Bianchi 'did not slow sufficiently' claims report

Jules Bianchi failed to slow sufficiently for the conditions which not only included a wet racing surface but also the double waved yellow flags as a result of an earlier incident involving Adrian Sutil, claims a report into the Frenchman's accident by the FIA.

The 396-page report released on Wednesday and compiled by a 10-man accident panel, found Bianchi was driving to quickly under the presence of yellow flags which, it claims, was sufficient guidance for drivers given the conditions.

"Bianchi did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control at the same point on the track as Sutil," reads a key point in the FIA report.

"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."

The stewards had been criticised for not putting the Safety Car out, but the report also found that such action wasn't necessary under the circumstances.

"The actions taken following Sutil's accident were consistent with the regulations, and their interpretation following 384 incidents in the preceding 8 years. Without the benefit of hindsight, there is no apparent reason why the Safety Car should have been deployed either before or after Sutil's accident," it added.

More detail was also released about Bianchi's accident and the actual impact which has left the 25-year-old hospitalised since.

"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.

"During the two seconds Bianchi's car was leaving the track and traversing the run-off area, he applied both throttle and brake together, using both feet. The FailSafe algorithm is designed to over-ride the throttle and cut the engine, but was inhibited by the Torque Coordinator, which controls the rear Brake-by-Wire system.

"Bianchi's Marussia has a unique design of BBW, which proved to be incompatible with the FailSafe settings," it explained.

"The fact that the FailSafe did not disqualify the engine torque requested by the driver may have affected the impact velocity; it has not been possible to reliably quantify this. However, it may be that Bianchi was distracted by what was happening and the fact that his front wheels had locked, and been unable to steer the car such that it missed the crane."

Recommendations have been made to avoid such accidents, though the panel found it "fundamentally wrong" to try and make collisions between recovery vehicles and F1 cars safe as it would be near impossible.

"It is not feasible to mitigate the injuries Bianchi suffered by either enclosing the driver's cockpit, or fitting skirts to the crane. Neither approach is practical due to the very large forces involved in the accident between a 700kg car striking a 6500kg crane at a speed of 126kph. There is simply insufficient impact structure on a F1 car to absorb the energy of such an impact without either destroying the driver's survival cell, or generating non-survivable decelerations.

"It is considered fundamentally wrong to try and make an impact between a racing car and a large and heavy vehicle survivable. It is imperative to prevent a car ever hitting the crane and/or the marshals working near it."

Such recommendations have been made which the panel hopes will help to avoid a repeat of Bianchi's and similar accidents.

- The Clerk of the Course will impose a speed limit in any section of track where double yellow flags are being displayed.

- A review of safety critical software and measures to check its integrity will take place.

- Guidelines on circuit drainage will be reviewed, to include drainage off access roads.

- It is proposed that a regulation or guideline be established such that the Start time of an event shall not be less than 4 hours before either sunset or dusk, except in the case of night races.

- It is also recommended that the F1 Calendar is reviewed in order to avoid, where possible, races taking place during local rainy seasons.