Somebody put a sock in his mouth

OMFG. One of his colleagues is in hospital in a coma, and he’s spouting some of the stupidest comments I’ve heard in a VERY long time. I’m shaking with rage.

Leaving aside the way he races, which often leaves a lot to be desired, let’s just take a look at some of the implications of what Sergio says, some of the contradictions, and use it as a “bullshit gauge” for statements by EVERYONE in the future.

“The Mexican says drivers will be asking governing body the FIA for “explanations of what happened and what are we going to change going forward”.”

Fair enough. The FIA is, after all, the regulatory body, tasked with ensuring safety. So tell us, Serge old boy, what about the safety measures in place?

” “You know you have to show a lift of the throttle to the FIA,” Perez said. “

Hold on a second – you mean the same FIA you’re counting on for answers to your problem? So, lemme see if I understand this.

When YOU’RE racing, it’s fine for YOU to basically thumb your nose at rules that have been developed to protect the poor shmucks who take care of you guys when you go off. Rules that say, black on white, to be prepared to stop.  Because there are people, and cranes, and stuff, RIGHT THERE. Around the bend. Holy shit! How could I have known?

You see, Sergio, the rules that you’re trying hard to ignore actually not only do something about safety, they really work remarkably well. What sucks is that for that to happen, you have to OBEY them. First thing to change Sergio my friend? Read the fucking international sporting code – YOUR rulebook, dude – and think about what the fuck you do out there.

” “But if we are honest we know we want to lift as little as possible and go as fast as possible. “

See, I must be overtired, coz I don’t follow you. We kinda understand that you need to go fast. Actually that’s why we watch this stuff! A lot of us like to drive fast too. But we follow the rules. When we’re late for work. Or to pick up the kids. Things that are a FUCK of a lot more important than your job, our entertainment.

But guess what happens when I consider that my kids, my job, allow me to skirt the rules? Yep, same thing as when your double waved yellows are just something to “show a lift” for! I know, right! People wind up with two broken legs. Or in comas. Or dead.

So let me ask again – you want change, you want more safety, but you also want to go as fast as possible through a double yellow zone?  That seems mutually exclusive to me. In fact, it sounds like something a third grader would say – someone so impossibly unthinking that he’s not even aware of the internal contradictions. Why didn’t you say, “we at the gpda understand that we need to look at how we drive, as well as all other factors contributing to these incidents”? Why can none of you take any responsibility for anything? Grow up. Think.

Do you think that Charlie hasn’t spend enormous amounts of his time already looking at making trackside vehicles compatible with yours (bet he’s already talked to the engineers at the Institute)? That he isn’t ALREADY doing a feasibility study of behind-the-armco cranes everywhere?

YOU are the guys out there taking the risks, not us – not Charlie, not Herbie, not any of us. That said, we’ve proved ourselves incredibly capable of protecting you from almost everything.

But if you don’t start thinking a bit, it’s gonna be hard to protect you from yourselves.

183 thoughts on “Somebody put a sock in his mouth

  1. There seem to be a lot of suggestions for technology to automatically slow cars in a yellow flag zone. That might be affordable and possible in F1, but not many other categories. Let’s be realistic, a defined and enforced rule will work in ALL categories. Let’s not over-engineer a fancy solution to a simple problem.

  2. I think that implementing an automatic slow down of all cars when they reach a yellow zone is the only way you can make sure a driver actually slows down enough. Implementing this can’t be that much of a problem considering the high-tech those cars use today?
    When leaving it to the driver, he will always want to go as fast as possibly allowed.
    The only data the public can consult is the Live F1 timing app which allows you to download races. Given that this data is accurate, I don’t see that many drivers slowing down during a yellow zone.
    When Adrian crashed, Jules was right in front of him. From that moment on their was a yellow zone, but if you look at the drivers’ speed, it doesn’t seem different compared to the laps before, with no yellow zone. Then Jules crashed too, and a bit later there was a SC. Them not slowing down is an issue. So if they can’t follow the rules, take it out of their hands. Or at least semi out of their hands. You could use a fully automatic system that activates the moment you enter the yellow zone, or you could use a semi-automated systeem, like DRS which is being activated by the driver.

    But still, freak accident occur because a series of rare events happen that lead to this. Look at place accident, look at Senna’s accident… F1 can never be fully safe, but we sure can try.

  3. Applause for Mr. Gary Hartstein and his comments!
    I think the first and most serious cause of Bianchis’ accident was speeding under double yellow flags, not wet conditions, not the crane by the barrier, not the absence of safety car, not the open cockpit.
    I think that all past doctors and drivers made F1 much more safe than ever was, but none measures can avoid all accidents. I’m sorry about about Jules, bad luck, too many unfortunate coincedences.
    And it’s very sad that some of present drivers have balls to be the fastest on the planet but they have no personal responsibility and also they haven’t balls to accept the risk which never was smaller. So what they really want? Easy money, easy sex, huge adrenaline and 100% safety? Funny, comparing with the drivers in 60’s – 80’s. In that ages F1 was extremely dangerous but drivers were strong and fair personalities. Now it’s vice versa, sorry Sergio, but big boys don’t cry…
    But I think F1 can learn something from this – I suggest speed limits under yellow flags (e.g. 60 single-yellow and 40 double-yellow) and strictly punish speeding (drive-through or stop’n’go). No automatical systems, let it on drivers, they know the car, know the conditions and they should be able to decide where to brake not to be too fast in yellow zone. Simple, cheap and effective I think.

  4. This is my first comment so be gentle on me! I’ve been gratefully following your blog all year and have learned a great deal from you and from the responses, but Im no expert on F1, though love to watch it.

    In the discussion of possible changes, and just from watching races, the introduction of a safety car is obviously bad news for the leaders and an opportunity for those at the back to catch up. But maybe the risk therefore shifts to the tail enders who have more incentive to keep their speed higher to get closer to opponents ready for an opportunity to gain a place . It does take a long time for the field to close up, so there is plenty of time for those non-leaders going faster than safety car speed, and faster than is safe for themselves and anyone on the track.
    Would it make any sense for a second SC to be on track about 30 seconds to a minute behind the first SC, doing the same speed. There would be less incentive for those further back to take risks, some help with traffic for those at the front who might need a pit stop, and fewer cars trying to gain a place in close quarters once the SCs go in.

    My thoughts remain with Jules and all those in Sochi who will no doubt be having a hard time this weekend.

    • Very cool idea. Logistically it would mean another car, probably at least one more AMG technician, flights and hotels for one more FIA person (several hundred K). Given todt’s focus on less money for them, more for me, that’d probably be a non-starter. But it HAS been done in other series.

      I think you’re very very right in shifting focus to the back markers, who are authorised, yes AUTHORISED, to speed around the track (under full course yellows!) once the “lapped cars may . . .” notice comes out. Check Fernando Alonso’s accident in Brazil – that’s what happens when you go fast under yellows.

      I’ve always felt that this was doubly wrong and dangerous. First because it creates a situation when you are allowed to go fast with yellows. That confusion is deadly. The message of yellows must be consistent and unequivocal. Second, well it’s just plain dumb to have an SC out with cars at speed catching up to the pack.

      Love that you read the blog! Never hesitate to jump in – we’re family here.

  5. I love this post because it’s such a departure from your usual calm, rational, measured style.
    I’ve just watched the drivers ‘ press conference at Sochi. My sense is that they are very, very shaken by this incident. And Perez basically said what was covered in your earlier post: F1 rules are quite clear but are not enforced. No driver will slow down more than they have to, the speed that allows stopping is subjective. This is an issue for F1 to now grapple with, and quickly. More importantly, some big players (eg Bernie) have come out and said there is an unacceptable risk to marshals. As fans, I think we should be supporting a full, independent investigation that also allows drivers to be brutally honest about their decision making in yellow and double yellow flagged sectors. It will be ugly.

    • Emma you have been fantastic, posting really great stuff. No comment other than to thank you a lot for the nice words (I do angry pretty well; I’m just trying to do it less often!) Actually there was a precedent, about a year ago, when a NASCAR guy came out against concussion testing and doctors being involved in decision making.

  6. Here goes Gary, Give me the scoop on TBI.

    1. What is the pain threshold on this type of injury? Understand the communication problem, however, are patients in these situations in the type of pain that would place others bent over in a blacked out room vomiting? Trust you get my drift.

    2. Why such a BIG rig? Seriously. Why so big? The thing is picking up a feather. If you needed that much lever (boom) it would not have to be in or near the runout.

    3. How are our guys insured?

    Sorry if this sounds crass.


    • For those who wish to jump me on the insurance question, I cared, daily, 24 hours, 7 days for an ALS patient., my mother. I understand the challenge.

      • I’m not a medic so will leave it to other more qualified to talk on the pain issue… though I do know that pain management is a much bigger part of rehab than it used to be.

        In terms of the rig, I understand its handled by the venue.

        As for insurance, no idea. I’d guess you are fully aware of the long term costs of living with a disability including full time care, assistive technologies, therapy, home modifications, medication, etc. (Absolutely hats off to you for taking on the role of carer. I’m always in awe of the sacrifices unpaid carers make)
        F1 may be self insured, since the actual incidence of catastrophic injury is relatively low compered with the risks involved.

    • It’s classical to say that the brain has no pain receptors, and that’s true. That said, obviously a patient in coma by definition is showing no reaction to pain, or only very stereotypical, archaic, reflex reactions.

      In other situations, it’s quite amazing to see how little the victim mentions pain. This is no doubt the same phenomenon as with certain battlefield injuries where one is staggered to interact with a grievously injured patient who just is not in pain. Remember that there are built-in pain relief systems that can be astonishingly effective.

      In terms of the JCB, remember that even though it’s only lifting 650 or so kg, it’s doing it with its arm extended. If you look at the vectors, that JCB would topple over if it wasn’t acting as its own counterweight.

      The drivers probably have several insurances – for their team-related duties, health, life, etc. There are carriers that specialise in this kind of off the beaten path kind of policy.

  7. I’m no fan of Perez. If you mute all his speech about drivers putting pressure on FIA to know how this accident happened all that is left is a very brave statement that so far no other driver did: we don’t lift enough for yellows but even so we’re following the rules and no one gets punished. We all complain that drivers are over protected by their press officers and always deliver plastic speeches. However, when a driver delivers an unpolished statement lots of people complain. Come on, put some perspective. Drivers are a bunch of 20-something spoiled brats who live in a bubble. That said, in a race where track position is key to success, half a second makes a diference. If the driver behind uses a tad more throttle through yellows than the driver ahead, this could completely alter his track position within the race and make a whole lot of difference to the final result. Again, let’s put it in perspective. F1 is a series where rookies (Piquet Jr) crash for the champion (Alonso) to win, that same champion who later used stolen data from Ferrari while at McLaren, then screwed up his own team with internal disputes and moved to the same Ferrari, where he will soon leave because he offered himself to the dominant team behind their backs and will probably come back to his former employer McLaren. That driver is cheered by all as being the best driver in the series. It’s dirty and they’re all so full of their egos that I believe Perez made a very brave statement. I really wish he was in Thurday’s press conference in Sochi so that other drivers could be immediately confronted with his speech.

  8. The will be rules and a culture that develops from them. Drivers will perceive the level of danger based on yellows or SC. If drivers could ‘stop’ under yellows there would be no need for yellows.

    when Sutil went off on Sunday it was at the pivotal point in the race- many recent tyre changes with some on full wets some on intermediates. SC would have had a massive impact on the race. Like many formula 1 fans totally engrossed in the rac my initial thoughts were ‘Will there be a safety car?’ (Sadly, not ‘I hopeSutil’ OK, though I guess it’s a testament to how far F1 has come that armchair fans naturally assume drivers are Ok when they go off.

    My initial thoughts were ‘ car sitting in run off area on wet bend – it’s going to be a safety car. I was dismayed at this at the time as I’m a Hamilton fan and this would have stacked the field up behind him in in worsening conditions.

    Hindsight is an easy thing but lessons will be learned he’s my very very humble opinion:

    It should been a safety car but what human factors are on a race director at critical times in the race to keep things flowing and racing.
    Are there rules to guide SC deployment eg any obstacle within a distance from a bend at an angle of say 30 degrees. The distance varies on bend speed and conditions?
    ALL sportsman don’t play to the rules, they play to the limits of what the officials will let them do. basketball is technically non contact, Rugby Union is a very different game in the northern and Southern Hemispheres and soccer players can push other players when there’s a corner – not in the rule, just accepted. Therefore you cannot blame drivers for going to quick under yellows. it is up to the officials to manage driver behaviour. If one driver goes to quickly under yellows it’s the driver’s fault but if they’re all doing it it’s the officials fault.

    finally, I’ve been glued to your tweets and blog this week Gary. I disagree with this one though. As you intimated in a tweet earlier this week. Keep emotion out of it. Keep it clinical – do a better job.

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply Gary, though reading back what autocorrect had done to me message it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense. I guess the point
        I was making is that F1 drivers are programmed from a very young age to go as fast as possible and win. They give it everything to shave tenths off laps to, hopefully, come out on top when the tyre changes have happened. Asking them to ease off and possibly lose a few seconds that they may have taken half a race to gain is unlikely to happen on a discretionary basis. I guess there will always be a very fine, and often crossed line between being competitive and being dangerous; Senna being the obvious example.

  9. Hi Doc,

    I respect your character and your experience, and I think you were shafted out of your previous position with the FIA. I am happy to read your thoughts on any matter. However, I don’t understand your reaction to Perez. To my mind, he was pointing out that the rule about double-yellows permits drivers to observe the letter of the rule while disregarding the purpose of the rule. The relevant question would seem to be not whether you like his remarks but rather whether there is some truth in them.

    So, then, do you think the letter of the rule permits the drivers to ignore the purpose of it? Do you think that drivers-plural (not just Perez) lift just enough to satisfy the rule without sufficiently honoring the spirit and purpose of the rule? If so, might Perez be correct that the current rule re: double-yellows is not as effective as it should be? Might it make sense to consider whether the double-yellows rule should require that drivers so more than lift just a bit? Etc., etc.

    Judging by your reaction to his remarks, it appears you think the problem is Perez being some sort of hypocrite. To me, it seems that perhaps Perez has made people angry by saying out loud that drivers-plural don’t lift enough, largely because the rule doesn’t require them to do so.

    What about this do I have wrong?

  10. You know what really pisses me off.. A problem occurs, no-one forsaw it and did it on purpose, but everyone wants someone’s head for it. If in meetings I didn’t spend 3/4 of the time stopping the blame cycling round and round, it would be a miracle, the solution afterwards taking 10 minutes at most. People need to be practical but they can’t cos they’re all crazy with energy and excitement and emotion, not that I’m fully sane.. but still you have to learn..

    It’s grass roots school education, teaching kids consideration as the primary objective rather than maths, maths benefiting when people are taught to think.

    • I’m not sure no one foresaw it. When Sutil’s car lay static on the run off of a very wet, high speed bend everyone was thinking Safety Car? It was the most crucial time in the race. Half had stopped for their final set, others needed to change tyres, some has full wets, others inters. The
      Safety Car would have probably completely changed the end result. The race director has to decide on SC deployment but it’s a massive call with huge human factors involved. People want to see a fair fought race with the quickest cars and drivers in the top places. I’d imagine there’s pressure on the RD to keep the race going and not disrupt it and give a possible result that’s not good for the sport. The bottom line is that the director of an F1 race is a human and therefore, at some time, decisions will or will not be made that, with the benefit of hindsight, will likely be as judged as poor ones.

      • “The bottom line is that the director of an F1 race is a human and therefore, at some time, decisions will or will not be made that, with the benefit of hindsight, will likely be as judged as poor ones.”
        Yes. As happens in motorsports and life rules are made to correct problems that already occurred because anticipation of every eventuality is difficult. Your post captures the human element of making on spot decisions re safety vs over-managing the race. That’s when we talk about automatic managers like speed limiters in double yellow zones, but then the drivers lose the right to make mistakes. A conundrum.

  11. Gary, thanky ou for superbly informative blog concerning F1 and all matters health.

    Those of us who aren’t that young and have been around a fair while, have really known that something was going to hit F1, sometime – It’s Dangerous, as you keep stressing Gary, and truthfully it’s been incredibly accident free for a VERY LONG TIME. It’s made Organisers, the Public and the Media and the young Drivers very arrogant and flippant concerning their safety, and truthfully the FIA, Charlie and the massive on track teams and GPDA have continued to work away improving what they could.

    1. For a long time, I’ve thought that an Protection skirt around a Tractor would help and sometimes those Marshals play dodge the cars -Sheesh.
    2. Lets face it there is masses of space on the cars (if bodywork wasn’t stretched so tight) for additional supplementary options.
    3. Any more mandatory areas which maybe now could be built into a removable seat providing increased protection ? It’s been a long time since this excellent innovation.
    4. Gary I know it’s your pet subject. would a helmet which is mandatory 4cm larger in diameter provide the helmet makers any more scope for protection (too big it becomes more of a risk or does it ?? )
    5. Give up the ridiculous proposal that having a deliberately wet racetrack enhances “The Show” as all it does is make it far more dangerous – sure we still want to see ‘Rainmeisters’ but only in inclement weather.
    6. Easily implemented electronic control of Yellow areas which automatically control your power. Lets face it as has been earlier stressed, the drivers are still racing – they are still racing through double waved yellows so they don’t loose any time to their competitors.
    7. A round table forum for ALL ideas but lets face it – F1 has nearly always made money from innovation so let’s look and not be complacent – Bernie is old, and Jean is a Pussy and both are complacent.

    – at least this year we haven’t got crap exploding tyres to keep the makers name in the News.

    But who puts up the money and who backs it – or do we need it – or should they just drive slower ……. Nothing is going to happen unless someone somewhere Screams at the right time, and although money is tight – truthfully if it was written into the regs it would cost hardly anything.

    Thanks for showing your passion and telling it to Sergio – I couldn’t agree more.

    Our thoughts are with Jules and his Family and Michael.

    Kind Regards

    • The helmet has to be as light as possible to minimize the whiplash effect in a crash. It’s pure physics: more wheight in the head = more momentum under deceleration = more damage in the neck.

  12. You should never put a sock in someone’s mouth…

    you know Gary, with this article you’re showing yourself as an intolerant person, who can not take someone else’s opinion
    In some of your answers I can tell, that you already have a pre judgement over Sergio, so everything he says, you probably take it, in the wrong way, also you referred to him in a despective way, how you pretend that we take this seriously, when you talk like that of him.
    I wonder what you’d say if Hamilton or Alonso had made ​​these statements, would you have reacted in the same way? Would you have the guts to put it in an article, but, because it’s Sergio Pérez, a driver always underestimated by public opinion, it’s more easy, you can get the easy applaud of the readers.
    I’m going to refer now to the arguments you’re giving, first the yellow flags, tell me Gary how much a driver should slow down to be in a secure speed?,

    Sergio is honest, drivers doesn’t slow down too much with the yellow flags, and sometimes they can’t, we already Know that. FIA knows that. Given that why they didn’t release the safety car? no, that doesn’t cause you indignation, right?

    Even when drivers slow down, the speed is considerably high to put them in risk along with the marshalls who constantly are near the track when an accident happens. The only thing that could’ve made difference is the safety Car, and here’s what he said about it:
    “In the future when there is a tractor coming up to pick up the car, we need a safety car, no matter what the conditions.” so don’t tell me he doesn’t care about this people.
    Yellow flags should be used in minor cases not when a tractor is implied or the marshals. When lives are in risk the Safety Car always should be released, at least that’s what I think.
    I’m not saying drivers should not be responsables.

    Anyway, these are some of Sergio’s statements that you probably didn’t see
    “We have to work as drivers together with the FIA to improve what happened. We want clarification and we want to know what happened. We want to know full detail.”

    Also you told me on twitter something about the marshals, this is what he said about them:
    “There is always a risk, even if it is dry, because you expose the marshals and a lot of people. You can have people running out of brakes.” To protected them it wasn’t enough to slow down with the yellow flags, the Safety car was necesary.

    • I think it could work if the car had a sensor that would cut power from the engine while going through a sector under yellows. If you leave that to the drivers, they’ll always try to go a little bit faster than the driver ahead.

  13. I’m sorry Doc, but you need to take a breath and re-read the article. I am certainly no big fan of Perez, but he said nothing that any other racing driver wouldn’t say, and I say this as a driver who has raced against some of those on recent F1 grids. We are racing drivers. Our job is to push the limits: the limits of the machines; the limits of ourselves; the limits of the rules. Where is the line? How slow is slow enough? How slow is too slow? When you strain every fibre of your being, putting your neck on the block, corner after corner, lap after lap, for a dozen laps or more, to gain mere tenths of a second on a competitor, how much do you risk giving away when a yellow flag comes out and you have a bigger lift than the other guy? When you’re twenty years old and you’ve made it to the pinnacle of the sport, and now you’re fighting to keep that seat, and a position or a point may make the difference between hanging on and moving up, or becoming just another forgotten name?

    This is crux of what Perez is saying. How do we minimize the influence of human nature is this situation?How do you keep a racing driver from cutting a corner to gain an advantage? Or chopping another driver to get in his head? How does the FIA keep teams from trying to outspend each other to gain an advantage? How do you keep a motorist, late for work, from speeding? I don’t know the answers But we should have the conversation. What I do know, unequivocally, is that course vehicles should NEVER be allowed trackside of the barriers without a safety car!

  14. As much as I see the contradiction in Sergio’s statements, it seems that the present system of rules creates something of a Prisoner’s Dilemma for the drivers – of course it’s in *everybody’s* interest if *everybody* cooperates, and slows dramatically for waved yellow flags, but when the rules (technically) allow for *some* drivers to come barrelling through double-yellows with only a couple of tenths dropped, any drivers who *didn’t* speed through double yellows would be bound to lose out (on average) relative to those who did.

    I take Sergio’s comments as recognition of the role he plays in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and as a plea to the rule-makers to abolish it. This isn’t necessarily as self-contradictory as it first appears.

  15. Couldn’t have put it any better if I’d tried Mr H !

    Saw quite an interesting comment on the Le Mans slow zone perhaps they should do something similar but instead of leaving it to the drivers I’m sure with the telemetry and technology surely every car can be limited by a button pressed by Charlie ,? that will solve any issues , will also stop a good lead being lost by a safety car period or any banzai laps to catch up safety car or in lap the,selves still unaware of the problem?

  16. Great articles on the accident. It looks to me like a lot of the drivers are pretty shaken by Bianchi’s accident, it could have easily been one of them slamming into the recovery vehicle if as you claim, they only pay lip service to the flags, although I suppose you could argue that the cars higher up the grid would be less likely due to their better aerodynamics. There’s no point looking at the FIA for improvements when actually you have perfectly decent rules in place already and what is actually needed is better reinforcement and harsher penalties if they’re flaunted. Seems like the FIA’s a bit of a limp fish when it comes to dealing with the drivers/teams and penalties for regulation-breaking. I don’t doubt that we’ve become complacent within the sport – this appears to be the most serious accident involving a driver (barring Massa’s accident in 2009). Safety must come first. This is something the drivers need to truly take on board and the FIA must enforce appropriately. Entertainment must never come at the cost of someone’s life.

  17. Gary,
    When you said:

    “YOU are the guys out there taking the risks, not us – not Charlie, not Herbie, not any of us. That said, we’ve proved ourselves incredibly capable of protecting you from almost everything. But if you don’t start thinking a bit, it’s gonna be hard to protect you from yourselves.”

    I thought of Phil Hill because he used to say the same thing. In conversation he’d refer to a driver’s death as “he killed himself. . .”. At first an astonishing statement, but when you think about it, hm. (I know I risked a public hanging on this site when I quoted Prost’s description of Senna’s over-driving the car and track at Imola. . . and killing himself. . .)

    Ultimately the responsibility for driving is with the driver. The track conditions at Suzuka looked pretty bad to this viewer, but that great Finnish philosopher Kimi Raikkonen said it was OK. The tires were OK. Everything was OK. He ended the race 12th. Maybe he could have gone faster, taken more chances, but at least he could climb out of his car as could 20 other guys.

    How logical can we be when discussing a subject as illogical as cars driving 200 miles in a circle?

  18. All the speculation thus far is of Jules great speed as he aquaplaned off the track into the tractor, could it also be possible that he had a car malfunction ? Brake failure, jammed throttle maybe ? Hopefully as Gary says, Charlie will reveal all sooner, rather than later.

  19. Gary, you seem very keen to make out that the rules are black and white regarding how fast the drivers should go under double yellow flags. Oh please.

    The only thing in black and white, and the only thing you’re therefore able to quote, is the requirement to “be prepared to stop”. In black and white terms that’s meaningless. Any F1 car, at any time, even at full race pace, can come to a stop by simply lifting the throttle and coasting to a halt. Likewise, at any time at any speed a driver can stand on the brakes and he will lock all four wheels and lose control before he is done stopping.

    What is black and white about that? So long as you have enough grip to stay on the track (a condition drivers have to believe they have even when they’re racing) and you can see as far as your stopping distance and there are no hazards that could come anywhere near it before you can stop, then you are “prepared to stop” and yet can clearly be going too fast.

    The funny thing is that your views don’t seem far removed from Perez’s at all, but only one of you is realistic about who is empowered to make a meaningful difference in the long term to the standard of driving under yellow flag conditions.

    • There are issues of individual responsibility here that I’m going to try to flesh out in a post soon. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the issues raised. And every time I’m tempted to say, “yeah that’s right”, something just jumps up and says nope, it’s not right. But like I say, it needs to crystallise.

      Oh and if there’s so much water that you’re aquaplaning going so slow the antistall is on, you tell your guys the car’s undrivable. They tell Charlie. This is entertainment. It’s amusement. And people get legs broken, get put into comas, because the rules OF A GAME need to be pushed to absurd limits. Coz then you just have to demand that bad daddy set some limits.

      Imagine Carlos Slim was a corner worker. Bet he’d lift a bit.

      • I think “needs to crystallise” is right. You just wrote a post with lots of caps lock about RULES and OBEYING and now you’ve lost interest in that train of thought and it’s all about getting too close to the rules. If that’s your new position you might as well resign yourself to a lifetime of being angry at F1 drivers, because yes, any room in the rules a driver can see he will use.

        There is risk to life and limb in F1 no matter how far you shy away from the edge of the regulations. Drivers, marshals and spectators alike know what they are and accept the risks when they sign up. Sometimes an incident teaches us where the risks might be higher than many had taken for granted, and shown us clear ways to reduce those risks, and this may well be one of those times.

        But would Sergio Perez go slower with Carlos Slim standing in the runoff because of the possibility he might have misjudged the corner and hit his paymaster? I don’t think that’s any more plausible than the idea he would turn up the opportunity, if born 40 years earlier, to jump in a 1970s Ferrari on the basis of the much more significant chance of him losing his own life in an engine fire.

  20. gary,

    words can be misconstrued, so please understand i write this kindly. if you could post a link to the video and/or unedited transcript from the sergio perez bbc interview you are questioning that would be helpful. otherwise, you just openly trashed a driver in a public forum based on thoughts gleaned off soundbites and snippets not in his native language from a bbc article that was not well written to begin with. many faults and opinions of perez and his driving style are understandable. i am no fan of his either, so if a mood got the best of you before you pressed ‘enter’, ok.

    that said, i do appreciate your passion however, and if you are going to present yourself to the world as an expert, that opinion will create and form opinions of other fans who are far less in the know. respectfully, i must say, you’re going to have to police yourself a bit better than this. i hope that you don’t take this as some diatribe against you, because it is not. your blog entry, “before the reform frenzy starts” was great. flag discipline should be raised and i think that is the main point and better written than this. to quote you from that same entry, “The point is that the speed that’s appropriate under double yellows is variable. It’s not a speed limit, it’s a warning.” with that said, driver 1 may feel 6/10th is appropriate while driver 2 thinks 8/10ths and uses that momentum to pass driver 1 when clear of incident. what do you think 6/10ths driver 1’s team will tell him and what do you think he will do next time? why is it not that the fia should police this situation better? pit lane limiters work good, right? if i’m quoting you out of context and thats contradictory to what you mean, then offer that same respect to perez. as it turns out, this is quite a fitting title to this article. maybe you should have sat on it for another day before publishing it. then again, what is likely is that you know and are aware of more than we, and i should put a sock in it myself.


    • You are of course right about a lot. I’m comforted that multiple readings since posting it bring the same relief. But that’s neither necessarily justification nor a gauge of quality! I also think I’m as angered by the internal contradictions. That’s not a detail. Much more than the effect with people who are influenced by reading me, those listening to Sergio will nod and assimilate his “reasoning”. Which simultaneously recognises transgressing vital rules for safety and demanding (!!!) that the body tasked with enforcing those rules do something! Because that’s going to get repeated, and repeated, and repeated. And it’s wrong.

      Thanks for posting and please stay on it!

      • without posting links here, i was able to find video of perez’s interview in sochi and some other articles which gave a bit more insight on what he was trying to say. in his defense and in this situation,he seems genuinely concerned for himself, other drivers and track workers, and i get more of a sense of feeling somewhat powerless against his team and sponsors as opposed to general mischievousness. he knows what his job is and he knows that we know it….so what is he supposed to do? the fia is the only place to turn to. i almost feel his honesty and opinion is somewhat admirable, as you can see that this crop of drivers are aware of the dangers but lack any strength to stand up to the powers that be. if i understand you correctly, i agree with you in regards to the internal contradictions. and with regards to perez, maybe he doesn’t have the eloquence and legalese of some of the gpda spokesmen and fellow drivers. if you look beyond that one article, perez’s words seem less harmful. it seems wrong to vilify him based on people drumming up headlines. if you watched the sochi press conference at all, these reporters can be horrible people. but fairness to them, it is their job. and if that job exposes someone to be a despicable human being, then well done, but i don’t think that is the case here.

        though unrelated, i think lewis quite well pointed out all of our frustration with rules and interpretations at spa saying of the incident, “its not a blame game” & “i was in the lead.” its in these grey areas where teams are picking up their extra tenths and fractions of seconds and points and pay and….you get it. its not about pointing fingers, it’s clearly defining or redefining what are the rules when we enter the grey areas.

        lastly, it must be said that his job responsibility, unfortunately, is a lot more than to just our entertainment.

        great job, great blog and stay passionate.

  21. Hi Gary,
    Man id love to have a pint with you!

    First of all, like a few others why was Jules driving so fast while there was double waved yellows?
    Is it because its been 20 years since Imola when we lost Roland and Senna and a lot of these new guys like Max Vertsappen wernt even born then? Ok his dad was but thats not the point.

    I think complacency has crept in with driving standards and im extremly sad to say but Jules has taught ALL drivers (including Perez) that your not invincable.

    Get well soon Jules, your in my thoughts and I pray for you, and Michael every day.

    God bless.

  22. Rules are there for a reason. If everyone (including the driver) had followed the rules on Sunday in Suzuka, would the accident have happened? If people ignore the current rules, they’ll ignore the next rules too.

    • Drivers ignore the rules because they know they can get away with it. That is true because the rules aren’t properly enforced, and that ball, I’m afraid, sits squarely in Charlie and the FIA’s court.

      • I couldn’t agree more. Stricter enforcement starts and ends there. I read that the drivers meeting with Charlie tomorrow afternoon is expected to be “heated”. Are you kidding me? Charlie is going to walk in with Jules’ telemetry, and there won’t be one more peep. At least I’d almost bet on it. Then he’s gonna say “this will not happen again”. Then I’d like him to say “several of you are going to be sent home more often than you ever dreamed possible”.

      • I think Sergio is right: The obey the rules but as little as possible. It’s FIA’s fault that the rules are not clear and measurable:

        “Drive slower/slowly” or “Must be able to stop immediately”: What does this mean (exactly)? Make the rules verifiable: “You must not drive faster than X while yellow flag is set.” They have this kind of rules: For example, the yellow flag ends when the green light in the cockpit goes on. Not “when the green flag is seen by the driver” (how does one verify that?).

        Having unclear rules makes enforcement hard if not impossible. Having clear rules makes it if not easy then at the very least possible.

        Once the rules are clear and showing that one did not obey them is easy, make the punishments for security rules (marked as such) draconic: “Any driver going faster then X after the Y second grace period at the start of the yellow phase (to allow controlled speed decrease) gets his two best races removed. Any team whose driver goes faster than X+Z during yellow flag gets disqualified from the tournament.”

        (Oh, just in case: “The yellow light in my car did not light up!” – “Here’s the video from your in-helmet camera showing that it did light up.”)

      • For me, the big issue this time is that at least four marshals – most likely volunteers who have no ongoing contracts with F1 – almost lost their lives. This is unacceptable in a sport that prides itself on safety. I hope there is a calm, reasoned investigation that recommends ways to protect volunteers, even if it means more safety cars and less racing.

      • Glad you reminded us of that. I’ll get back to this point in a subsequent post, because it’s part of the argument for personal responsibility and not imposed solutions. It’s part of why we mustn’t be complacent with the “awww that’s what racing drivers do” mentality.

  23. Gary – I can fell your disgust and passion about this topic and rightfully so. F1 came up with the “Safety Car” years ago to protect these race drivers, who hate to slow down, from killing themselves and corner workers when there are hazardous conditions on the track. In this case, when there is a piece of heavy equipment exposed to the cars & corner workers exposed to cars, the Safety car needs to be deployed. Driver’s should follow the rules of the road but the FIA needs to follow their procedures also. The tragedy here shows a break down in policies from top to bottom, producing life changing injuries to a driver and life changing emotions for the first hand witnesses.

    • I understand the reason you suggest this, but a safety car every time there’s a tractor removing a car? Any idea how many racing laps would have been lost this season? And don’t forget, the SC has to pick up the leader which takes time – Bianchi arrived back at that corner less than 2 minutes later; would he still have been travelling at the same speed even with a SC deployed?

      Having said that, I don’t pretend to know the answer.

      • Interestingly, pretty much every suggestion would seem to be safe, economical, practical and doable in certain circumstances. So based just on this, I think we can expect that there not be a one size fits all response. Perhaps better codification of the available responses to low light low adherence conditions, etc, coupled with DRAMATICALLY stricter enforcement would be a good start. Coupled with attention paid to effectively improving the compatibility of racing cars with other service vehicles.

    • The safest option is to have a 4 mile per hour speed limit with a man walking in front of each car carrying a red flag to warn everyone of an oncoming motorised vehicle.

      In the post accident trackside interviews the conditions didn’t appear too wet or too dark, I was surprised. But then most were on intermediates rather than full wets. I think it was just a few corners they had to be careful of – corners they would be aware of.

  24. Totally agree with you Gary. I really do not want to come across as insensitive but while everyone is blaming the FIA and FOM and anyone else they can think of, nobody is looking at the role Bianchi played in the horrific accident. Many of us have seen the video and it is clear that he has not heeded the yellows. I would be very interested to see his speed trace from the lap before the crash compared to the lap of the crash…I very much doubt that there would be a lift that shows he was prepared to stop.
    Personally I think the WEC slow zones are perfect because they force the drivers to curb their natural desire to get through as fast as possible and it doesn’t involve the use of the safety car for every incident.

  25. A very well said piece I was equally horrified when I read Sergio’s comments. The part I hated was when he said the crash was unacceptable and began the blame game as that is not going to help anyone but I admire his honesty about the yellow flag situation.

    It’s all a part of the game for drivers to gain advantages wherever possible so if one driver slows to the point where he can stop and another one doesn’t and the first driver loses 5 seconds per lap because he obeyed the spirit and not the letter of the rules the next time round he is not going to slow again, hence the problem we have now.

    I really do think a pit lane style speed limiter is the best answer here as it is easy enough to enforce and it will be the same for everyone.

  26. Calm down Gary, it’s just Checo…
    We know that he’s not necessarily the wisest guy on the grid. His attitude towards certain topics has always been controversial, probably just as his behaviour from a team’s point of view – I mean, you just need to have a look: He was a candidate to replace Felipe at Ferrari in 2012 and 2013, but in the end they dumped him. At McLaren he mighz well have delivered quite okay-results looking at the overall car performance. BUT they still kicked him out after just 1 year. And now, at Force India, we also haven’t heard anything about a possible contract extension.
    Just let him speak if he means to, I trust in F1 fans to also have a critical eye and not to believe anything 😉


    • “It’s just Checo”, just an F1 driver, how dare him to give an opinion, no, it’s not like he was Gary who apparently is the only one who can put the last word in the F1 world,what kind of argument is that?
      because he’s not in McLaren anymore or because he couldn’t be in Ferrari, he can’t say what he thinks?, according to you only Alonso or Hamilton or Vettel are the only ones who can give an opinion? good one,I’m going to answer you with the same argument you’re giving, who are you, anyway? you’re just an F1 fan,

      • Yes, it is Checo.

        The guy who said women should stay in the kitchen.

        Yes, he said it was a joke (like Hamilton’s “maybe it’s because I am black”) but with a global audience, you have to think before you speak.

        So, Checo has got form for running his mouth.

  27. Hi Gary. Seems like some aren’t happy with your choice of words… On a personal level, I believe your piece reflected the absolute frustration that I felt in seeing what happened on sunday. My first expression on Sunday was “F….. that is not good and should never have happened, surely there were waved yellows, why didn’t he slow down? etc….”. In a situation where the track is dangerous, drivers at that level should be acutely aware of the inherent risks in aquaplaning. A waved yellow should have triggered those survival instants to slow down…. a lot. If drivers aren’t prepared to accept that their safety starts with them, it doesn’t matter what the FIA do, we will face the same situation again and again. It hurts to see one of “our” drivers in this situation and we continue to pray for him, his family, friends, team and the Doctors looking after him.

  28. First time I’ve posted on here, but the first place I come to for sensible views on medical/safety matters.

    Totally agree with you Gary, well said!

  29. Having read the comments I feel compelled to comment.

    It is one thing to risk your own life by travelling too fast under yellow flags, it is another completely to risk the lives of track workers. Perhaps if drivers want to keep increasing the risks by not slowing, broken cars should just be left trackside until the end. It is then up to the drivers to decide how safe it is to keep pushing.

    The problem with bringing out the safety car every few minutes is the loss of brake and tyre temperature ect may well increase the risk of accident at restart, possibly to a level over and above that of just obeying the flags.

    Moving on, with a speed limiter would you set it to a safe speed for a front running car or a slower one? At the time of the collision, some front runners were still putting for inters, not even full wets if I recall correctly? The difference in speed between cars is huge.

    These drivers should be able to make a judgement on what is and isn’t safe and should be setting an example. The person being interviewed is the same one who stayed out until his brakes failed entirely earlier in the season. I think complacency has set in massively.

    Having said all this, wrapping all vehicles in tech-pro or equivalent could only help I guess.

    Also, I do wish Jules all the best in his recovery.

  30. Look Dr. Harstein I understand your position and you do have some good points but let me explain the way I saw the comments. Yeah its the driver’s responsibility to follow the rules but a rule so weak as a yellow flag its very easy to ignore because there is no representation of how much of a lift a driver must do and given the amounts of pressure They are exposed to and the nature of the sport…I think Perez’s allegations are very natural and to be honest not much of a shock drivers do this. Now its important so see into the comment…if the rule allows for such things as lifting as little as possible maybe we should think of an introduction of something similar to le mans where they put a speed limit on the sector…this way you dont lose the delta between drivers and maintain safety in the desired area. Anyway appreciate the article.

    • Thanks Manuel. I understand the point. And while I understand the conflicted nature of, say, double elbow flags (go slow but don’t lose position), I’m somehow uneasy with according this conflict (remember, the race is ENTERTAINMENT, but yet peoples’ lives are very much at stake) more validity than my speeding up to get thru a yellow light that’s turning to read. Hey – I’m late for work. I’m working through this in my head and will no doubt write about it soon. Thanks again.

    • “… but a rule so weak as a yellow flag its very easy to ignore because …”

      Maybe it is the yellow flag. If they replaced it with a skull and crossbones flag maybe the drivers would take it more seriously?

  31. Have there ever been serious proposals that drivers be obliged to marshal several events before being granted a super-license?

    It strikes me that it might give them some proper perspective.

  32. Hi doc, as always thanks for your insight on this and other cases.

    If I can add my two cents here, I believe that Segio’s *quotes* (yes, quotes, lets remember we can’t infere the level of coherence of his arguments without the interview’s full transcript) are good examples of two things: 1) The level of anxiety these boys are in exactly *because* one of their peers is fighting for his life. 2) The *fact* that they know full well that the regulations regarding yellow flags set up reverse incentives. Whoever goes faster without triggering Charlie’s nerves can gain substantial lap time under yellow flags. On the other hand, each driver knows that this *maximizes* risks to themselves and others. They are racing drivers after all and what we are requiring here are optimal split second (literally) decisions between speed (instinct) and safety (reason). This should not be left to drivers.

    IMHO, other than automatic speed limiters (suggested above by other readers, which I don’t know if are feasible), it would be interesting to implement with immediate effect two sets of measures.

    In dry conditions: investigate in each track which areas (red zones) would be more dangerous if any car skips the track following the tangential line (or bouncing off close walls/fences/guard rails). If there is service machinery or people deployed in said red zones we would automatically have the SC deployed.

    In wet conditions: if people of service machinery need to be deployed outside the barriers the SC should be deployed. Wet conditions prevent any kind of planning on the side of drivers.

    Finally, a measure to be mandatory as soon as technically plausible. No car, truck, tractor that is higher than the cars’ nose should be able to enter the track in any condition. All such vehicles should be adapted accordingly to avoid this type of accident.

  33. Ahhhhhh…..

    “A more conciliatory Jenson Button, who is a director of the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers Association), said: ‘We will look at it as the GPDA and the important thing is we are united. I can’t say anything yet but there should be no pointing fingers. Most of us understand that being massively outspoken now, or [to] let our emotions get the better of us, doesn’t always help the situation. For us all right now it’s just a very emotional time, thinking of Jules and his family.'”

  34. Breathe, Gary…. breathe.

    Remember – you are the calm and considered one here. I am the hot head 🙂

    I read Perez’s comments, or rather I started to read them but started to get a little grumpy and I need my sleep tonight because I have a business meeting (and skydiving festival) to fly to today. But now look what you have done and it is almost 5:00am here.

    All I will add (because you have said it all) is the worst thing about these comments are that Sergio was/is managed by former CART/Champ Car driver Adrian Fernandez – I am not sure what that status is now, but Fernandez was certainly mentoring him, as a fellow Mexican.

    Adrian was a great spokesperson for the drivers and a leader in pushing for all facets of driver safety, including the compulsory use of HANS devices, which he adopted voluntarily, very early in the piece – and he had enough serious accidents to know what driver safety was all about.

    I wonder if Adrian knew what Sergio was saying in that interview?

    In fact, I would like to hear from those more experienced and calmer heads, like Fernandez and Webber (another leader when it came to driver welfare, safety and conditions), but I sort of wish there was some blanket ban on driver comments until the FIA report is completed, because the media is going to pick up and run with anything even slightly controversial they might say.

    Now, I wonder if it is worth me going back to bed 🙂

  35. To my mind Sergio was only saying what every driver does, and has always done. Witness Alonso in Brazil 2003.

    These are incredibly competitive people. They won’t slow down if they don’t think anyone else will. We hear that Massa was ‘screaming’ that the conditions were unsafe, yet he didn’t pull into the pits on that basis. Why not? Similarly for Dan Wheldon’s fatal crash. Many of the drivers had expressed concerns that it the race was unsafe before it started, and many said they knew it was getting dangerous in the laps before the crash. Yet none of them pulled out. Why not? Because they’re competitors.

    This is what Sergio was getting at. You can’t expect drivers to slow down enough in these situations, so the rule-makers must make them slow down somehow.

  36. I guess what Perez is saying is that he needs rules in place that categorically stop them from cheating and risking their’s & other people’s necks. That’s a bit of a childish & dangerous admission to make for sure. I can understand why a conclusion would be drawn that the safety car should be deployed in bad conditions in a similar incident because visibility of the waved yellows may be a bit tricky from what we see of the on-board camera views in these type of conditions (scary) and the grip on the track was poor & worsening. However, surely in dry & fine conditions waved yellows would be adequate otherwise we’ll end up like Nascar & Indycar where many races are decided by a short sprint at the end, taking away all the good (or nullifying bad) work that drivers have done throughout the main race distance. It becomes a joke if safety takes over to that degree, common sense has to prevail. Safety standards in F1 are already fantastic when you consider what they are doing. If they can be tweaked to improve them that’s great but I don’t think you’ll ever eradicate one-off unlucky incidents like this, it’s impossible to think of every scenario and develop safety precautions to prevent them all. Grosjean’s comments on this matter are to be lauded if you ask me.

    There’s an accident investigation in process and we are not privy to all the information. I’m sure the team investigating will arrive at sensible conclusions.

    I continue to think of Jules & his family, friends & team at this time and pray for the best possible outcome.

  37. Totally agree with you Gary

    As Martin Brundle says, the loud peddle goes faster and slower. It was a terrible accident, I am amazed he is alive when you see the footage. Its down to people like Gary who risk their lives and the marshals who don’t get paid (done it myself for rally events) that he is alive now. As it says on the ticket, Motor sport is dangerous.

    I dont believe that the drivers want a safety car every time a car needs to be recovered. These guys are the best drivers in the world (…maybe) with the hardest licence in motor sport to get, They need to learn from their own driver mistakes and stop blaming other people. I am getting completely disilusioned with a sport I love.


  38. Spot on, Gary. Sergio’s comments were both idiotic and stupidly offensive in their timing. In effect what he says is: yes, there are rules, but what are the FIA going to do to ensure it’s safe for us to just ignore them?

    Here’s the answer: any driver who passes the first double waved yellow over 100 mph gets a stop-go – one second per mph over 100. Any driver who passes the second waved yellow without the pit lane speed limiter on gets a 20-second stop-go.

    • So hang on: Sergio’s call for stricter rules from the FIA is both idiotic and stupidly offensive in their timing, and by the way here are some stricter rules the FIA should implement. Got it.

      • You can ask the mayor to put up more red lights. If you just go through them anyway, yeah, it is kinda idiotic. Not sure who’s talking about STRICTER rules. I simply mention that those that have been in place since I started reading the International Sporting Code (1990) are pretty damned good.

      • Gary:
        “Not sure who’s talking about STRICTER rules.”

        That would be Martin Buck, whose comment my comment was a reply to. Interestingly I see that when you click to reply to a reply, the post above loses its indent so it looks like a comment directly to the blog post – if that’s what confused you here you might want to fix that.

      • Perez didn’t call for stricter rules; what he said was that the safety car should be deployed any time there is a recovery vehicle out there. His logic for this is that drivers can’t be relied on to slow down, even when the International Sporting Code says that’s exactly what they MUST do. That’s idiotic.

        My suggestion is not a ‘stricter rule’ The description in the ISC is perfectly clear, as Gary has described: slow down, and be prepared to stop. My suggestion is simply a way of ensuring that drivers actually do what the rules state,

  39. Gary,
    Just speak up and say what you really think!

    A few months ago I watched a film on the history of F1’s long sad path toward the melding of safety and speed. (It’s probably available on Netflix or Amazon.) The loudest voices against track, car, and apparel modifications in the interest of safety were the drivers. Not all of them of course, Jackie Stewart led the charge for enhanced safety and thanks to him for that, but many spoke as Perez speaks now. The ‘we just wanna go fast’ ethos seems to be part of their DNA. I remember Dale Earnhardt wouldn’t wear a HANS device because it was ‘sissified’ or something like that. (HANS device information at: After his crash I read that Dale died when a HANS would have saved him.

    It appears there is a confluence of interests that conspire against a guaranteed safe driving situation:
    1; The drivers’ love of speed and power and winning and all the other reasons they are in the cockpit and not the rest of us.
    2. The promoters’ determination to make it a for-profit game. The FIA doesn’t want to project a bad image as worthy stewards of the top automobile racing event so there’s a lot of posturing, but they don’t want to dampen the drivers’ zeal. The television coverage is expensive and needs to have predictable start and duration times, an expectation to which the FIA is sensitive. The track owners have expended millions to bring the circus to their town, and again the FIA must work with them. (Again, I hark back to my watching the BBC live streaming of Suzuka with a posting, after one soaking lap, that the FIA wanted Suzuka to move the race up by 2 hours to avoid the brunt of the storm. That didn’t happen and I haven’t read mention of it since.)

    What’s the answer? Perhaps, for safety, install a governor in each car that slows it to a specific MPH during yellows, double yellows, etc. I’m sure that suggestion would result in a lively drivers’ meeting.

  40. Sorry, but I think you are bang out of line. Read what you put at the start. One of his colleagues is fighting for his life. His emotions are high, he’s probably trying to click in his head how to do this weekend.

    He’s also honest. ALL drivers, at all levels, fudge the yellow flag rules. We all know it. I know it as a marshal at club/national meets. It’s scary going from being the barriers knowing the racers are still in race mode. The driver who doesn’t ease of JUST enough of the one who losses ground. That doesn’t make it right, but instead of barking at him for being honest, realise the trick is to properly enforce/punish it to make it fair for them all. And if unenforceable, a new solution needs finding.

    Why you need to attack so much is beyond me. Instead of using this tragedy as yet another chance to raise your vendetta with Todt, why don’t YOU back the hell of with the vitriol?

    • Being honest is one thing (Sergio Perez) being responsible is another. To instil responsibility you either have to impose punishment (e.g. driver bans for safety infringement) or you have to be tough in the use of words (to shame then into taking more responsibility).

  41. Perez’s comments are a distillate of a wider trend in society, one of — what are “they” going to do to protect me from myself?

    Hey, why not own up and take responsibility for our actions? Perhaps I’m just getting old and grumpy.


    • Excellent point. “Personal responsibility” is on a downward trend in society – being replaced by a cult of personal rights and what’s in it for me attitude? Neoliberal ideology is predicated on people acting selfishly … and those are the attitudes it tends to promote.

  42. Totally agree. This accident could have just have just as easily seen a martial pay the price not the driver. It should not be acceptable for the drivers to gamble with others lives to gain them selves a competitive advantage.

    What I would like to see is the FIA looking at a system to make sure the car behind lifts as much as the guy in front whilst going through a flag zone. Insist the time separation is the same in the next sector. If there’s less advantage to pushing it then they may be more inclined to respect the flags. The tech already exists to calculate the DRS availability.

    • Anyone seen the phone footage that f1 are trying to claim is copyright?
      it’s still out there.
      One marshal had to dive out of the way, it was pretty close.

  43. Sorry Gary but again you over-react … pity you are using foul language and emotions, here is my right to answer you ( respectfully ) ;

    double yellow are much easier to apply in dry conditions….
    ‘be prepared to stop’ ? in a single seater and in wet conditions ? the moment you shift down to slow down ( not touching the brakes ) you risk spinning !

    so why not a safety car ?
    why not a red flag if crane AND marshals are moving in the same place where someone just spun ???

    Perez is being honest that drivers will want to lift as little as possible…even if Jules was going too fast under the double yellow…. and chances are he was doing his job… estimating he ‘could stop’ and yet go fast enough…

    Gary know very well driving fast is all a guessing game and F1 are those who guess the closest to where limit is …. IT IS very hard to stop any single seater in wet conditions…

    Gary, even if Herbie and Charlie were/ are your friends…. THE SAFETY CAR WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OUT IF A CRANE AND MARSHALLS ARE MANEUVERING IN A DANGER ZONE !!

    so lets call a spade a spade, the people who made the call on the pace car should give answers
    REGARDLESS of racing drivers

    Perez is not the one who needs a sock in his mouth

    • sorry, the capital letters are too dramatic… wish i could edit, so i tone down but keep my content….
      and if i may addd; even lifting on the throttle can make you spin if
      on a wet patch

      • It’s a great comment, and the caps are perfect. And a lot of what you say is correct. It’s obvious we can’t count on flags to do the job, and we can’t really “blame” anyone for trying to jusssssst get by without a punishment.

    • Given what happened, it should have been a Safety Car. There are doubtless occasions over the last ten years when it should have been called too. there are probably occasions too when the Safety Car was deployed and people would argue it was an overly cautious decision. maybe a computer should decide based on probabilities. In all fairness, the probability of somebody going off where Sutil did, given the conditions, was pretty high. It’s also pretty straight forward physics the predict the likiest path of a car when losing traction in a corner.

  44. So Perez is saying he pays lip-service to double waved yellows? Someone needs to take his licence away until he comes to his senses.
    Bianchi was extremely unlucky that there was something less forgiving than a tyre barrier in his way but he was clearly going too fast to even stay on the black stuff let alone being able to stop if needed as per the rules for the section of track with the yellows. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish him all the best for a swift recovery.

  45. I think you also should think twice before you – as an acknowledged expert – write such an unworthy piece with such disgusting expressions. You’re not just a noname blogger, you’re dr. Hartstein, former F1 doc with thousands of followers, and it’s absolutely unacceptable to speak about a driver in such a note. An intelligent person can express his critics in an intelligent way. This time you didn’t manage this.

    • Another way of looking at it is it was a passionate, angry and emotional post based on many years of experience which expresses the deep frustrations of some idiots who seemingly fail to understand the dangers which not so long ago where the norm…

      • I’m afraid for once I agree. Without being a prude, the language in this and recently past posts has rather eroded the gravitas of what you have to say. The use of OMFG is absolutely beyond the pale. I know we can take or leave what you have to say …. personally I want to take every word and am enriched by what I have learned over the past 10 months, but the use of such profanity is not what we have come here to experience. Sorry.

  46. I’m 100% with you here. I was agape at Perez’s comments. It seems to boil down to “we only know where the loud pedal is, can you wrap everything in cotton wool”.

    If (some of) the best drivers in the world don’t know how to adapt to the most basic change of conditions, perhaps their superlicenses should be revoked.

    How about, instead of a verbal warning and/or rap on the knuckles, 6 superlicense points for *any* perceived form of speeding under yellows?

  47. This is why the FIA needs to enforce better adherence to flags. F1 more than any other sport is an exercise in finding loopholes and edges in the rules, both on and off track. Drivers will push as close to the letter of the rules as is possible, and the teams will push them to do so. If a driver can get away with going 0.1 second slower in a sector and not get a penalty, they will.

    That said, I really think that the suggestion of activating the pit speed limiter when entering a yellow flag zone is not a good one. In my opinion, any action taken by the car without direct driver input could easily make things worse. Activating the speed limiter when the car is doing 100kph in the rain would easily cause an uncontrolled spin.

    My suggestion would be to use the pit lane speed limiter but make the driver activate it. I.e. when the yellows start, the driver has two or three flag positions to safely slow down to pit speed the first time through the yellow zone. The second and subsequent times through the zone they must be down to pit speed by the first flag.

    • Great idea

      How about pit lane limiter that Charlie can activate within a double waved yellow zone. If the drivers are not capable of showing a significant lift then control should be taken away for the safety of the marshals, the same as the DRS zone activation control. With the Billions spent on these cars development I am sure its feasbale.

      • That solution is worse than the problem. Any action taken by the car without direct driver input is a problem. If you’re doing 200kph and the pit lane speed limiter comes on, you will immediately lose the back end, spin and crash. Even worse in the wet. Using the pit lane speed limiter in a yellow zone is a solution, but the driver has to bring the car down to the speed limit first and then activate the limiter. Activating the speed limiter from race control is just asking for trouble.

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