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. Wet evening here in the UK, so I have run the interview through Bing and corrected a few things, but the gist of it is clear. Well worth a read –

    There are times that watching Jules lying in his bed, without a scratch or anything, I give him a flip on the cheek and tell him “come on get up, what are you doing there lying? Let’s get away from Japan, Jules, back home». In the night outside downtown, cars are rare. The city is getting ready for the passage of Typhoon Vongfong, the most powerful of the year repeating you wherever you go. But after all day rain and wind pounded incessant, air became quiet. It is the calm before the storm and it’s the same thought that inevitably associate looking White, Philippe Jules’s father. The robust physique by Gemma («although they are big and chunky, are a good and kind. But if I get angry… ‘) disappears in front of a tender glance, the soft-spoken and educated advises Jules (who when he speaks in Italian dad pronounced), hope of f. 1, but even before one of the most popular riders for the mild manner in which he lives his passion, with that voice almost whispered musical gift and gently mix Italian and French blood flowing through your veins.

    FIGHT — for a week, from one given Sunday in Suzuka as a tractor left guiltily into escape without — always the most critical conditions of growing darkness, rain, limited visibility and tires to the limit — the race did enter the Safety Car, the life of the White family, Philippe, his mother Christine, Mélanie brothers and Tom, takes place in a few kilometres that separate the hotel from My General Hospital, where Jules runs to beat death. “He is strong, will win his most important qualification round. Spring, not I’m sure» Philippe repeats between a cigarette and the other

    ANGUISH — no illusions, “because the situation is desperate, we’re the first to say it. Every phone ringing we know that can be the hospital to say that Jules died. But before they had said they were crucial for the first 24 hours, then became 72 and now we are still here, with Jules struggling. I see it, believe it, and I speak, I know you can hear me. The doctors have told us that this is a miracle, that no one has ever survived an accident so severe. Yet Jules did not give up. Andrea (Ferrari, the preparer; n.d.r.) I repeat that if there is one who can do it is him, with his iron will. Remember Monte Carlo and the first story points Marussia? But come on, drink something».

    NIGHTMARE — in front of a glass of red wine is unleashed and speaks, Philippe. Needs, “because even if here are all quite charming, nobody understands you. They say they speak English, ask for something and don’t know how to respond. It’s hard, in one week the life of our family has been destroyed. What we do, how we do now here, far from everything? We are living a nightmare. Maybe we will have better when Jules give us the change, few weeks apiece, maybe we can transfer it in Tokyo and will be a bit easier … But who knows when it will happen, if it will happen. We have no certainties, just wait. Christine has the restaurant that had opened, I have given the kart of Brignoles and attraction of kids running karts. The motors are my life. Father Mauro, uncle Lucien … are grown between the engines, I know what to do. But as I think back on a track? “.

    SCHUMI — In clinging to hope, Philippe has a reference: Michael Schumacher. «I was hurt when he got hurt, I couldn’t believe it. And also I like everyone I was wondering why don’t you say things, how he was. But now that it’s happened to me, I understand. All ask me how’s Jules, but I can’t give you an answer, because there is an answer. Is very serious, but stable. Only this can tell you. One day seems a little better, a little bit worse. Physicians do not pronounce, the damage had the impact was great, but don’t know how to evolve. Even with Schumacher it took months before it came out from his coma, and yet I read that Jean Todt said he could have a nearly normal life. Behold, one day I hope I can say the same of Jules».

    DOCTORS — Saturday, are back in Europe professors Gerard Saillant and Alessandro Friars, the neurosurgeon of wisdom posted by Ferrari. Yesterday in the hospital has seen a physician of the Fia, Ferrari days will send another specialist. “Doctors are exceptional, the friars told me that Jules had been hospitalized in Italy would not have been able to receive better care. From this point of view we are relaxed, we can only thank them». Uncle Jules we go out in the night, we find MOM Christine. Mélanie arrives. Trembles with the cold, has 28 years, it shows 10 less. «If this is why I also have two sons, 3 and 7 years of – smiles wearily –. Go kart, already adore Jules. Haven’t figured out what happened, I told him that his uncle was tired and Matthew is doing (the nanne in French; n.d.r.

    AFFECTION — The proximity of other drivers, teams, fans, gave the strength to go forward. “We’ve never seen anything like this, touched us deeply. Thank you all. I wrote a large number of people, sooner or later I will respond. Vergne, Alonso, Massa had strong thoughts, Hamilton wrote a beautiful email which says that if he can do something is there for us, we also saw Rossi, Marquez and the other MotoGP riders with adhesives made from Vergne. We are confident that all this love, this energy, Jules li can feel. And then the Marussia, Ferrari. It has been seen that Jules is really a pilot of the team. Mahdavi remained overnight on Sunday, Booth started Saturday. We have never been alone. ” The accident On one thing is silent: the incident, the dynamics, the controversies, the Fia investigation. “This is no time to talk. The video I have not seen it and dont want to see, I know that I shall become mad. While I and my family we need all the energy to give her to Jules, to feel that we are here and we want him back home. Now counts him». Just after, I read in her eyes, the calm will be swept by the storm.

  2. Going slightly off topic here (but keeping with some of the comments earlier in this thread)…. if the rules stipulate a maximum 4 hour window from the start of the race to an ultimate conclusion (to avoid another Canada 2011) why do they start a race 2.5 hours before sunset? I know the European TV market is important but come on? Also, is there a rule that stipulates just how dark is too dark to run in?

  3. What we hear in the British press is only 1/10 of the story.
    Here is the full interview/article in Gazzetta Dello Sport. OK, it’s in Italian but if you know someone who speaks the language, get them to translate the gist of it for you.
    Even putting it into Bing you get the notion of what a truly extraordinary, warm and human person Phillipe Bianchi is. I am lucky enough to speak Italian …. it almost had me in tears.

  4. What a heartbreaking yet warm and gracious update from Phillipe Bianchi. I hope the family realise how much the world appreciates an update during such a terrible time. For the family to consider the feelings of the fans and share their heartbreak during the darkest times is truly remarkable. In comparison to the often cold Sabine kehm updates this family is definitely something special x

    • I agree. I think every feeling person feels very much a part of Jules’ extended family. People aren’t motivated by gore or by tragedy, they want to connect. We’re hard-wired for that. And Jules’ parents seem instinctively to understand that. It reassures me, because that kind of instinct certainly allows them to be, to some tiny extent, buoyed by the constant thoughts of millions of us. #ForzaJules

  5. It is reported that Phillipe Bianchi (Jules’ father) is today quoting the totally misrepresented and mistranslated quote attributed to Jean Todt after his visit to michael Schumacher.
    “Even with Schumacher it took months to come out of the coma. [FIA president] Jean Todt said he hopes Michael will one day be able to have a normal life. One day I hope we can say the same about Jules”
    Jean Todt never said anything of the sort. What a sad and frankly strange situation.

    • This is so sad …….

      “The situation is desperate,” said Philippe Bianchi. “Every time the telephone goes, we know it could be the hospital to tell us that Jules is dead.
      “He will not give up, I’m sure of that. I can see it. I believe it.”
      He added in an interview with Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I speak to him. I know he can hear me.
      “His doctors have told us that this is already a miracle, no one has ever survived such a serious accident. But Jules won’t give-up.

    • PS: It made me think of the Senna film
      ‘On the morning of the race, Senna told his brother that he had asked God to talk to him and that he had opened his Bible at a passage that said God would give him the greatest of all gifts, which was God himself.’

    • The open and warm attitude taken by the parents of the Jules Bianchi creates an open and friendly environment upon which others can express their well wishes and concerns etc. It also leads to a more sincere and truthful (in general) reporting., reporters can check their stories etc,

      Contrast this with the approach taken by the guardians of Michael Schumacher. It created a harsh, secretive and divisive climate. Where it seemed that people were not allowed to talk of their visits to see Schumacher and led to severe criticism and incriminations when others spoke up in such a situation such as Massa and Hamilton. It even led to the theft of Michaels medical notes, arrests and suicide.

      • Maybe the Bianchi’s have gained something from the Schumacher experience. By what Phillipe Bianchi has said , they have.

      • “Maybe the Bianchi’s have gained something from the Schumacher experience. By what Phillipe Bianchi has said , they have.”

        I am not sure they have gained from the Schumacher experience. The father is quoted as saying “I was very sad when he got hurt [Michael Schumacher], I kept wondering, like every one else ‘Why don’t they tell us more about how he is?’. But now I’m in the same position I understand. Everyone keeps asking me how Jules is but I can’t reply, there is no answer. It’s very serious but he’s stable. One day he seems a bit better, other days a bit worse. The doctors don’t say. The damage from the accident is very bad but we don’t know how it will evolve. Even with Schumacher it took months to come out of the coma. [FIA president] Jean Todt said …”

        So basically he is saying he didn’t gain anything from the Schumacher experience. He only gained knowledge from having to go through the experience himself with his son. Only with that knowledge gained from his own experience can he understand the BEHAVIOUR of the GUARDIANS of MS. Unlike the guardians of MS, Jules Bianchi’s father is sharing his experience with others … so that others can learn from him. It is significant that he had to quote the “unofficial” statement of Jean Todt in order to say anything about Schumacher’s situation.

  6. I agree with you on Perez words,
    However, I think race control has a huge responsability on this: imagine a driver using common sense and being prepared to stop in a double yellow… what happens? he lose a lot of time, no one of his fellow competitors do the same and they all go away with no penalty!!!
    so what remains for a driver to do? either he retires or he never do the same again and just “show a lift”

    you cannot expect drivera to respect a rule unless you enforce it every weekend, not only when something bad happens.

    We see dangerous behaviors every race with risible or no penalty (ferrari team starting alonso car on the grid at Spa, drivers pushing each other out of track as a way to defend position, exceeding track limits and reentering the track dangerously…) … one day something bad will come from this and race control will have its share of responsability

    • I agree the flags are shown for a reason, and as you state, double waved yellows mean danger on the circuit, slow down and be prepared to STOP.
      As Perez revealed, the drivers are treating the flags with contempt by trying to slow as little a possible and race controll letting the drivers get away with “just a lift”.
      Its obvious to me that “just a lift” is not slowing down and being prepared to stop.
      Im not sure why the protocols for double waved yellow flags have eroded, but the upshot of is that poor Jules is in a japanese hospital fighting for his life.
      With this in mind the whole show is culpable for the Bianchi accident, except the marshalls who where doing their jobs correctly.
      Another question in my mind is. Has the full course yellow been replaced by the saftey car?
      A full course yellow situation can neutralise the race immideatley, and with a speed limit for such a situation would prevent the cars from bunching up a la saftey car

  7. First of all, as a longtime reader and firsttime poster: Thanks Gary for your informative blog.

    I must admit that I am impressed with Perez. Very much so. He is one of the few who actually dares to say the truth and I guess, he knows that a lot of flak is going to come his way for doing so. I understand the people (including Gary) who are disgusted at it, but the fact remains that it is the truth. A driver will always just do as much to slow down as he is required and held accountable to. If all he needs to do to avoid a penalty is to lift slightly, that is what he is going to do. If he will not be penalized anyway, he will go all out. And if a speed limit is imposed, he will be just keeping it. If they were purely rational (or had any common sense) they would work as track medics or they would be teachers. So if you want them to slow down then MANDATE it.

    Just have a look at this youtube vide, especially at 0:56:
    In the Group B days in Rallying they were going all out, missing bystanders by inches just about every race. Common sense? Rational? Of course you can argue that only a complete egotist with absolute disregard for the safety of others would drive that way. But I don’t think so. They are just doing their job. Going as fast as they possibly could under all circumstances. And that is what racing drivers are going to do. No matter what. And if slowing down is needed it must be mandated and enforced. Or does anyone think that a racing driver would slow down in the pitlane just because it is good common sense and there are people around that are in danger, if the speed limit were not in place. Of course not – and we have evidence for it, because there was a time when no speed limit applied. Just watch the almighty Senn charge out of the pitlane:

    Anyway, not saying it is good, but whacking people who are upfront an honest like Perez was in this case is IMHO not going to help. My 2cts.

    • In the Group B days in Rallying they were going all out, missing bystanders by inches just about every race. Common sense? Rational?

      Just to take up that point, as a stage commander for a major Tarmac rally here, if spectators were that close to the track (or in positions considered dangerous – like on the OUTSIDE of a corner.., as a recent popular video shows), we would halt the stage. Those dangerous positions would have been taped off under Australian rally regulations . They are not the fault or responsibility of the drivers.

  8. Anyone else think today’s post race was a bit like a combination ofSasha Baron Cohen movies? Putin as The Dictator amd the interviewer on the podium as Borat?

  9. On another note…. SOCHI: Has anyone noticed that the concrete barrier outside turn 1 before turn 2 (the heavy braking right hander) protrudes out after the recovery vehicle lane? From the TV camera angle that films cars from behind it seems like that (on the left). I was wondering if that’s a TV camera illusion as I doubt whether something like that would go unnoticed. It would be a great danger if someone lost control there or if two cars touch and one goes into the barrier to the left of the track.

    • I’ve not seen that, as I’ve seen no footage at all (except Karun’s fictitious lap on a CNN commercial) of Sochi. Though I’m VERY much looking forward to seeing Putin presenting the winner’s trophy plastered over the front page of the world’s newspapers tomorrow! That’ll be a good image for F1, and for a ruthless corrupt autocrat who at last glance was still under sanctions . . .

  10. Dr. Hartstein,

    Since the infamous ‘Viper almost takes out intervention vehicle’ at the 24H Nurburgring earlier this season, I’ve been consistently saying that:

    a) You cannot legislate intelligence, reason, and common sense, and

    b) That if you don’t start ramming these parts of the rule book down a driver’s throat, they will continue to think that a yellow flag is nothing but a means to gain competitive advantage and completely miss the safety aspect of the reason why the rule is in place to begin with.

    Thank you for essentially saying the same thing as I have been. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this.


    Colene Evans-Allen
    Freelance Motorsport Writer, Ontario, Canada

  11. Good day Gary, wondered if you saw comments by Moncet regarding Schumakers injury being more severe due to him carrying a helmet mounted Go-Pro camera ?

  12. Hi Gary,
    I’ve just watched the sky F1 show from before Sochi free practice. Ted Kravitz joined them after being in a briefing. Ted said were shown cctv footage. He reported Charlie spoke & said virtually no drivers lifted under yellows. F1 will now trial using the pit lane limiter to slow drivers down “starting tomorrow”.

    Also, apparently medical helicopter could take off …. but couldn’t land at the hospital. (??!!)

    Interesting weekend ahead…

    • The chopper couldn’t land at the hospital because the hospital is not a designated trauma center and thus is not set up for night landings… this is a problem only because Bernie chooses insane starting times because he’s willing to have guys doing 180mph in fading light in order to get more TV viewers in the UK…

      I believe we need different rules about double-yellows (don’t know enough to know what changes are best)… but we also need to stop the nonsense of having races starting at a time that depends on no delays or slowdowns to keep the drivers from racing in the dusk… any normal person driving somewhere in those conditions would have had their headlights on… and if their headlights didn’t work, they wouldn’t have gone anywhere…

      Sadly, I bet they have new rules about double-yellows, etc., while they don’t do a damn thing about late starting times…

      • All I can say is that in Malaysia it brings the race more solidly into the “thunderstorm” time. Elsewhere, lighting can get a bit dodgy if things are slowed down (sun is low in Melbourne and in the drivers’ eyes, Korea got very dark, etc). This is all considered by Charlie, who can be trusted totally with this decision.

      • OK, thanks… but I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Does Charlie get to sign off on the starting times before hand, or do you mean he just gets to stop the races when he thinks it’s too dark?

        If Charlie said they were flirting with starting the races too late, would they subsequently be scheduled to start an hour or two earlier?

    • They said it was due to fog at the hospital. Also said Jules care was not compromised by this in terms of the road transfer.

    • Other points (and again this is just Ted’s report of the briefing) :
      Massa did not ” scream five times” as he claimed; he made one statement about deteriorating light.
      Green flag that’s been discussed was correctly deployed.

    • “Ted said were shown cctv footage. He reported Charlie spoke & said virtually no drivers lifted under yellows.”

      Damnation, If that is the reality, that makes Perez comment seem like the most honest from the whole lot of them.

  13. What I gained from Perez’s comments was something I think any seasoned F1 follower will have known for a long time – the drivers, being competitive animals, will do the bare minimum when ‘following the rules’ and very often they get away with that.

    Now, with Bianchi’s accident, it has been highlighted that the bare minimum can no longer be acceptable. Speed limit expectations under waved yellow and double waved yellows have to be set by the FIA and enforced via punishment if ignored. If the drivers are then unable to police themselves on this then in-car speed limit systems controlled by Charlie & co should be fitted to automatically trigger an in-car slow down. Very simple.

  14. What I gained from Perez’s comments was something I think any seasoned F1 follower will have known for a long time – the drivers, being competitive animals, will do the bare minimum when ‘following the rules’ and oftepunishment get away with that.

    Now, with Bianchi’s accident, it has been highlighted that the bare minimum can no longer be acceptable. Speed limit expectations under waved yellow and double waved yellows have to be set by the FIA and enforced via punishment if ignored. If the drivers are then unable to police themselves on this then in-car speed limit systems controlled by Charlie & co should be fitted to automatically trigger an in-car slow down. Very simple.

  15. There is no simple solution but for the time being at least the drivers could be told that a section marked by waved yellow flags they employ the pit limiter until they reach a green flag.

    • TRS: You know that is impractical – we’ll have a whole host of staff needed to pore over data and assign penalties – then appeals etc. F1 uses a common ECU – the technology is already available to limit rpm via track side transmitters. Use them!

  16. There has been a lot of comment about the possibility of Bianchi ignoring double yellows in order to improve his track position. But apparently after Sutil went off, Bianchi was 10 second behind the car in front, 10 seconds ahead of the car behind … he was in 18th position … it was near the end of the race … he had zero chance of finishing in the points … zero chance of improving track position … a big chance of crashing out …

    • But by not slowing down as much as the guy in front he ends the race nearer to him, which looks better than being miles behind….. Looks better on the time sheet. He might just also have been instructed to do just that ….

  17. With the risk of straying off topic here may I suggest it’s probably things like this post that lost you your job Gary? A string of calm, clinical tweets and blog posts and suddenly an emotional, subjective rant.( coffee too strong?)

    It’s clear you’re a passionate person and sometimes passion spills over.

    The world used to be run by passionate people – real characters, From politicians to company chairman to head teachers to heads of University departments, we had passionate people in positions of power.

    Now the world is watching it’s back for the string of journalists and litigious lawyers who scrutinise every move and word looking to stigmatise every mistake or cash in on possible libel.

    The upshot is a decaffeinated world where people are put in positions, not for their talent, passion, or even the end result they deliver, but because they are a ‘safe bet’ and tow the party line.

    When Ian replaced you as head medic I believe he had never worked at a motor race. He was probably there rather than you because he was unlikely to put out a passionate tweet or post on a blog, amongst other reasons.

    Keep up the passion Gary. Real characters are a dying breed and the world is becoming a duller place.

    • Thanks Cameron. Only one point – Ian is and was a vastly experienced race doc, and was in fact the Chief Medical Officer of the Silverstone circuit! Appreciate the comments; I think that in some way my firing was due to profound and intense personality conflicts.

      • Apologies to Ian. It was from your Youtube Video I’d heard your successor had little experience of racing. Personality conflicts pretty much sums up what I was saying though. large organisations often surround themselves with people who say things they want to hear. Which often stifles creativity and progress.

      • The guy who replaced me as the decision-maker, the guy who rules on whether the inability of the helicopter to land is important or if a driver can drive after a concussion, had never worked at a race, any race, in any capacity, when he showed up at the first GP of the 2008 season. He now has as many races experience as there have been F1 races since then. He is using F1 as his learning curve. He is a very close personal friend and confidant of jean todt.

  18. I don’t think the issue is drivers being immature speed freaks who don’t want to slow down. It’s a case of if you slow down you lose, you lose you’re done, it’s DTM or WEC for you. If we could find a way to ensure all the drivers slow equally there would not be an issue, achieving this without ruining the racing is the challenge.
    A side note to all of you having a dig at Gary about his language. Firstly, he’s a New Yorker, they speak like that to people they like 😉 Secondly motorsport safety is obviously a passion of his, he is upset by the recent events probably even more than the rest of us. This is his blog, we simply use it to gain some perspective and insight. Think of how grateful we have all been to have him explain the incidents that have befallen Schumacher and Bianchi to us, when so few other reliable sources have been available to us. Is this now forgotten because he said ‘fuck’, a word we all likely use in daily conversation? This isn’t preschool guys.

  19. In every sporting code on the planet it’s up to the regulatory body to ensure compliance with regulations. Not the participants. Blaming the drivers for their culture of ignoring yellows rather than the FIA’s unwillingness to penalise them is completely ridiculous.

    It is also very much the dominion of the FIA to satisfy driver concerns on safety ramifications in the event of an incident like this.

    I would suggest you take several valium, pour yourself a scotch, relax a little and try not to scream at your audience in bold or all caps if you want them to continue reading your blog.

    • So according to this, I need to blame the police for people running red lights? Coz they made the rules but don’t enforce them? That of course is patently ridiculous.

      If we do indeed have to blame the REGULATOR for the failure of the REGULATED to obey, I’m not sure why that should not also be the case in society at large. How is a racing circuit (where track workers risk their lives for ENTERTAINMENT; the regs are written to protect THEM) an environment where the participants are allowed to check their personal responsibility at the door? When I play a round of golf, or tennis, or go to the shooting range, my obeying the safety rules are down to ME. Why oh why should the best drivers in the world be absolved of any decision making, and detached from any consequences of their decisions while they are ENTERTAINING us? They are not defending us from evil nor fighting for our freedom (activities that DO justify deviating from some of society’s rules). They’re driving in a RACE. Risking killing innocents for something as . . . frivolous . . . is shockingly callous of these spoiled little brats.

      Lastly, I’m quite sorry you feel screamed at by my language, choice of case, or typeface. I’ll just say you’ve absurdly misinterpreted who was being scolded. Those offended to the point of no longer reading are entitled to that choice. I have tons of stuff to do today, so I’ll avoid the scotch and valium. Bad combination . . . and not particularly medically recommended.

      • ‘Human factors’ are big part of managing airline safety. They have a lot of psychologists researching all sorts of parameters and behaviours. I’m sure medicine have the same. F1 drivers are trained to shave off tenths and win. Leaving crucial safety decisions down to their discretionary effort and goodwill just won’t happen and we can’t criticise them for this. Jensen Button seems like the nicest guy in the paddock with a very reasoned response to an unfortunate week. But he’s probably without a drive next year. Professional sport is Darwinian. If you are not ruthless then you will be uncompetitive. Yellow flags are a half measure. To take a line from Breaking Bad ‘After that day, there were no more half measures’

      • We should adhere to all regulations and laws. However, when your regulatory body is lax on enforcing them, you can be guaranteed people will also become lax in following them. If the police turn off the red light cameras, people will run the reds more. Eventually someone will get hurt.

        These guys (brats) have spent their lives training to push the limit and are in a competitive environment that is on a different level to your golf course or gun range. Even with the right motivation to slow down, such as Jules’ terrible injury, it will most probably be a matter of time until it happens again without enforcement.

        With your chosen profession and the level of oversight required to maintain medical standards I’m sure you will be used to this, and with your personality, I have a feeling if you were in Perez’ shoes you would be asking some hard questions of the authority too.

        Ps. Good call on the chill pill.

      • Well, in reality there are 2 sets of rules: the rules that live in a book somewhere, and the “rules on the ground” that are actually enforced. The latter determines which set of behaviors are accepted and acceptable within the culture. The fact that drivers were permitted over time to do nothing about double-yellows except “lift a little” means that is what became the accepted norm. “Lifting a little” became part of the culture. It seems goofy to somehow insist that’s the fault of the drivers. It’s exactly what one would expect.

        While the risks are not in the least comparable, perhaps an example from baseball will serve. Pitchers need to throw strikes. The rule book defines what the strike zone is. However, in reality the umpires call a strike zone that’s different than what the rule book says it is. Which strike zone do you think pitchers tailor their pitches to? Same basic thing applies here. To expect otherwise is just not realistic.

  20. This situation for me is what social scientists like to call a “collective action” problem. Everyone would be better off if everyone obeyed the existing rules, but the fact that everyone knows it’s possible their competitors won’t obey the rules (and that they’ll therefore be put at a disadvantage) means there’s a negative reinforcement cycle. Nobody wants to be the guy who suffers a serious accident, but nobody wants to be the guy who slows down more than everybody else (the guy who loses time, points, and potentially loses his seat in the sport if you’re racing at the back of the field).

    We should be able to trust the drivers to take responsibility for themselves, but sometimes we have to deal with the world as it is rather than the way it should be. In this case I think the only answer to that is to more strictly enforce the existing rules and that probably means taking some of the discretion out of it (and making an example of a few drivers by dishing out penalties).

    • It’s all down to defining ‘winning’ 😀

      If we define winning purely in terms of the race, then in present circumstances, in fact, it’s pretty much the game theory concept called the Prisoner’s Dilemma.'s_dilemma

      If you can absolutely guarantee everyone else will cooperate with the spirit of the double yellows, cooperation is a winning strategy (as slowing down affects everyone the same), and it’s a better win because as well as winning in race terms, you win in terms of reducing risk.

      If you can’t guarantee that everyone will cooperate, then it’s a winning strategy not to slow down, as the worst that can happen is everyone doesn’t, but if someone /does/ cooperate with the rules you’ll win over them.

      The thing is, we can give Charlie a magic button that forces people to cooperate.

  21. maybe I’m a bit dumb but everything arises form the discretionality in evaluating the speed ‘to be ready to stop’ so they try to be a little quicker than correct. I make a proposal: let’s put every 200m all over the track the same speed panes and speed traps as at the entrance of the boxes or like in the normal morotways when there are men at work. let’s say that when the double yellow is out those panes light on and say 100km/h for all and let’s say that who do not respect the speed limit wins a fanstastic stop and go. in this way we oblige those stupid guys to go slow and we do not allow anybody of them to take advantage of going ‘a little quicker’ we should see at that point also fantastic decelarations.
    what do you think?

    • I would go further and (under any new hazard flag enforcement rules) adopt a zero tolerance policy – immediate disqualification from the event and the application of penalty points on the driver’s super licence.

      I think F1 drivers and their teams, who (unless this has changed with the new commercial agreements) earn prize money for every championship point, would quickly change their behaviour if such infringements had meaningful consequences…

  22. First time comment but really enjoying the blog Gary. Thanks for the insight.

    I have to confess, in the immediate aftermath of the accident, my view was that the tractor should not be allowed in front of the barriers until the race is neutralised by the safety car. However, on reflection it is clear that there is a culture in F1 of ignoring the warning flags or at least trying to get away with doing the absolute minimum. Having seen the speed at which Bianchi was travelling when he hit the tractor, it is clear that he was going way too fast for the conditions under double waved yellows. Nobody wants to point the finger at Jules himself and say the accident was self inflicted and I don’t think it would be fair to do so. No single driver is responsible for this culture of semi-ignoring the warning flags. This is not a new thing either. I remember back in 1993 seeing footage of Senna piling into the aftermath of an accident involving Derek Warwick. There was a clip after the incident of, I think, Ron Dennis saying to Senna, “You’re supposed to slow down”. Senna’s reply: “I did slow down, just not enough”.

    We can’t necessarily blame the drivers for trying to get away with slowing down as little as possible. The nature of F1 is to push the regulations to the limit to gain an advantage.

    Aside from a technical solution that allows the cars speed to be restricted outside of the driver’s control, then the only option I can see is to start enforcing a zero tolerance view on drivers who don’t slow down enough. But the problem here is how do we define what is ‘enough’. For it to be an enforceable rule (with punishments for infringement) there has to be a defined speed that the drivers must be beneath. But then the problem is where are the boundaries on track in which the drivers cannot exceed this limit? Without clear boundaries, it again becomes almost impossible to police.

    It seems we cannot rely on the discretion of the drivers when there is so much time in a race to be gained or lost. A technology solution seems to be the only way we can enforce sensible speeds under caution zones. I hope this is something that can be realised in the near future.

    • Another classic ignoring the flags was Alonso in Brazil.
      Where Webber went off at the last corner, the saftey car was deployed and Alonso who was trying to beat the saftey car out of the pit lane went full chat into the wreckage of Webbers accident injuring himself in the prosess..

      • And funny enough, even though the full circuit was under yellows and SC boards, what Fernando did was perfectly legal under current SC procedures. Once race control has said that lapped cars my catch the back of the pack, these guys are CHARGING around the circuit full out, despite the circuit being “controlled” by the SC.

  23. So Sergio, that’ll be common sense out of the window. If that is the prevailing attitude then I think the marshals should just pack up and go home till ‘just a lifetime for Charlie’ become slowing down before I kill someone.

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