Open Battle
Baku 2018
Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Jules Bianchi “serious but stable” 24 hours after surgery on head injury
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.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
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


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?



“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: – 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.


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


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.


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


Just saw the crash on youtube and it is horrific.


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?


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.


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.


Regarding the flags, here’s one explanation according to one site:


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!


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?


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”..


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)?


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



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.



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?


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.

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


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


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!



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

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!