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Formula 1 to impose auto speed limits?

2014-10-10 20:16

SLOW DOWN: Marussia driver Jules Bianchi drives ahead of Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi during the 2014 Japanese GP before his horrific crash. Image: AFP / Toru Yamanaka

SOCHI, Russia - Speed restrictions could be introduced in certain dangerous situations during Formula 1 races following the crash which has left Marussia driver Jules Bianchi in a critical condition in intensive care.

F1's race director Charlie Whiting said in Sochi on Friday (Oct 10): "It's probably better to take the decision to slow speed away from the drivers."

The International Motorsport Federation will be talking to team leaders on Saturday (Oct 11) about possible measures as a result of the Bianchi crash at the previous Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

An internal investigation into the crash showed that not all drivers slowed down at the same rate at the point on the Suzuka track where double yellow flags - a warning for drivers to slow and be prepared to stop - had been waved.

SPEED LIMITS

Whiting said speed limits, which could be imposed by remote control, were "highly unlikely" to be introduced at Sunday's Russian GP in Sochi. He added there were so many systems integrated into the cars that it would be difficult to ensure that all cars functioned properly.

Whiting said: "General safety changes such as new guidelines on removing stricken cars from the circuit would probably be introduced from the 2015 season. Any salvage operations in Sunday's race on Sochi's winter Olympic park circuit will, however, be carried out with extreme caution."

Research will meanwhile continue into the idea of having a closed cockpit to protect drivers.

A provisional report into the Bianchi accident has been presented to federation president Jean Todt and will be considered by a committee of experts which is expected to make recommendations on safety improvements.

CORRECT PROCEDURE

Whiting said all procedures in Suzuka had been followed correctly and that marshals were correct in waving a green flag seconds before Bianchi's accident.

A green flag - to give the all-clear after prohibitions imposed by yellow flags are lifted - was waved after the tractor removing the Sauber of Adrian Sutil had gone behind a safety line, he said.

Bianchi's Marussia then left the track and collided at speed with the tractor that was lifting Adrian Sutil's Sauber clear at trackside.

Bianchi, 25, remains in a critical but stable condition in the Mie University Hospital in Yokkaichi, near Suzuka in Japan.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Russian GP this weekend.
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