Sunday, 5 October 2014

Japanese GP

Ok, At the time of writing this, Jules Bianchi is in hospital undergoing emergency surgery after colliding with a recovery vehicle. The tractor had come on to remove Sutils car from the barrier on the outside of the Dunlop curve. It’s a fast uphill left hand corner that goes on and on, the exit is blind and even in the dry pretty tricky.  
The reports are that as the tractor was lifting Sutils car back behind the tyre wall, Bianchi lost control, spinning the car under the rear of the tractor, which suggest there was no impact structure to bear the brunt of the crash, the first thing to hit was probably Jules’s head. I don’t even want to imagine what that must have done.  

It’s never easy to know what to write in these circumstances, I'm old enough to remember the years when you could expect at least one driver to be lost due to an accident on or off the track, it was almost expected. But the 80’s saw the introduction of more and more safety features for the cars, drivers and the tracks. Accidents because less frequent and we though the bad days were gone. Then Senna died and the safety efforts we increased again, some said to the detriment to the sport that things were being sanitised and the danger was missing. But then Kubica crashed horrifically at high speed in Canada, the car disintegrating down the wall in a shower of carbon fibre and engine bits. Amazingly Kubica all but walked away and everyone congratulated the rule makers for making things safe again. Lessons seemed to have been learnt.
But it seems as though whatever the rule makers do, the drivers head is always going to be vulnerable, Massa was lucky to be alive after hitting a spring that had fallen of Barrichello’s Brawn during qualifying in Hungary in 2009. Tethers were introduced to stop stray wheels bouncing around the open cockpits. Higher sides with deformable crash structure padding were added to stop heads bouncing from side to side and HANS devices made mandatory to stop heads being slammed into the steering wheels.
It looks like Jules was just in the wrong place at the wrong time; I just hope he will be return to F1

So there was a race, Hamilton survived his own crash on Saturday morning but couldn’t beat his team mate to pole in the dry.
The race on Sunday started in the wet behind a safety car, we got 2 laps before they brought everyone in to wait for the rain to stop. When they restarted behind the safety car half an hour later we got a hatful of laps as the track dried before the racing started.
Rosberg scampered off, but burnt his tyres out as Lewis pegged him back and passed with ease and then never looked back.  Button looked like he could get a podium, but the Redbulls with their wet set up were able to haul him in a Vettel got to follow the Merc boys for a change.

Then Sutil lost it and Bianchi followed a lap later, this brought out the safety car and eventually the red flag as the extent of Bianchi accident became clear.  As the cars parked up and the drivers were told of the reason why, no one wanted to celebrate the race. They were wet, cold and one of their own was being rushed to hospital. Some things are more important than champagne and points.

Hamilton wins and made it look effortless

Rosberg was second and was well beaten

Vettel was third after Redbull set the car up for a very wet race. – I’ll talk about his move to Ferrari later.

Ricciardo was fourth and unlucky, he pitted for new tyres just before the safety car and lost his place to Vettel when they counted back one lap.

Button fifth always goes well in changeable conditions. He made Riccy work his points with a feisty drive.

Bottas was sixth and was clearly struggling with a Willimas lacking downforce.
Massa was seventh and had the same problem as Bottas

Hulkenberg is classified eighth even though he’s stopped at pit exit. I think he was in the pit box when they took the lap before the red flag so get to keep his finish.

Vergne irate in ninth with his team for promoting Kvyat to the A team when he’s got more points than the Russian and out qualified him.

Perez was tenth.

Kobayashi was the last  driver to finish.

Sorry it’s a bit short and sombre this week, I’ll talk about Alonso’s future, Vettels move to Ferrari and Kvyats promotion next week, for now let’s just hope Bianchi is going to be alright. The FIA just put out a press release to say;

“Suzuka, October 5th
- On lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of Turn 7. The marshals displayed double waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was despatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guardrail. While this was being done the driver of car 17, Jules Bianchi, lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.
Once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were despatched and the Safety Car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and an ambulance.
The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital.
The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.

Mie General Hospital will issue an update as soon as further information becomes available.”

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