WHO'S TO BLAME? Marussia team officials speak in front of their pit after driver Jules Bianchi crashed and was seriously injured during the Japanese GP in Suzuka on October 5, 2014. Image: AFP / Toshifumi Kitamura
SUZUKA, Japan - Jules Bianchi's crash during Sunday's 2014 Japanese Formula 1 GP has raised questions about whether the race should have been started earlier to beat deteriorating weather.
The French driver is in hospital with a severe head injury sustained when his Marussia slid off a track drenched by rain brought in by the approaching Typhoon Phanfone and hit a recovery tractor that was moving the Sauber of Adrian Sutil that had slid off in the same place a lap earlier.
WHEELS24 READERS HAVE THEIR SAY
South African race driver and motorsport figure Gary Formato says: In full agreement with your last two paragraphs. It has to be like the American racing where the track is immediately under yellow in a situation like this. In this day and age Bianchi's crash is unacceptable.
Scott Kelly says: Whatever and whoever may be to blame for this bizarre accident, my thoughts and hopes are that this young man makes a full and speedy recovery.
Daniel Mpande says: One's thoughts and hopes can only go out to him but it really was a freak accident. The recovery vehicle got stuck; Jules Bianchi then crashes while the safety car is out, and in the same spot. What are the probabilities of all those things happening at once?
Chris Jounert says: TV schedules rule, I'm afraid., but was there a yellow flag out at the point of the Sutil crash while the recovery tractor was in a dangerous position? If yes, Bianchi may not have been cautious enough (Wheels24: Our latest report says a double yellow was being waved.)
DS Bennie says: No, the fault is on the organisers as no safety car was sent out before Bianchi crashed. They knew there was deep water on that part of the track that caused Sutil to spin and yet still did not put the car out to prevent further accidents.
It had nothing to do with TV schedules, the decision not to start earlier was taken by the Japanese association as it would mean many fans who had tickets would not have arrived at the track on time, it had nothing to do with the TV schedules as they have been changed in the past without a problem.
Amanda Siebrits says: I had this sickening feeling in my stomach and had flashbacks to Imola 1994 when Senna had his accident and died, maybe not the same circumstances but it felt like the same result and this beautiful young kid is most probably going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life. I don't get this thing of putting people's lives at risk to satisfy a crowd and TV broadcasting rights and the deep-pocket advertisers.
I get that F1 is a dangerous sport but when you push the limits to make it even more dangerous, it's on the International Automobile Federation and Charlie Whiting - you have to wake up.
Patrick Zimba Mawire says: The recovery of Sutil's car just took too long. There was a run-off just next to where Sutil's car was parked. The recovery team needs to learn from teams at Monaco, for example, who recover cars within a few minutes.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
It looked as if they were just fumbling. A race that was run on intermediates (tyres) couldn't have been that wet. The teams had the option to switch to full wets, as some did.