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Bianchi crash forcing F1 to change

2014-11-06 07:42

STILL IN CRITICAL CONDITION: Jules Bianchi waves to fans before his horrific crash at the 2014 Japanese GP. Image: AP / Shizuo Kambay

PARIS, France - In the month that Jules Bianchi has battled for his life after crashing into a recovery truck at the 2014 Japanese GP, his Marussia team has gone under administration and Formula 1 has agonised over race safety.

Bianch is still in a hospital at Yokkaichi near Suzuka in a "critical but stable" condition and unaware of the mounting controversy since his October 5 crash.

Bianchi's father Philippe, in a rare public comment, said his son was "in a desperate state".


Having suffered a traumatic brain injury when his car smashed under the truck at an estimated 200km/h, Bianchi could stay in this condition for months.

Marussia may not exist when any change comes. The team has gone under financial administration as it struggles to find the money to keep racing.

VIDEO: Jules Bianchi crash at Suzuka

The Bianchi family, meanwhile, is still hoping that their "fighter" son will improve.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Bianchi could be moved to the hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, where F1 ace Michael Schumacher was treated after his skiing fall in December 2013.

Another former F1 champion, Emerson Fittipaldi, is part of a high-level International Automobile Federation panel that will recommend new safety measures before a December 3 meeting of the governing body.

Philippe Bianchi has talked of a "traffic accident" rather than a racing crash.


Bianchi's car went off a track made treacherous by rain as the mobile crane was lifting Adrian Sutil's Sauber off the track - it had crashed in the same place a lap earlier. A few seconds earlier and Bianchi could have hit track marshals.

The final federation report on the accident is likely to spread the blame. F1 observers have highlighted three possible reasons that contributed to the Bianchi crash.

He may have been going too fast for the wet track, his intermediate tyres were due for a change in the rain, focus has been put on whether the marshals should have halted the race after Sutil left the track.

Yellow warning flags were up but the racing was still intense.

Nobody has blamed Bianchi for his speed. According to the federation, he did decelerate but it has not given details of how fast he was going.

"Some cars slowed down more than others. Jules did slow down, it's a matter of degree," race director Charlie Whiting said after the crash.

The federation tested a "virtual safety car" at the 2014 US GP on November 2. In the event of a crash, drivers will have to keep to a speed about 35% slower than that of dry laps. They will have displays in their cars and face penalties if they breach the limit.

A new version will be tried at the 2014 Brazilian GP weekend from November 7-9.

Many drivers and experts say there were exceptional circumstances at Suzuka on October 5 and exceptional answers were needed. Double F1 champion Fernando Alonso has called for tests on closed cockpits; they have been rejected in the past because teams said they made cars look too ugly. The Williams team has also backed the call.

Williams driver Felipe Massa, who survived a head injury caused by an airborne spring from another car during the 2009 Hungarian GP, said the cockpits should be tested. "Definitely, for my accident, it would have been perfect. For Jules - I don't know."

While F1 waits for news of Bianchi, the racing circus is heading for major changes.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Brazilian F1 GP weekend.

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