly, I think I'm now in a position to give an informed opinion. I've always believed if one car can go off on a corner from aquaplaning, any car can, so trying to recover a crashed car that had already aquaplaned is suicidally dangerous as the same thing could happen when the recovery vehicle and marshalls are on the track. That tractor SHOULD NOT have been allowed onto that corner, and neither should have the marshalls. The SC should have been sent out and THEN Sutil's car could have been towed away after ALL THE CARS had been picked up by the SC.

I know Martin Brundle and David Coulthard have been saying for years recovering vehicles SHOULD NOT be allowed onto track side to recover an aquaplaning car when the race hasn't been neutralised. Sadly they have been proven correct.

51

@ wade parminio...the randomness of events are precisely an integral part of relevance in this particular case. no one knows the finer details at this stage and the rush to judgement without access to a myriad of individual inputs is both foolish and irrational.

i have raised a number,of what i see, as crucial inputs that occurred and subsequently influenced the outcome. until those questions are answered i will refrain from blaming anyone for what happened. it was an accident and like all accidents, needs to be analysed totally before delivering a verdict. this issue is not simplistic when considering the environment under which it occurred.

52

@ kenneth chapman.

It is irrelevant that it was many contributing factors converging at a particular moment. The fact is the tractor should not have been there at all. The tractor is the key factor in the severity of the accident. Either Charlie Whiting was negligent (as he was in Germany with Sutil's car on the main straight) or the track marshalls were reckless cowboys.

53

RE Kenneth: Yes, you make some valid points Kenneth. I do agree it's a very random accident with a confluence of circumstances that contributed to its eventuality.

I think the best thing is for the FIA to view the tape and then make some implementation changes and preventative measures to at least try and minimise the likelihood of this sort of incident from occurring again.

Do you know, when I first went to Silverstone I was issued with a pass that said "BEWARE THAT MOTOR SPORT IS DANGEROUS". You can't unfortunately totally eliminate the danger, but you can try and minimise it.

54

Aveli

You have no idea whether he will recover or not. If his helmet hit the solid steel chassis of the forklift it will not be good news.

Look at Schumacher...head injuries are very serious.

55
kenneth chapman

@ gaz boy......as we have exchanged viewpoints on this unfortunate incident some short while ago i feel as though we could perhaps further the debate now that i, and many others, have had a chance to see some footage.

two salient points emerge that support my theory that the accident was a random occurrence insofar as a host of incidents appeared to converge at a random period. firstly the timing. mere nanoseconds before or after would have changed the outcome dramatically. earlier arrival and the car would have gone down the access road, missing the CAT entirely. a few nanoseconds later and it would have been a head on at such a massive impact that there would certainly have been a fatality. one shudders to think what coiuld've happened if the car had continued on down the access road as well?

secondly, a question that must be addressed, was there any contributary negligence on behalf of bianchi? by that i mean, did he lift substantially or did he ignore the yellow flags at that late stage? the telemetry traces will quantify this aspect but just seeing the speed at which the car was travelling nanoseconds prior to the impact would be of interest.

the third point that comes to my attention were the flags. it was very wet, very dark and very gloomy. an environment definitely not conducive to safe racing. did bianchi see and read them correctly or did he misinterpret them and the locations where they were being displayed?

some people will no doubt see this post as raising some inconvenient points due to the gravity of bianchi's physical well being but those points will need to taken into account when the final analysis is done. if not then it may lead to the wrong conclusions. every one seems to have an opinion but they should not rush to judgement too early without having all the facts at their disposal.

56

I agree with @Gaz Boy 100% I downloaded the video and watched the accident frame by frame just to see what exactly happened. It was gruesome and distressing!! What I saw is, unfortunately it was not the nose of the car that hit the back of the truck. It appeared from the camera advantage point the impact point was about 2 inches below the top of the helmet and it was the impact of the engine intake above the driver that lift the truck up in the air. I could be wrong since the camera man was far away from the location.

Hoping for a miracle. Fingers crossed for Jules.

57

it's an accident. If the stewards were 60s slower or faster in removing sutil's car it wouldn't have ended they way it did. an accident.

i strongly feel bianchi will recover fron this. the design of the car gave him enough protection. he went in at some speed. the tough pointed design of the carbon fibre chassis lifted the jcb right up reducing the severity of the impact he would have otherwise had on his helmet.

59

"Oh my god!" sums it up quite well. I had no idea the impact was that great; the tractor/crane was absolutely rocked as the Marussia hit it. I understand now why the anti-roll hoop was ripped off the car.

Freak accident or accident waiting to happen; it's still amazing he's made it this far after that impact. Here's hoping his recovery is swift and complete.

60

No kidding. Sitting here over lunch hour and literally said rather loud, "Holy hell!" He is a lucky man.

61

What the heck?!? I just watched the amateur fottage of the accident, and there is a green flag waving in the marshal's post right next to the accident!

I thought this corner was under local yellow?????

62

Amazing to still be alive. Horrible crash.

63

Pleased to hear he is stabled. Praying for a full recovery.

64

I've mentioned this before, but thank goodness that Japan is possibly the one and only country that can match the West when it comes to healthcare technology and infrastructure. It's reassuring to know that the Japanese have always been at the forefront of cutting edge technology and techniques when it comes to medical aid, and while nobody could of wished this ghastly accident on anyone, at least it's comforting to know the Japanese medics are first class and have the knowledge and machinery to assist Jules in a speedy recovery.

It's also worth pointing out Bianchi is young and like all racing drivers supremely fit, so hopefully his strength and stamina developed from regular training regimes will help him in his fight back to recovery.

65

@the truth, aussistyle......it's better you start telling the truth, global style. am sure you will comprehend this.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119366/medical-neglect-what-happens-when-parents-and-doctors-disagree

66

What are you going on about mate? France and Japan are equal number ones in the world for neurosurgery, see, if it was to happen its happened to him at one of the best countries plus with Prof Saillant and Ferraris Prof both top class neurosurgeons are going out to look after him, and anyway no matter where it would've happened those 2 Would have been going out to look after him anyway! Japan are happy to look after him with the professors help and direction and the professor said that the medics have done a great job looking after him until thru got there. Sadly there's a 90% chance of him not surviving or being ever conscious again, now that they've actually named his injury, you can look up info on medical journals easily enough, it sounds very dire, if he is one of the lucky 10% to actually wake up from such an injury- let us hope that with youth and fitness on his side, the care of these great medical people, slowly but surely they can work with him the same as they have with Michael Schumacher, as he sounds like he's on the right road to recovery, it takes time but better than making a decision no parent wants to make (sadly switching off or not?), doesn't bear thinking about! Watching a video of the crash, to me it looks like his helmet does get shunted by the JCB and his head snaps dramatically to the right. I'm another that thinks that the green flag is incorrect, yes I appreciate it's telling you the next sector is green to go, but I think it was a little bit too soon as it was not passed the crash site, it was directly above it, not passed it! Hoping for a miracle! #ForzaJules #ForzaSchumi

67

whether bianchi recovers or not has nothing to do with which country the accident occured but everything to do with the competence of the team treating him and their competence is not determined by their nationality. get it?

68

@the truth, aussie style....a better resolution doesn't provide a better analysis of spin spin coupling effect nor does it provide a more accurate determination of number of protons or indeed a more accurate determination of functional groups.

i have a feeling bianchi will recover from his injuries not because he is in a Japanese hospital but because the fia has chosen a capable team of medical staff to care for him.

69

redcyan1, you can try to cover up as much as you like. it doesn't mean people do not fail to recover from head injuries in france or japan nor does it mean people don't make complete recovery from such head injuries in other countries regardless of their industrial development.

70

@the truth, aussie style.....a molecular analyst experienced on operating a manual 700mhz machine has a better chance of acquiring skills which would allow her to better analyse and write a more comprehensive report than one operating a fully computerised 900mhz machine with an automated sample preparation mechanism. ask any analyst and they will agree with the above.

prejudice is undesirable.

71

come on the truth, aussie style mate, how could I have insulted any two countries by not being man enough to want to learn about their history? since when was that insulting?

do you remember many people claiming that phanphone was to disrupt the race and packing up for sochi? where did it all end? bianchi's family flew into suzuka on monday, the day fan phone was meant to have introduced herself to suzuka.

many others called for the cars to be made more of a challenge for the drivers, now they're all calling for more safety. like candles in the wind, easily losing focus.

72
The Truth, Aussie style

@aveli

Wow, you just managed to insult two countries at once, now who's being prejudicial? It's certainly not gruesome and its hardly an offensive history between our two nations, perhaps a bit boring but that's all. If your gonna talk so strongly about prejudice being bad don't you think you should practice what you preach? Or is it a case of do what I say, not do what I do with this subject for you?

73

Yes we are all bored of this now

Move on please -Mod

74

@the truth, aussie style, thanks for the advice to learn about brit-aussie history. the truth is mate, i just don't have the stomach for it. I think I'll find it too gruesome and offensive.

75
The Truth, Aussie style

@aveli

Oh, and wouldn't James as a Englishman know whether or not 'pom' is prejudicial better than anyone since the English are the ones that get called 'pom'?

By the way James, love the insight that you and Tom Clarkson give to channel 10's F1 broadcast here in Australia, and I think New Zealand as well; is that right?

76

Prisoner of His Majesty, POHM = POM

77
The Truth, Aussie style

@aveli

Seriously learn your Brit-Aussie history. We call them poms, they call us convicts, but underneath the banter we have a kinship in both blood and culture, we Aussies and Brits. If you call your sibling a name do they cry racial abuse? (rhetoric question. The answer is no)

78

@james the word "Pom" is derogatory.

if you forgot my post which was deleted, I'll remind you. i joked that the race was stopped on lapp 44 because the best driver had that number 44 on his car. it wasn't a repetition of any sort. am enjoying the special attention by the way and wonder why it's so offensive to support a driver.

79

@james, why do you allow the truth, aussie style to use the word "pom" on here and yet you don't allow me to make references to the number 44?

80

Pom is not a term of abuse

The post was deleted not because of the 44 reference but done other reason I can't recall now.

Your posts are closely monitored as they can be repetitive on a single theme...

81
The Truth, Aussie style

@aveli

Since when is it prejudicial to say the Japanese are awesome at tech and science stuff, including medicine? Your giving Gaz boy a hard time for basically saying the same thing too, I mean he's a hardcore pom who loves everything british but even he respects the hell out of the Japanese people. It's like the mention of how great any country or people are means you have to interject and say how India is better. I love being Australian but I'll put my hand up and say the Japanese are better than us at a lot of things, and there work ethic is unparalleled. It's not prejudicial to admire a people dude so stop playing the race card mate.

82

this is prejudicial. let's pray bianchi recovers from his injuries. he is in one hospital in Japan being attended to by one set of medical staff. he is not in all the hospitals in Japan nor is he in all the hospitals in the west. just like f1 drivers medical staff are professionals, some more skilled than other nor matter the level of sophistication of their equipment.

83

Yes, much better than Bahrain, where the best doctors have been executed.

84

i understand you very clearly gaz boy this is that reason am trying to point out to you that that view of yours is prejudicial. after all thousands patients go to india from the uk for medical treatment. a few weeks ago, a couple were arrested and locked up for discharging their own son who was suffering from a Brian tumour. their intention was to take their son to the czech republic for proton therapy to give their son a better chance of survival than the medical care he received in the uk. does that mean the czech republic is a more developed and industrialised economy than the uk?

look within f1 and you can see that Fernandez alonso has scored more points than massa, bottas and vettel. force india has better results than mclaren. has force India a tenth of mclaren's resources? prejudice is an evil disposition. some medical professionals from those nations you classed as industrialy inferior are better skilled than those in the countries you describe as industrially superior. F1 should hold races in any country which meets their criteria.

85

Thing is Aveli, the point I was making is that Japan is a developed industrialised economy with technology and infrastructure that if first class. Over the years grand prix racing has been to countries where there health service is nominally not quite up to western standards. I'm not discrediting them as such, I'm just saying if you're going to have a grand prix it should be in a country with first class medical facilities.

86
The Truth, Aussie style

As my Spectroscopic and Molecular Analysis professor always says "a 900MHz NMR machine is better than an 800MHz NMR machine" so whether some medical practitioners are better than others, I'm still glad Jules is in a hospital in Japan rather than Myanmar, all things being equal. #fancymedicalmachinesmakeadifference #fullrecoveryJules #Ferrari2016driver

87

Good luck wishes go out to Bianchi.

We are all rooting for Bianchi to pull through this tragedy stronger than ever.

Thoughts also go out to the family and friends, wishing them positive energy and strength during these uncertain times.

88

I was discussing this with one of my brokers today, as well as friends at a birthday party yesterday. We all agree that those few still pictures are such a chilling reminder how how dangerous this sport is.- they don't always get out and walk away, though I wish that was the case.

If the power thought and prayer truly can work, then Jules has a world of wishes on his side. If so many people so far removed are still feeling shaken I would hesitate to imagine what those close to him are feeling.

89

Horrid accident and brings up too many bad memories from the past. Thought are with the Bianchi family, I hope he makes as full a recovery as possible.

Thoughts also with the F1 fraternity that have to carry on with business this week.

90

Did anyone watching the race on TV actually see the incident? I'm not sure if the Japanese producer just was focused on other activity at the time; there was a lot going on at the red flag moment; and missed it, or whether my broadcaster in Canada opted to go to commercial after the Sutil off. The first I heard of Bianchi's accident, I think, was from a DC comment after the race had ended, prior to the podium presentations.. I was left wondering, "What's he talking about?" Now I understand a bit more that the accident was quite severe from JA's post but it's easier to understand the lead up to it with a replay of some camera footage.

Also, we missed Nigel's interview with Vettel. Sound transmission cut out as Seb started to speak. What did Seb say? Some of the fans posting this site seem to be rather offended.

91

I heard the Seb comments, they were normal seb but nigel kept cutting him off so the little tweak he uses to turn them in to humour or at least to make them sound less serious kept getting cut short....

Everyone on the podium didn't quite seem themselves understandably.

92

It wasn't shown on Sky, but the seriousness of it was immediately evident to the commentators.

93

The crash was huge,the CAT lifted a good 2ft off the ground as Jules car tumbled along the counter weight. It was at the wrong hieght for the car so the roll over hoop and rear section were totalled. Someone or something was watching over Jules and without going into details at this time its fortunate he is still fighting. The care given at the track in the first moments have probably given him this chance to still fight.

The FOM cut the feed worldwide and imho they did right. The information is scarce but accurate about his condition but as you can guess,in japan everyone has a camera and the full crash has been put out online..pls dont seek this out,if and when any footage is released you can see just how lucky he has been so far, lets hope it holds out for a tad longer

94

The lift of the crane is probably what spared his life

95

@Oddball, I'll take you at your word. I'm quite new around here so have no reason to doubt your report. It sounds like such a dreadful impact, as the few stills I've seen show.

I certainly don't want to see it. I'm no advocate for censorship, but if it is out there, I'd rather it wasn't. I totally agree cutting the feed was the right thing to do.

96

It wasn't shown live and as is general procedure with serious accidents like this no replays are shown. Would have been have been nice if we'd been given some basic information though, I had no idea that anything had happened as Sutil had got out of the car until the medical car was on track, and it wasn't until the red flag had been shown that it became clear Bianchi had been involved in accident.

97

We got up to watch.

The BBC showed the camera on Sutil then when the Medical and Safety Cars came out cut back to the same picture. My working theory is that they cut the main broadcast from that camera at that point due to the nature of the accident.

I hope my theory is correct because IMHO that shows great judgement on behalf of the broadcasters. Contrary to some trollish opinions expressed BTL in a UK Broadsheet earlier today no-one who is a fan is there hoping to see a crash. The brilliance is that despite the speed there are so few.

98

On the broadcast in Canada they said that the FIA had banned any footage of the accident from been shown. Good move on their part. Now that I've seen it, it was too horrible to show.

99

No it wasn't shown, which personally I'm quite happy about. In the shots of the incident response effort it was difficult to see Bianchi's car. It was some time before the UK Sky commentators realised that there was a car other than Sutil's there. Quite possibly the director deliberately chose only long shots because they knew the situation was serious.

Replays of Sutil's crash were shown, might have been after the race though.

100

Hey Graham: There were some twitter feeds around that had pix that weren't on the racing sites...they showed some angles not present elsewhere and really depicted how serious the accident was. I didn't see anything on the Canadian feed either, so I think they just didn't carry it. I'd be interested in what Seb said too!!

101
Mark Raishbrook

The incident wasn't shown on TV. Press conference: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/116179.

102

Saw the video of his crash, I am yet to understand how he survived it. Wish him a full recovery.

103

#Forzajules

Get well soon.

104

i'm in the same "boat"; being on east coast time i have the privilege of fanchis/anglos channels;

no one showed the moment; i watched it on u-tube;

horrible !

hope his youth will conquer !!

105

Just FYI, no broadcaster showed the accident since all live race footage is done and fed out by FOM (dear bernies goldmne) so no matter what broadcaster anyone watched , that footage was not given to any of them. IMO, hard to say if it was due to respecting tastes or the inevitable legal wrangling to come, but either way, at least the outcome was proper

106

I don't want to see it - not even going looking.

The stills I've seen were awful enough and I can make a fair shot at visualising.

An awful shadow over what (to me) was a thrilling race.

107

Its not bad to watch - eg Ratzenbergers crash is far more disturbing

108

Its not bad to watch

109

There's a lot of criticism about running the race at this time but for me the conditions seen yesterday had been seen before without incident. If f1 is a sport which carries on when it rains then I don't think the conditions were exceptionally bad.

For me the criticism here is that yet again the FIA failed to heed the warnings. In this case it was Brundles near miss at the same corner in 96. The same is true for senna, who died at a corner where Berger and Piquet had near misses at in previous years. Had the FIA done more than simply sigh and say wow that was a close one these accidents wouldn't have happen years later. As Enstein said the definition of an idiot is someone who does the same thing over and over and expects different results. The same set of circumstances were bound to occur sooner or later and history was going to repeat itself. It did an Bianchi is in hospital fighting for his life as a result.

110

Motor sport is DANGEROUS!

Did Bianchi slow down enough, should the SC have been deployed earlier.

Hindsight is wonderful.

It's been 22 years since a fatality and people get complacent.

F1 will take lessons from this.

It's ironic that Radio 5 F1 forum did a feature on the medical car and facilities on thursday night!!!

111

Shaker

He obviously aqua planed but why, was he going too fast under a yellow flag or too fast for his worn tyres.

He was going much faster than Sutil.

It is very tragic!

112

Dangerous you say? Oh well let's just crack on shall we. It's an avoidable incident and hopefully Bianchi will survive but if not he knew what he was getting himself into.

Did he slow down enough? Are you kidding me? He was too busy aquaplaning off the circuit, I'm guessing that he didn't have much say in the process of deceleration as he hit the counter weight of the tractor with his head.

113

I don't think your assessment of the FIA's attitude is fair at all. Your comment assumes that there are no other stakeholders in play around driver safety and that is manifestly not true. Arguably Bianchi would not have survived the accident at all had it not been for the measures the FIA, teams, and circuits have implemented since the 90's. In fact, having seen the accident, pre 2003 (HANS device) he would have died on impact - his head struck a 10 ton machine at race speed, its a miracle that he's alive today.

Piquet crashed at Tamburello in 1987 suffering minor injuries, Berger crashed in 1989, was knocked unconscious and suffered burns after being soaked in fuel. Neither of these incidents foreshadowed Senna's crash in any way at all - they happened more than a half a decade before that incident and the injuries sustained would not have merited any serious investigation. It's also worth stating that exactly two F1 drivers have died from Basilar Skull fractures, Senna and Ratzenberger, both at the same race - none before, none since.

Equally Brundle is talking about an accident that occurred in 1994, 363 Grands Prix and 20 years ago. Given there have been around 1000 Grand Prix since 1950 that would suggest the odds of an F1 car hitting a tractor on a circuit are around 1 in 500 races - simply too unlikely of an incident to be able to predict or tackle in a meaningful way.

I should also say that, having seen the video, this would have been a very serious crash even if the tractor had not been present. He appears to have missed the gravel trap and crash barriers entirely and gone straight through the exit gate - where it seems he would have hit a concrete wall at racing speeds had he not struck the tractor.

F1 is dangerous, accidents happen, but that does not mean anyone could have predicted the severity of this crash or Senna's. 'Post hoc ergo propter hoc'.

114

The fact that the FIA has led safety improvements that has mitigated Bianchi's injuries is utterly irrelevant. The FIA has improved a drivers chances of surviving and impact such as that experienced by Bianchi through a series of measures and therefore this exonerates them of any criticism at all.

On what basis didn't the Piquet and Berger incidents foreshadow the senna incident? In both cases cars left the Imola circuit at high speed at roughly the same point leading to a rapid deceleration as the cars struck a concrete wall and resulting in injury to the driver. How did this not foreshadow what happened to Senna? In both previous cases the general consensus was that they were lucky not to have suffered more serious injury. It would therefore seem logical to conclude that your basis for driver safety is relying on luck. Also why is the timeframe relevant? Half a decade, so 5 years, well that changes everything. So the Brundle incident was 20 years ago, and? Same circuit, same type of vehicles and without some measure of luck on Brundles part the same result, but then again you seem to think a reliance on luck, a throw of the dice, beating the odds is acceptable. Oh yes the odds.....

You appear to feel that odds of 1 in 500 of being seriously injured is acceptable. If the odds of you being killed, or at best left severely injured every time you left the house were 500 to 1 you'd never leave the house.

Even if your point about it being an unlikely incident is accepted (which for the record it isn't) then what flawed logic then concludes that it cannot be tackled in a meaningful way? In modern F1 thousands of hours and thousands of euros are spent each season ensuring that circuits are as safe as possible, with high risk areas, particularly immovable hard objects, are suitably protected. Why then does the FIA feel that it's acceptable for their procedures to result in a situation where a tractor is brought onto a circuit in conditions such that the potential for cars to leave the circuit at speed was massively increased (as demonstrated by the fact that the tractor was there to recover the aftermath of such an occurrence). It's not like it hasn't happened before, oh yes but that was 20 years previously so somehow in your mind doesn't count. Double waved yellows don't mean anything if you're aquaplaning to the scene of the accident.

Your suggestion that he'd of gone through the gap in the barrier and hit a wall of he hadn't hit the tractor is utter nonsense

. Basic circuit design means that this can't happen as the gaps are staggered against the direction of travel. An illusion caused by the cameras used to record the event.

Yes motor racing is dangerous, something could be done to prevent it being quite as dangerous as it is but let's not bother. It's like saying telling relatives of a plane crash victim that we didn't bother checking the plane before it took off because flying is dangerous anyway.

Occam's Razor.

115

The green flag is waved AFTER/behind the crash scene. The camera angle is a little bit misdirecting there

116

What a terrible year this has been. First it was Michael Schumacher and now Jules Bianchi. F1 is so safe now that we tend to forget how the environment they race in can still prove fatal. We saw this Massa's freak accident, and now Jules Bianchi. I just hope he makes a full recovery and goes back to racing.

117

Also Andrea de Cesaris was killed in a motorbike accident.

118

Thanks for the updates. I'm, not ghoulish and don't particularly want to see it from morbid curiosity. I just wanted know a bit more of what happened. Now I do. I guess the coverage depends on the driver's reaction in the following moments. E.g. all of following; kubica's horrendous crash at Canada, Schumis double leg breaker at Silverstone, and Webber's backflip were replayed over & over from every possible angle captured by a camera. The difference being that in the 3 cases I sited, the driver showed alert response within the next minute or 2.

119

James, clearly that green flag is beyond disturbing. What is the process for F1 to investigate and what might the timefrrame be for more information on this?

120

What is even more disturbing is it is being waved until about a minute after Bianchi's crash never mind Sutil's. The only conclusion I can draw is marshall somehow thought he was waving a yellow.

121

the drivers have the colours of the flags on their bash board.

122

That makes sense Darran. Sutil's accident was after the flag so the marshal waves the yellow in the first few seconds of video and then as loader moves the car back alongside flag post the marshal changes flag to green. Bianchi's accident then happens before the flag post as said and the previous post was most likely waving yellow.

123

Ive seen a lot of confusion all over the Internet about that green flag.... That particular marshals post is situated AFTER the accident as the cars go round the track and signals the end of the yellow zone. (the yellow would've been waving at the preceding post) It's completely normal and requires no investigation!

124

First, jamesallenf1 is the first media outlet I've seen to even mention the GREEN flag (despite Mosley going on about double-waved yellows and casting aspersions that Bianchi had contributed to his misfortunate). Secondly...

> The flag marshal on the tower above the crash site was waving a green flag while the CAT removal operation was happening. This indicates the end of the zone where drivers have to slow down.

@James Allen: Then why in that same video did the marshal switch to a yellow flag? Then add "SC". This suggests to me that is was not "the end of the zone where drivers have to slow down".

Whatever the rights and wrongs (And Mosley was certainly wrong) there are questions that need asking and answering.

125

Because under a safety car its a full course yellow.

126

I have not seen a video in which the marshal uses a yellow flag. I've seen a short one, where he has only a green flag waving, which he continues to wave after Bianchi's accident

Will look for longer version

127

Ryan is right. That is the correct sequence of events and the marshals followed the normal FIA protocol for flags. No investigation needed.

128

the flags were correctly waved.

129

Does the flag change not coincide with the safety car deployment? This is then standard surely at all stations

130

My best suggestion on the scenario:

The marshals wave flags at the start of the section of track that they are responsible for. If there is any danger on the track before that marshal's tower, he doesn't wave flags for it.

So, this marshal starts off waving double yellows as Sutil's car is in front of the tower.

As the car is wheeled backwards by the crane, it passes the tower so this section is now deemed safe and therefore green flag (hard to see exactly with the perspective of the videos, but that will be my assumption as to why the flags changed - if not it was premature)

Bianchi hits the crane, the danger is still before the marshalling tower, so green is continued to be waved (I'm sure the preceding marshalling tower would still be under double yellows)

Safety Car is deployed after Bianchi's crash, at this point all Marshalling towers switch to a full course yellow and display safety car boards.

131

One might be tempted to think that the guy that runs rapidly toward then up the ladder is screaming at the flag waver - YELLOW YOU FOOL!

132

James, its own VIMEO, but beware its very distressing footage, but it does provide vital televisual evidence as to ascertain exactly what happened.

134
My Dad's Harder Than Yours

Having seen footage of the impact, judging by the damage to the car and the force needed to lift a JCB like that off the ground, I must say it's a mirical Jules was not killed outright.

It's being reported by some sources that he suffered an Acute Subdural Haematoma, thankfully this was operated upon quickly which may well improve his chances of recovery.

The NHS website states that the survival rate for this type of injury is around 80% for those under forty but that the recovery period can be long (over a year is common) and that there is a significant risk of developing physical or mental disability as a result. Although this varies between individual cases based on the severity and site of the Haematoma and the speed of treatment.

My heart goes out to Jules and his family and I hope very much that he makes a full and speedy recovery.

135

When a tractor has a suspended load hanging out the front, the balance point shifts forward and is relatively easy to lift the rear.

136

No it is not easy to lift the rear.

My fork lift can lift 2 tons and the back end is firmly on the ground!!!

If it wasn't it wouldn't be safe to drive around with a load on the front!

137

The fact the tractor was light enough to have lifted is bound to be what spared Jules life. If it didn't jump the car wouldve wedged underneath it

138

Those tractors are very heavy!

It was the speed of the car that caused it to jump and the car on its arm would have helped a little.

I have a fork lift on my farmer and they are VERY solid!!!

139

The thing is .. that tractor is not light. In fact; Bianchi's car hit the hardest/heaviest part of the tractor.

The rear of those things will office have ballast in them in the vicinity of a few hundred kilograms, even a tonne. This is ensure that the vehicle doesn't topple over whilst it lefts a heavy object.

There are so many variables in all this. If maybe he didn't hit the tractor at such a speed, it might not have lifted the way it did. I don't want to think about the consequences of that. Did the stepped nose aid in lifting the tractor? Not sure.

Jules Bianchi is very unlucky to have had that crash - but it could also be said - after viewing the incident - he's very lucky to he wasn't killed instantly.

140

Hi James,

Since a lot of people will inevitably be posting suggestions to improve on situations like this, I just would like to contribute. I don't know if it's plausible or practical but here goes:

Have a specific engine map for yellows and double-yellows. Say 95% engine capacity for yellows and 75% for double yellows. It should be automatically activated on all cars at the same time for the entire lap or activated/deactivated once the affected sector is entered/leaved.

#KeepFightingJules

141

I think the best practice is to use a heavy lift chopper to remove cars like the old A1 series. It's clear that heavy machinery has no place next to a live race track. How many marshals have been killed or badly hurt due to these machines being used for something that they are not designed for.

The cost would not be to high you can hire them in each county so 60 days hire would be a drop in the bucket.

142

Erricson air crane, very safe and reliable, could hold a host of broadcast cameras too..

143

I believe this happens in some formula's around the world, where they have "Purple" Zones. The max speed in that Zone is then limited.

This should be considered asap.

It could also eliminate the need of a Safety Car, or at the very least slow the cars down before a Safety Car can pick up the Leader.

144

+1. Great idea.

145

It's a miracle he's made it this far.

146

It would be interesting to know if a higher nose on the car could have prevented any injury to Bianchi. The low nose seems to have wedged the car under the tractor. Adrian Newey said that the lower noses in the 2014 regs could cause the cars to submarine.

I hope any safety alterations are well thought out and not just a knee jerk reaction.

To me the biggest contributing factor was the fact that Bianchi's car went down a tarmac access road, if there had been gravel there the car might have been traveling slow enough to avoid hitting the tractor.

My thoughts are with Bianchi right now, all Formula 1drivers are my hero's and its so upsetting when any of them are hurt.

147

Gravel traps are an equally blessed and cursed thing.

Banked gravel deep enough to really slow a car, can cause the cars to go airborne (witnessed this in TVR races), in a flipped crash they can apply enough force to the neck to break it or cause other injuries as both the roll hoop and the helmet embed in the trap.

Flat traps don't slow the car enough to make a meaningful difference to the impact.

The list is pretty endless. Basically the prevailing wisdom is wide run off areas, high friction paint, and deeper barriers expose the drivers to less risk in a crash.

148

the lower nose lifted the tractor reducing the severity of the impact on his helmet.

149

Hello James,

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of marshal posts and their flagging responsibilities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racing_flags#Yellow_flag

"In Formula One racing, a yellow flag displayed at the starter's stand or a marshal station indicates that there is a hazard downstream of the station. The manner of display depends on the location of the hazard:"

The marshal being vilified is completely correct to be waving the green flag when he is because the incident is "behind" his post. The track onwards, from the point of the post, is cleared of the incident and there is no hazard downstream of the station. When "flagging" as a marshal and being responsible for waving yellows you are often not even looking behind you because the only area you're concerned with is "downstream of the station". Whether you are aware of what's behind you is either because you're also manning the other flag duties (green and blue flags) or are just being unnecessarily alert.

I think bringing this point up in your post is causing a lot of misdirected anger in the comments section and is unfairly criticizing the flag marshal in question when he has continued to perform his duties admirably, in spite of no doubt witnessing and realising the consequences of such an awful accident.

Note: the marshal post responds to incidents within its area (i.e. whoever is closest) and not just downstream - so although the marshals from that post are the ones dealing with the incident this does not necessarily mean the flag will relate to the activity of those marshals.

Finally, to the commentator asking about the yellow flag and the SC board - whenever the safety car is deployed ALL marshal posts around the track immediately swap whatever they were flagging to show one waved yellow and the SC board. Again, the flag marshal at this post was spot on in his work.

#ForzaJules

150

Great post. Thank you for clarifying Matthew.

151

Fully agree with you Matthew - in fact the Sutil car is "past" flag point 12 when the double waved yellows are out; then as the tractor is reversing back to the access road, it moves "before" flag point 12, which required FP12 to display a waved green. Totally correct protocol applied by the marshals. You also need to remember that most of these guys are VOLUNTEERS! Try running a F1 race without them! Also, if you view the footage, you'll notice that there was another marshal between the tractor and the tyre wall (on right of picture) - these guys are just as lucky to be alive!

I think the focus should turn to Charlie Whiting & race control directing those marshals to perform a recovery in such poor conditions under a local yellow. At a minimum the safety car should have been deployed BEFORE Sutil's car was recovered.

My praises go out to those marshals - I know first hand what it's like to deal with those conditions and those freak accidents. Pray you get well soon Jules.

152

I think Matthew has this spot on. It is striking how quick they change from yellow to green (I saw this first hand at Silverstone when Rosberg stopped in front of me) but I guess is you draw a line across the track as soon as the hazard is across that line it becomes green in his sector. The decision will be totally rules based so please blame the rules not the chap who is following them.

153

I don't think you've read the post correctly.

We make the point that the green indicates that front his point on the drivers can push

But note also that the tower 12 marshal is waving double yellows at the start of the clip.

154

Why are people are so certain that Sutil's car (and tractor) were in a vastly different position relative to the marshal tower from the start of the video (yellow flags) to the end (green flag)? It seems like the tractor had only backed up a couple of metres, so if this is the difference between a yellow flag and a green flag, perhaps this system needs to be reviewed.

Surely, the marshal at tower 12 has a much better perspective of the position of the safety vehicles than the marshal at post 11. And because they were still in a position to be hit by a race car, the system should be amended so that marshal 12 can choose to wave yellows to caution approaching drivers that within a few metres either side if the tower, danger lurks.

155

@James - I think @Matthew is entirely correct here. IMO, this part of your article is not appropriate and should be corrected:

"...Strangely the marshal then continues to wave a green flag for around a minute after Bianchi’s accident.

Clearly something went very wrong there at that flag marshalling station."

The marshals in accordance with standard FIA protocol and, I believe, should be praised for their heroic attention to the task at hand despite witnessing the horrific accident.

156

Agreed with Matthew, and will only add the Marshall could not know the severity of Bianchi's injuries but even if he did, it's not for him to show anything other than the correct flag colour for the remaining competitors who were still racing at that point.

157

I'm not a flaggie but, on my understanding of how it works, I agree with Matthew.

Tower 12 was correctly waving Yellows when the incident was on his/her downtrack side and when the Sutil car etc was right in front of the Tower..

When the car was moved uptrack of Tower 12, he/she then correctly changed to Green to indicate that downtrack was now ok.

I would suggest that, in terms of flags, Tower/Position 11 is the one that should be looked at to see what was being waved.

158

A portion of my comment was certainly directed to the commentators rather than just the post. But I would disagree I've misread the post too:

"The flag marshal on the tower (number 12) above the crash site was waving double yellow flags initially but switches to a green flag while the CAT removal operation was still happening, around 10 seconds before Bianchi comes through."

This is the correct action by the flag marshal, double waved yellow because at first Sutil's car was stationed ahead (downstream) from the flag post - the incident has now moved behind (upstream if you like) from the post and therefore the point onwards is now clear to push - so the flag marshal changes to green. I'm not saying your post necessarily implicates this as being wrong at this stage (although it could be inferred), but the comments by others on this point certainly do.

"This indicates the end of the zone where drivers have to slow down. Strangely the marshal then continues to wave a green flag for around a minute after Bianchi’s accident."

I don't understand why this is strange (lots of commentators are incorrectly calling this out too, but it is green because there is no danger beyond the flag post), and disagree that "clearly something went very wrong there at that flag marshalling station" - the actions taken by the flag marshal were perfectly executed (a green flag continues to be waved at post 12 because there would be double waved yellows at post 11). The later change to single waved yellow and safety car board is then typically taken due to a radio call from race control for all marshal posts to display that.

I think it prudent to understand too (as certainly some here may not) that the marshals are volunteers putting their lives at risk for everyone's enjoyment of this sport; as someone else has also stated I think it important that media outlets don't make a scapegoat out of this marshal who has acted appropriately contrary to many of the threads of discussion here.

159

I have seen the accident and have just been watching the race repeat again. You can clearly see the marshal waiving the green flag but in the accident footage the angle is a little misleading. The marshal is clearly past the accident and so is "correct" when waiving the flag. I think its important to say this before a witch hunt begins against this guy, I've already seen some online newspapers seemingly blaming this for the accident.

160

Yes the green flag was past the accident area but still it should have been yellows as it's not like 100 metres or more ahead. So I feel that's not right.

161

I'm holding out all the hope I can he's okay. I've just seen a picture of him being attended to after the incident inside the car. His helmet looks intact and undamaged. I'm hoping this is just a severe concussion. And not some sort of penetrative injury

162

i suspect his helmet may have been violently forced downwards during the impact, causing some sort of compression on his neck. all the dormant safety features on the car helped prevent a worst injuries.

163

The picture here (posted on Jenson button facebook)

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10628203_692400794170344_4237178372786845180_n.jpg?oh=d2f7808f99c5ce08e5a3e433901af488&oe=54B650D6&__gda__=1421678702_05e617ccc58427f3947d9089b205021c

where one of the marshall examies jules after the crash. Looks like his helmet visor is intact without any damage (I may be totally wrong). May be that has helped a bit. but i think it is an encouraging sign. Again i do not know if this picture is real or not.

get well soon Jules

164

Great to see his helmet and visor intact.

The question is how much force a human body/spine can absorb?

Some news outlets report that Bianchi is suffering from internal bleedings - Subdural hematoma? - which are life threatening. The good thing is that his young age and athlete endurance capabilities are increasing his chances of survival.

165

Looking at the unabated speed Jules car was traveling, virtually in a straight line, could he have maybe suffered a stuck throttle ?

166

I have also seen the amateur footage. Lots to think about with F1 going on from this. The removed protective roll hoop structure amongst the more distressing. There certainly seems to be a factor of more speed than present in Sutil's crash. My first thought was that if he aquaplaned off without any other sort of failure or circumstance, his travel path may have been more rotationary, but that is not necessarily the case as Sutil's car after turning approx. 180º stopped rotating before hitting the tyre wall barrier. It's very hard to gain complete perspective on the impact speed difference without intricate measurements of metres per second using the dimensions of the surrounds to factor actual velocity. Telemetry of both Sutil's and Bianchi' cars would be a better guide on this and that has not been made public yet (if ever). In one of the shots from onboard the merc under the previous safety car there appears to be a standing water patch just before this corner. Maybe this patch was on the edge of the racing line and made conditions for aquaplaning much more prevalent.

167

^ My idea is similar to yours, I was thinking now that the FIA have 200m sectors (which they use to see hether drivers slowed down sufficiently in yellow flag zones)) they could use the standard ECU to automatically enforce the pit-lane speed limiter on and around zones of double-waved yellows. How feasible this is, I don't know. It's just in case they didn't want to bring out the safety car every time (which I agree with, but Sutil's car in Hockenheim should have been a safety car every day of the week!).

Just hope Jules makes a speedy recovery... I'm thinking of you

168

The FIA needs to make an effort to gather as much fan-filmed footage of the accident as possible. The way I see it, there are a bunch of lessons to be learned in terms of:

- Using a crane to remove a stricken car instead of driving a piece of construction machinery onto the track. These things are the wrong size and shape for an F1 car in a crash, as was proved in the María de Villota accident. This has been known for decades (take Martin Brundle's account of how he almost died in the same place under similar circumstances in 1994, for example), but we're still using much the same equipment to haul cars off the track. Farm machinery and similar should not be on the same patch of ground as something as low as an F1 car, period.

- What looks like a complete screwup with the flags. As mentioned above, there is no way the marshal in the stand should have been waving a green flag. Bianchi probably saw the green flag flying and got back on it as a result, which might explain the speed he was at when he hit.

- The nature of the crash itself, and whether there are any lessons to be learned in car construction, or to modify all equipment that can be let onto the track so that this cannot happen again. To be honest, I'd reckon the better lesson would be to not have heavy equipment like that on the track, but there you go.

To be honest, I though I was watching a repeat of Imola 1994. The fact that the medical car rolled right away along with the safety car was ominous in itself, and the fact that there was no immediate "he's OK" message was bad. He's really badly injured, but I'm hoping that "stable" in this case means that he has a good chance of recovery. Only time will tell.

As for the crash itself, I'm horrified at the amount of movement that the Marussia imparted on the truck itself. Those things probably weigh in the region of 20 tonnes, and for a 600-odd kilo F1 car to be able to lift and move it as much as it did is a horrible indicator of how big a hit it was. The way the car went under the truck really doesn't bear thinking about, to be honest.

As with Schumacher's accident, Gary Hartstein's blog is worth a read:

http://formerf1doc.wordpress.com/

169

20 tonnes? 6 tonnes more like it. The fact it lifted is what spared his head being scraped off like the rollhoop was. Sorry for the gorey description but that is exactly what would have resulted if the vehicle was 20 tonnes, his speed a tiny bit slower, or the contact path a touch more to the left. Bianchi is extremely lucky.

170

Heavy equipment is really great for removing cars quickly, but not to crash into. Martin Brundle often comments how he hates seeing them out on the track..

171

At the risk of replying prematurely to CDNF1marshal's post (I received an email with its content that apparently isn't live on the site just yet), I take his point about why the green was waved. That's a screwup on my part; I apologise. It's too damn easy to jump to the gun in a horrible situation like this.

First up, he's definitely right that from the perspective of the video, it looked as if marshal's post #12 is pretty level to where the accident occurred, but is actually downstream.

Looking at google maps' view of Suzuka, post #12 is here:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.844354,136.5334913,148m/data=!3m1!1e3

It's easy enough to confirm that this is the correct post as there's a street view of the Suzuka circuit.

According to maps, the distance from the beginning of the gravel trap to the middle of the marshal's post is about 35 feet. The video appears to shows that the back of the truck (a Cat 910H) was roughly level with the edge of the gravel trap at the time the green was waved again.

This particular piece of equipment (when equipped with a bucket on the front) is a little under 18 feet long. Modern F1 cars are about 15 feet long, and about half of the Sauber would have been hanging under the forks at the time of the accident. Even with a marshal on the end of a guy rope to keep the Sauber from flailing about too much, that probably added up to less than 35 feet, therefore the marshal was correct in waving the green flag.

What I still find reprehensible is that equipment like this is allowed to be on the track alongside a 2014 F1 car, and thinking about it, I reckon the new regulations might have made this accident worse than in previous years.

The specs for the loader used as as follows:

http://www.ritchiespecs.com/specification?category=Wheel%20Loader&make=CATERPILLAR&model=910&modelid=91542

It has a ground clearance of 1.3 feet, or 381mm.

In comparison, 2014's rules mandate a maximum nose height of 185mm:

http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/12877/

Basically, unless a car were to hit one of the loader's wheels, the nose will do nothing but go under the loader. The front crash structure is largely irrelevant as the nose cannot hit the loader's chassis and as such cann't impart any of the energy of the crash as it was designed to do.

Adrian Newey warned that the new nose height could cause one car to drive itself under another in an impact. Unfortunately, it looks like the new nose height has also made this worse.

I'm just hoping that Bianchi doesn't pay an even higher price than he already has. The photos of what was left of the car are horrible.

172

As has been stated and explained quite clearly the double yellow and green flags were shown at the correct time in relation to the position of the recovery. The marshal was in fact very professional in continuing to maintain the correct flag protocol during an obviously very distressing incident.

There are a lot of factors that let up to this terrible crash, and like every marshal around the world I hope that Jules pulls through , but witch hunting without the correct information will not help anyone.

173

Having watched the amatuer video I'm amazed Bianchi is alive... he has beaten the odds and survived the inital impact and let's hope he has the strength to overcome his injuries in the next few days. FIA take note- no more tractors etc trackside during a race... I'm sure if Bianchi had hit Sutils car he wouldn't have had such a horrific crash. My thoughts are with Bianchi and his family.

174

James,

How does the safety car get triggered now? I assume that it is entirely at the discretion of the race director.

Given that there are so many possible parameters, does the FIA need to implement an automated/semi-automated system? e.g. A simple computer program that takes in a number of factors and deploys the safety car based on the probability of and the risk associated with an accident occuring in the same area?

It could be that the system merely displays that info and gives Charlie Whiting a recommendation on what action to take. e.g. On this occasion, it would assess the levels of grip, the type of accident, the probability of another accident in the same area, the risk to those attending/fleeing the accident and what are the likely outcomes. I would expect that some software could assess in a split second that all drivers lift for about a second in a yellow zone, cars coming through have a certain velocity and that given the last car aquaplaned and had a heavy impact, now that a tractor is in that area, the next car coming could go off and have a heavy impact in the same area and therefore a safety car is necessary.... just a thought.

also... maybe the recovery vehicles might need to be fitted with cowlings or"Bumpers" to deflect potential impacts

175

As a few have mentioned here about the truck being lifted, is this partly due to the low nose? If so isn't this what Adrian Newey warned against? As I'm sure has been said it was an unfortunate accident with many factors involved.

I wish for Bianchi to have a full and quick recovery!

176
Dominic Musolino

I believe at that corner and those conditions a safety car should have been deployed as soon as the CAT entered the circuit. If one car can go off its possible another could as we saw. Let's hope for a miracle. #forzajules

177

+1 Dom Mus. Happens in Indycar often. Safety first.......................

178

After watching the amateur footage two things are clear, Firstly he's lucky to be alive.

Also, The two TV camera angles covering Dunlop would not have shown the extreme violence of the impact, but it would have shown enough to have the race stopped immediately.

It would have also given the commentators a clue as to what was going on.

My question is, Does Charlie Whiting see what the TV director sees?

If the answer is yes, then he is past his use by date and his actions should be investigated by the FIA.

If he saw the accident happen in real time, then he needs to explain himself.

If the answer is no, then how quickly can the TV people communicate with race control?

So what now?

The way I see it there are only a couple of ways to solve this problem.

Don't allow heavy machinery on track?( not feasible as you can't access everywhere with a crane from behind the barriers), but they could ban tractors from the track in wet weather.

They could also start waving the yellow flags at the 2 or 3 preceding corners to an accident.

Maybe in wet weather they shouldn't rely on flags, use more lights..the type you see on emergency vehicles.

If they have to use flags, how about an orange flag to indicate the seriousness of an incident?...as in don't just lift a bit, back right off immediately.

You can bet your bottom dollar if Bianchi had been killed on impact you would never see a JCB or the like on track again.

179

James:

Would you have posted the video if there was an FIA broadcast replay? It's a horrible crash, but is the availability of only amateur footage enough to not link to it? Would you link to FIA footage of Senna's accident? If we don't see it, doesn't that make it more difficult to appreciate what went wrong and how to change rules to avoid future incidents?

180

The hardest part to watch on the video is the lack of knowledge of what to do after the crash. He just sits there. It's so upsetting.

181

My heart goes out to Jules family and the whole Marussia team. My thoughts are with the Jules peers who have to come together and race again next weekend.

A grim reminder of how dangerous the sport we love is. I've been walking around feeling incredibly hollow since this happened. Right now I couldn't care less about the championship, I honestly don't know if I'm going to watch the race in Russia next week.

Jules recovery is all that matters now

#forzajules

182

Personally that video is gruesome and I hope that this young man will recover(I'm praying for Jules)I am having trouble understanding the stupid comments of Lauda that racing is dangerous is mr Lauda think that the fans are stupid,fans understand that racing is dangerous.The FIA should listen to the drivers,Massa was bang on to call for the race to be called off,but no one will listen to the drivers,because that old fart is who called the shots(Ecclestone)?

183

Horrific crash. I feel sorry for Jules and more so for the recovery personnel. Look at how much struggle the guy goes through before getting Sutil's car on to that crane to be lifted off. These guys face much more danger on track than the drivers.

I think there should be a speed limit posted for a small section before and after yellow flag spots. Just lifting off the throttle is not enough.

184

Saw the clip, wow it was scary. Bianchi's car shot across real fast and the crane was lifted up. Thank God his head did not go below the vehicle. Communication with marshals was not good as the green flag was waving just above the accident area. I'm not a praying man but just had to for Bianchi and hope for a miracle. God Bless.

185

Take a look at Darren Heath's image at the start. It's real dark with his accurate exposure. Reminded me so much of the 2009 race at Sepang but it's even darker. Even though the race at Sepang was not even 75% completed I wasn't even disappointed as there was no major incidents but if you were there you would want the race to be stopped.

Darren's image is the truth of how bad the light was.

http://www.darrenheath.com/2014/2014-japanese-grand-prix

186

I don't mean to be ghoulish, but in the heat of the moment - right after Brundle understood there was another car behing the recovery truck - I just kept wondering why no replays of the incident were being shown. In the past there was always a replay of even the worst crashes with serious consequences.

The FIA always letting us know what happened with the car but rightly avoiding any images of the injured driver or medics in action.

This time though watching the feed there was no way of knowing Bianchi even went off track, with - according to BBC viewers - DC not knowing anything happened to him until the podium ceremony...

Now that I have seen the video, I get that it was not suited for all viewers, and the FIA/FOM may have feared the worst, but the fact that they didn't show Bianchi's car aquaplanning off track - as long as they did not show the crash - seemed like a departure from usual procedure.

At the very least they should have flashed a message explaining there was a serious accident.

You could turn off tv at the red flag not knowing anything happened to Bianchi which is quite disturbing.

I can't think of any situation when a company/organization would not tell its people an accident happened.

There was no official information, only guesswork by the commentators which could be worse than reality.

Again I don't mean my questionning to sound ghoulish, the FIA/FOM had every good intention and this is a relatively non issue considering one's life is in danger.

Like everybody, I hope Bianchi recovers from this.

187

Yes I agree it took a long time for the commentary teams to acknowledge the incident, It was pretty obvious to me that something was afoot, we saw the Marussia garage with the team looking somewhat shocked and also a very glum Graeme Lowdon leaving the pit wall.

The footage we have seen is amateur, I'm not even sure that there is any official FIA footage of the accident from the reverse angle, after all we didn't see Sutil's accident from that angle and I can't recall any during the race.

Forward footage was obviously held back which would have of course shown the tractor 'bouncing' and that would have been quite shocking, one can assume there is also on board footage as well.

I'm heartened by the picture of Jules seemingly untouched helmet and intact visor and wish Jules all the best and a speedy recovery.

188

Jules Bianci is lucky to be alive and I have been praying for him last few nights. His car was doing about 100mph as it went straight under the tractor which was reversing with the Sauber on hook.The Marussia went under the tractor on the right rear that was reversing diagonally back the barriers. His car went under left of centre and sheared the left side of the car off- front to back . The impact jolting the whole tractor up off the ground and forcing it to drop the Sauber.The crash structure/ raised edge around the top of the passenger cell doing its job as it prevented direct impact.

Its wrong for people to start the blame game. Whilst I totally respect the drivers concern for Jules I found it wrong for Felipe to say the conditions were not driveable 5 laps before the incident because most drivers said they were just fine till maybe the lap of Sutil spinning and even then it was mostly just that corner. The only thing I questioned was why the safety car was not deployed when the tractor was but obviously with the escape road just there that may have believed it wasnt necessary. Once investigated they may adjust a few things like this or possible double yellows for the whole track or red flag sooner, but this is of course is only with benefit of hind sight .As Raikkonen said- " is it ever really safe"..

189

The whole thing makes no sense. A car slides off the track, so you put a big crane right in the spot it's most likely another car will slide into. Remember Nurburgring '07?

190

The issue is not the flags or what colour flag was being waved at the time.. ..

The issue should be why is there a 2 tonne track recovery vehicle lifting an F1 car on the outside of a very fast sweeping corner in slippery wet conditions, with track marshalls on the track (like targets waiting to be hit), in anything but a full course safety car situation?

There will be explanations and ways to rationalise the issue, including comments that the officials do a wonrderful job, (yes they do mostly) but that doesn't diminish, nor excuse the absurdity of their decision to send out the recovery vehicle in these circumstances. That is appalling!

192

I'm just speechless. Wasn't the safety car already deployed at that stage to remove Sutil's car and for the deteriorating conditions? Still I'm thankful that Jules is alive after that horrific crash. Hope you make a full and speedy recovery Jules.

193

Just watched the video clip, it's sickening.

James he seems to be traveling a real speed compared to Sutil's accident.

Do you think he eased off for the double yellows?

194

He was going alot faster than Sutil.

Drivers only slow down the bare minimum for yellows otherwise they lose time to other drivers.

When I first started Pro Kart 6 hrs Endurance racing I was told off for going to slowly under yellow flags and to go as fast as I could so as to make up time on others and not lose it.

Sprint racing might have been different but the FIA brought in the rule about have to be slower in that sector with yellows than one's times without as some drivers were setting fastests laps under yellow flags.

195

Just saw the crash on youtube and it is horrific.

196

Just saw the crash on youtube and it is horrific. Music like below that gives me reassurance even in times of sadness and difficulty. God be with Jules and his Family

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9aLhTHmuTg

197

I have been watching F1 for 7 years. I have attended races and I have only missed one live race on TV in the last 7 years.

After watching Bianchi's crash, I can honestly say I felt sick. His car was at one point completely under the rear of the tractor moving Sutils car. This is how the rear of the car was torn off. Also he hit with such force Sutils car dropped back on the ground. I have honestly never seen a machine that heavy be lifted off the ground before.

I wish him all the best but would be very surprised if we see him back in a F1 car ever again, the marshalls are not to blame they were simply following instructions. I believe in the modern day and age we live in and the revenue that F1 turns over that the FIA/FOM should have their own customised safety vehicles (like the SC and MC) which they transport to every track to deal with situations like this. Afterall they are the race organisers and the safety of the drivers is in their hands, so in 2014 why depend on local vehicles when it comes to the safety of the drivers which you are meant to be serving? I think this will be a very dark weekend which will be remembered for a long time and hopefully shapes the future path of a safer operational infrastructure in F1.

198

Just watched footage of crash, can we please have more cranes around circuit

199

"Clearly something went very wrong there at that flag marshalling station."

Nothing was wrong with the flag signals being displayed!

Yellow flags indicate a danger on the track ahead.

the Flag point at Post 12 (seen in the videos) is indicating the status of the track between the exit of Dunlop Curve and Degner 1 (location of Post 13)

The Sauber impacts the tyre wall between Post 12 and Post 13 - therefore Post 12 goes Waved Yellow, Post 13 (Degner 1) will go Waved Green

The snatch vehicle recovers the sauber and reverses uptrack of Post 12, to bring the car behind the gap in the barriers (between post 11 and post 12) - thus Post 12 goes green, and Post 11 at the entry to Dunlop goes Double Waved Yellow. I.E. moved uptrack, giving the drivers more warning of the problem, rather than the yellow sector starting at the incident (when yellows were being waved at Post 12, green at Post 13)

The Lights boxes which also display yellow lights had also been activated in two sectors (as seen on the telemetry data here: http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=30rmgp5&s=8#.VDP4A_ldWar - initially from mid Dunlop curve to Degner 1, followed shortly after by the light the at the entrance to Dunlop curve.

Thus when Bianchi entered Dunlop curve he would have had a yellow light track side, a indicator on his dash and passed the double waved yellow at Post 11.

200

Hi James,

Not to sound morbid, but don't all the cars have onboard cameras? I ask not because I'm desperate to see the footage, but I'm slightly confused about the coverage, policy of showing footage, etc. When Massa had his serious accident, if I recall correctly, the policy of showing footage (including onboard) was very different. Is there an official line on what is/isn't available?

Kris

201
kenneth chapman

@ james....completely OT but once again i'm not receiving inbox notification of post responses? could you possible get one of your henchmen to investigate. thanks

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