FIA investigate Bianchi crash, no jumping to conclusions

A short 48 hours after the violent crash of Marussia driver Jules Bianchi in the Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA says they are investigating all of the details involved in the incident.

“This report is still under elaboration as it concerns the cross-checking of a number of different sources of information,” the FIA told BBC Sport.

“It will aim to be as complete and detailed as possible in order to understand exactly the accident which occurred.”

There are a tremendous amount of details surrounding an incident such as this one and the FIA may be accused of a lot of things but taking driver safety generally isn’t one of them.

While the immediate response from social media has been a vapid quest for hashtag justice, calmer heads are prevailing and the head of the Grand Prix Driver’s Association, Alex Wurz, cautions Formula 1 from making any knee-jerk reactions to sate the rather odd explosion of emotional outrage:

“Obviously, such a terrible accident throws up a lot of questions and opinions,” said Wurz.

“By nature, we all like to have answers, conclusions and solutions as soon as possible.

“All of us drivers understand and also feel the need to investigate and discuss this matter.

“But we shall not jump to conclusions without having all evidence and information, and also having the chance to hear other parties’ point of view.”

Perhaps one of the more collected commentaries comes from former F1 doctor, Gary Hartstein on his blog about how to approach an issue when safety measures are already in place. Do we add new ones or use this as an opportunity to re-visit existing standards that may have lost potency? Gary commented on his blog which can be seen here:

“I’ve been saying since 2010 that flag discipline is deteriorating, and it’s deteriorating fast. And no one is making properly vigorous efforts to re-establish it.”

“The point is that the speed that’s appropriate under double yellows is variable. It’s not a speed limit, it’s a warning. Just ahead you might have nowhere to go. Or, just ahead someone’s uncle, brother, father is pushing one of your colleague’s cars off the circuit (remember the marshal whose legs you broke in Monaco Pastor? When you kept your foot in it through double yellows into Casino? I do).

I bet that the “appropriate” speed through T6-7 Sunday was probably something like 80-100 km/h – something like pit lane speed. Had drivers done that, the absurdity would have rapidly become apparent, and race control would have had little choice but to deploy the SC.

Disrespect for flag discipline is not a minor issue. It kills and injures people. If flags are respected, things get remarkably safer. If these flags had been respected, it is hard to imagine this accident happening, at least with this kind of energy.”

In the end, all things must be considered. Emotional, irrational and pragmatic knee-jerk reactions have rarely proven to be good methodology. F1 has a history of reacting and instituting a few pragmatic regulations that simply make things worse.

There is no logical reason to light the torches, gather the pitchforks and march to the castle to kill the monster and I would echo the comments from Wurz that lessons can be learned from the incident but in due time with all the facts.

Hat Tip: BBC Sport, AUTOSPORT, Gary Hartstein

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