FIA president Jean Todt, race director Charlie Whiting, chief medical officer Jean-Charles Piette and medical rescue co-ordinator Ian Roberts held a press conference in which they discussed preliminary findings from their investigation into the Jules Bianchi crash at the Japanese Grand Prix. According to race director, Charlie Whiting, the data they have reviewed from all cars shows:
“A lot of cars came through the double waved yellow sector. There were some that didn’t slow down much and there were some that slowed down a lot. I don’t think we need to go into the details of how much he slowed down compared to others, suffice that we do have that data and he did slow down but it’s a matter of degree.”
Charlie says he knows what speed bianchi left the track and has data from all the cars. He also believes that the Safety Car deployment or lack thereof was the standard protocol for Adrian Sutil’s incident:
“We put double waved yellows out because we felt the incident could be dealt with without using the safety car.
“The next stage up is a safety car but, because the car was well away from the track and against the tyres, it is the normal procedure for us to follow under those circumstances. We didn’t see any need for a safety car.”
It also has been questioned about the length of time it took to scramble the Medical Car to attend to Binachi and Whiting says that the camera angle did not show a second car at the scene but when they reviewed another camera angle, it was clear there was a second car. He reckons it took approximately 20 seconds to assess the situation and release the Medical Car and staff.
As for transporting Bianchi via ambulance instead of helicopter, it seems the trouble was that the helicopter could take off but couldn’t land at the hospital. The ambulance ride added seven minutes to the act of transporting Bianchi and Whiting says that he was monitored very closely and arrived in the same physiological state that he left the circuit in.
Regardless of the findings, the FIA are also looking very closely at possible safety measures to correct what, arguably, is the elephant in the room—drivers not slowing enough under double-yellow flags.
The FIA announced they were considering a FIA controlled engine limiter—similar to a rev limiter for pit lane—that the organization could activate in yellow-flag zones that would force cars to slow to the desired speed for safety.
The FIA seem to be attempting to stay out ahead of this issue as the immediate reaction was one of invective toward the regulatory body. The release of information does not implicate but clearly suggests that the double-waved flags need a serious re-consideration as the act of “slowing” down may have become relative to each driver and not a exact MPH to be adhered to.