Formula 1

FIA report: “Bianchi did not slow sufficiently”

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 2014 Japanese GP

A 396 page report into the Jules Bianchi accident at the Japanese Grand Prix has been presented to the FIA World Motorsport Council and makes several recommendations to be applied to all international circuit racing.

A summary of the report published by the FIA states: “Bianchi did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control at the same point on the track as Sutil.

“If drivers adhere to the requirements of double yellow flags, as set out in Appendix H, Art., then neither competitors nor officials should be put in immediate or physical danger.

“Bianchi over-controlled the oversteering car, such that he left the track earlier than Sutil, and headed towards a point ‘up-stream’ along the barrier. Unfortunately, the mobile crane was in front of this part of the barrier, and he struck and under-ran the rear of it at high speed.”

Seven recommendations have been made by the specially convened Accident Panel tasked with investigating the crash. Included on the 10-member panel were former team principal Ross Brawn, Stefano Domenicali and former drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Alex Wurz.

The panel’s recommendations include the adoption of yellow flag speed limits, a review of track drainage guidelines, a call for Super Licence qualification to incorporate a course on FIA safety procedures, increased testing of wet weather tyres and an overall review into the risks associated with Formula 1.

[Source: FIA | Thanks to Stu for the tip]

Formula 1

Marussia reacts to Bianchi crash allegations

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Apparently there have been reports in the media hinting at negligence from both Jules Bianchi and the Marussia F1 Team in the immediate moments prior to Bianchi’s life-threatening crash.

The allegations are twofold, first that Bianchi did not slow down under the double waved yellow flags where Adrian Sutil’s car was being retrieved and secondly, that Marussia was urging Bianchi to keep going fast in order to keep the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson behind him.

As you might expect Marussia is upset at these claims and reacted by issuing an official statement which it hopes will set the record straight.

“The Marussia F1 Team is shocked and angered by these allegations,” the statement reads. “It is distressed to have to respond to deeply upsetting rumours and inaccuracies in respect of the circumstances of Jules’ accident. However, given that these allegations are entirely false, the team has no alternative but to address these.

“Regarding point 1, Jules did slow down under the double waved yellow flags. That is an irrefutable fact, as proven by the telemetry data, which the team has provided to the FIA.

“Regarding point 2, an audio copy of the full radio transmission between Jules and the team, and also a written transcript thereof, were provided to the FIA. It is quite clear from the transmission and the transcript that at no point during the period leading up to Jules’ accident did the team urge Jules to drive faster or make any comments suggesting that he should do so.”

Late last week Charlie Whiting, FIA F1 race director, gave a media briefing addressing Bianchi’s accident. He covered a number of topics, including the start time of the race, the use of the Safety Car, the actions of the flag marshals and more. Crucially, he also addressed the question of Bianchi’s speed during the double waved yellows.

“I know what speed he left the track at,” Whiting said. “A lot of cars came through the double waved yellow sector, not everyone slowed down as much.

“There were some that didn’t slow down much and some slowed down a lot—and I don’t think we need to go into the detail of how much he slowed down relative to the others.

“Suffice to say, we do have that data. He did slow down and it is a matter of degree.”

You can read Marussia’s full reaction after the break.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2014 Japanese GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Here’s your chance to see what the first three drivers had to say after the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. While F1 is often a world of massive egos and petty bitching it is comforting to see the sport rally behind Jules Bianchi and show universal support and concern for his well being.

Like everyone else, we wish a full and speedy recovery for Jules.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Japanese GP

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton won a rain-affected Japanese Grand Prix yesterday, his third win on end and eighth for the year. But the day will be remembered more for its wet weather and the race-ending crash involving Jules Bianchi.

With heavy rain falling at the scheduled start time the race began behind the Safety Car. With no immediate sign of relief the cars were brought into pit lane on Lap 2 and the race was red flagged. Following a 25 minute delay the race restarted behind the Safety Car, which stayed out until Lap 9. Conditions had improved quite a lot and Rosberg was finally able to lead the field under green flag conditions from pole.

Jenson Button followed the Safety Car into the pits to take a risk by being the first driver to switch from full wets to intermediate tyres. That move paid immediate dividends as the inters proved to be the quicker tyre and all drivers came in for new rubber. This allowed Button to elevate himself up the field to P3 after starting eighth.

The race settled into a rhythm and the Mercedes AMG pair set off building a gap on the rest of the field. Hamilton had better race pace than Rosberg and after almost 20 laps behind his championship rival he was able to maintain grip on his tyres for longer and find his way into the lead.

Red Bull’s decision to sacrifice straight line pace during the sunny qualifying conditions was paying off as both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were able to use their increased downforce and subsequent grip to manufacture some entertaining overtaking moves.

As the race passed Lap 40, the mark needed to be considered for full championship points, rain had been falling for a few minutes and Kevin Magnussen came in for extreme wet tyres. Although, most drivers who did come in for new tyres remained on inters.

Adrian Sutil crashed out at turn 7, which became the precursor for Bianchi’s incident. The race finished four laps later behind the Safety Car with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg heading the field. Ricciardo had moved into P3 ahead of Vettel on track by choosing not to pit for new tyres, but once the race was stopped and positions were taken from the previous full lap Vettel reinherited the final podium position.

Celebrations were understandably subdued on the podium as word of Bianchi’s injury filtered through the paddock. Our thoughts remain with the young Frenchman and the Marussia team. It’s the worst possible build up they could have imagined as F1 prepares for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi next weekend.

Formula 1

Best wishes to Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 2014 Japanese GP

Before we get to our race report from yesterday’s Japanese Grand Prix we want to pass on our thoughts and best wishes to Jules Bianchi, his family and friends, and all at the Marussia F1 Team.

As the rain began to increase towards the end of yesterday’s grand prix, Adrian Sutil crashed into a tyre barrier near turn 7. Under double-waved yellow flags a recovery vehicle was in operation to remove Sutil’s car. While this was happening Bianchi lost control of his car at the same corner, skidded across the run-off area and crashed into the recovery vehicle.

It soon became clear that the incident was serious, the Safety Car sent out and once the ambulance was on track to go to Bianchi’s aid the race was stopped.

Details of Bianchi’s condition are understandably light on detail but we do know that a “CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury”. We also know he has emerged from surgery and there are reports suggesting the 25-year-old is able to breathe unassisted.

The full FIA statement on the Bianchi incident can be read below and further information can be found at the following sources:

Autosport | BBC | | Reuters

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Japanese GP: qualifying report

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg (1:32.506) has qualified on pole for the eighth time this season and will start alongside his Mercedes AMG teammate, Lewis Hamilton (1:32.703), for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at the much loved Suzuka circuit.

The second-row is an all-Williams affair, with Valtteri Bottas (1:33.128) to start from P3 ahead of Felipe Massa (1:33.527). Fernando Alonso (1:33.740) has put his Ferrari on P5 and has Daniel Ricciardo (1:34.075) to his side.

“I’m happy with how we bounced back in qualifying after my mistake yesterday,” Ricciardo said. “I thought we would be better here, but I think sixth is realistically what we could do today. If it rains tomorrow then we should be looking a bit better.”

Daniel’s departing teammate, Sebastian Vettel (1:34.432), could only manage P9. Ahead of the four-time world champ are Kevin Magnussen (1:34.242) in P7, then Jenson Button (1:34.317). Kimi Raikkonen (1:34.548) rounds out the top 10.

Heavy rain is expected for tomorrow’s race and it’s likely to be an entertaining affair. For Australian readers don’t forget the change to daylight savings time tonight. Check your local guides for TV times, it looks like we’re set for some awesome race!

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes AMG claims F1 pit stop record

Mercedes AMG pit crew in action

In an interview with Auto Motor und Sport Ron Meadows from the Mercedes AMG F1 Team claims they broke the record for the fastest ever pit stop. The old mark was set at 2.05 seconds by Red Bull, but Meadows says his team did a routine pit stop in 2.02 seconds during the Japaense Grand Prix.

True, we’re splitting hairs here as the times are so close, but Meadows reckons their record stop wasn’t perfect. “The mechanism of the jack was too slow,” he claimed. “If it had worked properly, the time would have been 1.93 seconds.”

That’s damn fast. However, it seems as though there would still be room for improvement. “In practice we have done a 1.68 second stop,” Meadows added.

For the pedants among you, yes the above pic was taken during the Korean Grand Prix. With Mercedes AMG F1 pics we only have a small sample to choose from compared with other teams.

[Source: World Car Fans]

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2013 Japanese Grand Prix in pictures

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

On the surface Sebastian Vettel’s win at the Japanese Grand Prix looked to be a solid victory crafted with determination and a solid strategy. The conspiracy theorists out there would suggest Red Bull’s decision to keep Vettel on a two-stop strategy, while switching Mark Webber to a three-stopper, was all about providing an opportunity for Seb to forge a win from third place, while harming Mark’s chances of a first win for season 2013.

Certainly, Vettel’s own radio calls late in the race asking the team to keep Mark away from him would lend support to that theory. But former Red Bull driver David Coulthard is having none of that, suggesting if it were true that Mark would be telling the world all about it.

All we can do is wonder what would have happened if Mark was able to bully his way past Romain Grosjean with the effectiveness which Vettel did. Instead, it took Mark seven laps to find a way around the Lotus driver by which time any chance of a challenge to Vettel’s lead had been lost.

Which means our regular F1 pictorial update gives us yet another opportunity to look at that bloody finger!

Formula 1 Lotus Red Bull Racing

2013 Japanese GP: Post-race press conference

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

After missing out on the win at today’s Japanese Grand Prix, Mark Webber explained he started the race on a two-stop strategy, but the team switched him to a three after his first stop.

“I think we tried to race Romain at the start and then in the end we switched to the three,” Mark said. “So I was the meat in the sandwich, trying to beat Romain on a two and then all of a sudden we decided to do a three. I was a little bit surprised. I asked was it the right thing to do because I felt we could get to the lap we were looking to get to.”

Daniel Ricciardo reflected on his drive-through penalty, which he says cost him a points finish. “I am disappointed not to have scored some points today, because I am convinced I was heading for the top ten, which would have been an encouraging result, after struggling with the balance of the car on Saturday,” he said.

“We started on the Hard tyre and after I made a good start to move up two places, it was looking good as I passed Bottas on the track and moved up the order as those on the Medium pitted ahead of me. I was moving up the order again after my first stop and then I made a move on the outside of Sutil at the 130R and got past him. But after that, I ran wide onto the grass, which lost me a bit of time. Sadly, the Stewards decided I had gained an advantage by going off the track and had to take a drive-through penalty, which of course ruined my race.”

The full transcript of the post-race press conference featuring the first three drivers can be read after the break.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Lotus Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Japanese GP

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Japanese GP

Oh how all of Australia wished Mark Webber could convert his pole position into a race win at the Japanese Grand Prix today. Yet, just as Stuart MacGill’s cricketing talent was never fulfilled thanks to the presence of Shane Warne, Webber had to once again watch, seemingly powerless, as his teammate went on to craft another grand prix victory. Mark left to content himself with second place.

Both Red Bull drivers made clumsy starts from the front row and the Lotus lead-driver-in-waiting Romain Grosjean took the opportunity to take the lead into the first corner from P4. In the melee of the start Vettel clipped Lewis Hamilton’s left rear. Hamilton had made a good start too, but his race was ruined after the subsequent puncture and damage to his floor of his Mercedes AMG eventually sent him into retirement.

The rest of the field was left to fight over the scraps as the leading trio got down to the business of winning the race. A mix of strategies—Webber, three stops; Vettel and Grosjean, two stops—meant we spent the bulk of the race waiting for Mark’s final pit stop so we could finally see what would happen next.

Grosjean left himself the longest final stint on his tyres and after Vettel emerged from his final stop behind the Lotus driver his task was to overtake as soon as possible in order to build a lead in anticipation of Webber’s closing pace in the last few laps. True to form Vettel got the job done, forcing his way past Grosjean without losing too much time.

Webber entered the pits in the lead, with the gap back to Vettel closing by the lap. But with a brand new set of prime tyres, and close behind Grosjean, he had 10 laps to overtake the Frenchman and set about chasing down Vettel. What Vettel made look easy, Webber made look hard. He eventually did get past Grosjean, but with just two laps left in the race, the damage was done and Vettel cruised to a seven second victory.

Daniel Ricciardo had an anonymous race and finished in P13, one place behind Jean-Eric Vergne. Daniel’s race was affected after he ran wide on the exit of 130R overtaking Adrian Sutil. The race stewards said he gained an unfair advantage by running off the circuit and issued him with a drive-through penalty. Elsewhere not much else happened.

Today’s win is Vettel’s fifth in a row since the mid-season break and his ninth race win of the year. Fernando Alonso’s fourth place was enough to delay Vettel’s championship party for a couple of weeks until the teams reassemble for the Indian Grand Prix.

Ferrari Formula 1 McLaren

Emerson Fittipaldi on the 1976 Japanese GP

1976 Japanese Grand Prix

Former McLaren F1 driver and 1974 World Champion, Emerson Fittipaldi, gives us a fascinating insight into the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix courtesy of a blog shared on the McLaren website. Of course, the season-ending race at Fuji Speedway has become the focus of mainstream attention thanks to Ron Howard’s F1 movie Rush.

The conditions for that race, the first Formula 1 Grand Prix in Asia, were appalling as Fittipaldi explains:

On race day, though, everything we’d learned over the past few days became irrelevant as the heavens opened. Never before or since, in my entire racing career, have I known rain quite as fierce. The circuit was totally flooded, its flat wide asphalt covered in lakes of sitting water. It was patently unsafe. In those days we used to do a morning warm-up on race day—and the accidents that marred the Fuji warm-up made it very clear that the rain had made the circuit quite undriveable.

Fittipaldi goes on to share his thoughts over the decision to start the race, even though conditions had not improved after a 90-minute delay. He also discusses many other aspects about his F1 career and gives a big vote of confidence to Rush as well. We recommend you take the time to read his words (follow the source link below).

[Source: McLaren]

Formula 1 Honda McLaren

Ayrton Senna 1989: Suzuka lap record in 3D

Ayrton Senna 1989 by Honda

Cast your mind back to late July and we brought you a cool video referencing Ayrton Senna’s lap record posted at Suzuka in 1989 at the wheel of a McLaren MP4/5. Honda is back with a new 3D interpretation of that lap, complete with telemetry and a track map to help you chart progress.

You can see that video after the break. The clip below shows a working screen with widget-like panels spread across the page. If you just want to see the main screen then follow this link. For extra nerdiness, replace the last part of that URL with 02.html through to 11.html and see what you find.

And if you just want to see the full official version of this Ayrton Senna 1989 project by Honda the go to the dedicated website. And when you go to the site click on the 3D View tab and you can see this creation in all its glory. It’s very cool, make sure you check it out.