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FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

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FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Mach on Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:06 am

Accident Panel
The following is a summary of the findings of the Accident Panel's examination of the circumstances surrounding Jules Bianchi's crash at the Japanese Grand Prix on 5 October, 2014 in Suzuka.

WED 03.12.14, 4:04PM

On lap 43 of the Japanese GP, Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia in Turn 7, and struck a mobile crane that was recovering Adrian Sutil’s Sauber, which had crashed the lap before. Bianchi suffered life-threatening injuries to his head, and was evacuated to hospital by ambulance.

The weather conditions at the time were rain and a deteriorating track condition, and the section of the track where the accident occurred was subject to double yellow flags, due to Sutil’s crash.

A review of all the evidence and other information about the events leading up to Bianchi’s accident has been carried out by the 10-man Accident Panel, appointed by the FIA. The Panel has issued a 396-page report on their findings with recommendations for improvements, many relevant to all of motorsport. This has been presented to the FIA World Motorsport Council.

Conclusions:

The review of the events leading up to Bianchi’s accident indicate that a number of key issues occurred, which may have contributed to the accident, though none alone caused it:

1. The semi-dry racing line at T 7 was abruptly narrowed by water draining onto the track and flowing downhill along it. Both Sutil, and Bianchi one lap later, lost control at this point in T 7.

2. Sutil’s car was in the process of being recovered by mobile crane when Bianchi approached Sectors 7 and 8, which include the part of T 7 where the recovery was taking place. Sectors 7 and 8 were subject to double yellow flags.

3. Bianchi did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control at the same point on the track as Sutil.

4. If drivers adhere to the requirements of double yellow flags, as set out in Appendix H, Art. 2.4.5.1.b, then neither competitors nor officials should be put in immediate or physical danger.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. During the 2 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.

8. 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.

9. Bianchi’s helmet struck the sloping underside of the crane. The magnitude of the blow and the glancing nature of it caused massive head deceleration and angular acceleration, leading to his severe injuries.

10. All rescue and medical procedures were followed, and their expediency are considered to have contributed significantly to the saving of Bianchi’s life.

11. 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.


Recommendations:
A number of recommendations for improvements have been proposed, relevant in many cases to all of motorsport. They include the following:

1. A new regulation for double yellow flags:

Proposed new Appendix H Article (possibly under 2.4.5.1 b):

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

It is proposed that a Working Group, made up of FIA Race Directors and Stewards should meet and draw up detailed regulations and guidelines for the application of this new regulation, in time to apply it in 2015 across international circuit racing.

2. Safety critical software:

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

3. Track drainage:

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

4. 4-hour Rule:

Article 5.3 of the F1 Sporting Regulations states that:

However, should the race be suspended (see Article 41) the length of the suspension will be added to this period up to a maximum total race time of four hours.

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.

5. Super Licence

It is proposed that drivers acquiring a Super Licence for the first time should undertake a course to familiarise themselves with the procedures used by F1 in running and ensuring the safety of an event.

It is also proposed that new licence holders pass a test to ensure that they are familiar with all the relevant regulations.

6. F1 risk review

Consideration will be given to a review of F1 risk, in order to ascertain whether there are any significant holes in the safety defences, such that an unforeseen combination of circumstances could result in a serious accident.

7. Tyres

It is part of the challenge of a racing driver to drive his car as fast as possible given the track conditions combined with the characteristics of his tyres. Although the characteristics of the wet weather tyres provided by Pirelli did not influence Bianchi’s accident or its outcome in any significant way, it is recommended that provision is made for the tyre supplier to develop and adequately test wet weather tyres between each F1 season, such that it is able to supply the latest developments to the first event.

Composition of the Accident Panel

Presidency

Peter Wright, President of the Safety Commission

Members

Ross Brawn, former Team Principal of Mercedes F1 Team, Brawn Grand Prix and former Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari

Stefano Domenicali, former Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari

Gerd Ennser, Chief Stewards’ representative

Emerson Fittipaldi, President of the FIA Drivers’ Commission, F1 Steward

Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director

Roger Peart, President of the Circuits Commission, President of the ASN of Canada, F1 Steward

Antonio Rigozzi, Advocate, Judge at the International Court of Appeal of the FIA co-opted by the teams

Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute and President of the Medical Commission

Alex Wurz, President of the GPDA, drivers’ representative
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Lawrence on Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:02 am

Thanks.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Sakae on Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:41 am

We can open discussion, despite that there is no much more to say on positive side.

Issue:

3. Bianchi did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control at the same point on the track as Sutil.

Committee's Recommendation:

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.

_________

Comment:

Why was everyone waiting for an accident to happen first, before obvious changes in safety must happen? Assertion of a kind "Bianchi did not slow sufficiently" is a statement of the reason for the outcome, root cause, or just critique of the driver absolving FiA from any and all responsibility? What is "sufficient", quantitatively speaking, in variable and unpredictable conditions anyway? FiA as usually is full of people with various experiences and education, but some of the stuff they come up with leaves fans of the sport gasping for air.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby sinsi on Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:28 pm

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

So the one thing that might have mitigated things was...incompatible? Heads, rolling, etc.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Lawrence on Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:19 pm

sinsi wrote:
Bianchi’s Marussia has a unique design of BBW, which proved to be incompatible with the FailSafe settings.

So the one thing that might have mitigated things was...incompatible? Heads, rolling, etc.


Well, they went out of business.....so it is not like FIA can fine them anymore or ban them from racing.

Probably the most significant thing I noted in this report is that Bianchi put his feet on both the accelerator and brake. Now, I drive much lower tech cars, but these still seems wrong.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Sakae on Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:04 pm

Too many errors all over the place, and I don't think FiA can be morally absolved in this incident. I am continuing to advocate application of track-global cut-off switch (limiter), and local double yellow as back up system. Reasons are numerous, but countermeasures will be applied evenly to all drivers, safely, and effectively. There are another several additional technical and regulatory adjustments required to be implemented on parallel tracks as well.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Lyria on Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:57 am

So in effect they're blaming Bianchi for this, yeah, he's the one person who can't argue about it isn't he?

The virtual safety car which comes into effect next season should help with any luck, no one wants to see a repeat of this kind of thing do they?
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby sinsi on Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:59 pm

Lawrence wrote:Probably the most significant thing I noted in this report is that Bianchi put his feet on both the accelerator and brake. Now, I drive much lower tech cars, but these still seems wrong.


That's the FailSafe system, it's supposed to cut the engine if you jam brakes and accelerator on together.

"The FailSafe algorithm is designed to over-ride the throttle and cut the engine, but [this] was inhibited by the torque coordinator, which controls the rear brake-by-wire system.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Lawrence on Sun Dec 07, 2014 6:49 pm

But has braking with both feet now become standard procedure?
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Sakae on Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:13 pm

I am not sure of course what Bianchi did, but racing textbook describes the heel-toe downshift is a fundamental technique to driving fast through corners. During a heel-toe downshift, you'll be steering with the left hand, shifting with the right hand, clutching with the left foot, and working both the brake and gas pedals with the right foot -- all at exactly the same time.

Textbook continues...it becomes necessary to do some cockpit acrobatics and operate the steering wheel, shifter, clutch, brake, and accelerator all at the same time. The problem is that there is five functions to perform and only four limbs to do it with. Something has to do double duty, and it turns out to be the right foot.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Lawrence on Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:05 pm

Well, the accident report said that he hit both the accelerator and brakes with his two feet. Obviously, this was not just traditional heel-and-toe braking, which they do not do anymore. The override system, which would have given priority to the braking, did not kick in.

The question is: Is keeping the accelerator down when you hit the brakes now perfectly normal, or was this a driver error that was not mitigated by the override system? I am guessing that if the system was not working, he should have already known that, but in a panic, if it is perfectly normal to hit both the accelerator and the brakes, then this is understandable.

7. During the 2 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.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Sakae on Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:08 am

Lawrence wrote:Well, the accident report said that he hit both the accelerator and brakes with his two feet. Obviously, this was not just traditional heel-and-toe braking, which they do not do anymore. The override system, which would have given priority to the braking, did not kick in.

The question is: Is keeping the accelerator down when you hit the brakes now perfectly normal, or was this a driver error that was not mitigated by the override system? I am guessing that if the system was not working, he should have already known that, but in a panic, if it is perfectly normal to hit both the accelerator and the brakes, then this is understandable.

7. During the 2 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.


There was some kind of problem which locked his front wheels, loosing his control over steering. Too many activities occurring on parallel tracks and jammed into nanoseconds, too many distractions, and racing reality...
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Sakae on Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:11 pm

Here's to getting better over the next year, Jules.
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Mach on Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:53 am

Any news?
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Re: FIA Accident Report - Japanese Grand Prix

Postby Sakae on Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:46 am

No, no news, nor we were expecting any so soon. Jules is not forgotten.
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