SHARE

The death of Jules Bianchi was tough for the sport, fans and Marrusia team to emotionally handle but perhaps no one has suffered the impact quite like that of a parent and it seems the family are now starting legal action against everyone involved.

According to reports, the Bianchi family have filed a suit against the FIA, Marussia and the Formula One Group. Jules Bianchi died nine months after sustaining injuries during the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014. Bianchi’s father, Philippe, said:

“We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son’s crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.

“As a family, we have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules’ accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made.”

Ultimately the legal team for the Bianchi family are out to show negligence on the part of F1 and the FIA (interestingly it didn’t call in to account the Suzuka circuit as usually here in the States, these kinds of suits implicate anyone remotely involved).

The FIA’s investigation begat several safety measure including the now pervasive Virtual Safety Car system or VSC which freezes the entire field upon a caution and penalizes drivers who do not immediately slow down. Still, the report implicated Bianchi as being at fault. The family don’t agree.

It’s a tough situation. You can certainly feel for the Bianchi’s having lost their son and I can’t imagine the pain they must be feeling over this. It’s also a dangerous sport and drivers know that up front. Having said that, if the family can prove negligence on the part of the FIA or FOG, that could change things.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

SHARE
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • MIE

    Appendix H of the International Sporting Code has the following words describing yellow flag signals from marshals posts:

    “This is a signal of danger and should be shown to drivers in two
    ways with the following meanings:
    – Single waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake, and be
    prepared to change direction. There is a hazard beside or
    partly on the track.
    – Double waved: Reduce your speed significantly, do not
    overtake, and be prepared to change direction or stop.
    There is a hazard wholly or partly blocking the track and/or
    marshals working on or beside the track.”

    Jules Bianchi was just ahead of Sutil when he went off the track causing the double waved yellows to be shown to protect the marshals recovering the stranded Sauber. He was the last driver to pass the double aged yellows. He did not slow enough to be able to change direction or stop.

    Any responsibility the FIA have is down to the practice of not penalizing drivers for passing single and double waved yellows without slowing sufficiently. However, Bianchi knew the meaning of the flags and chose not to slow sufficiently.
    The virtual safety car was introduced to try and Force drivers to slow sufficiently, however if a driver chose to drive too fast then the accident could be repeated. Ultimately the driver has to take some responsibility for their actions.

    • Paul KieferJr

      What is “reduce your speed’? What’s the difference between “reduce your speed” and “reduce your speed significantly”? Without a specific MPH (or KPH if you prefer), these are pretty nebulous terms and can be chopped to bits in court by a lawyer who is worth his or her salt. “To be able to change direction or stop”? Again, what specific MPH/KPH is deemed legally sufficiently slow to do that? And can that change depending on driving conditions? If so, how?

      • MIE

        The key words are change direction or stop. The speed will be different depending on the weather and how far the driver can see ahead. The obstruction could be on the track ahead, the driver has to make the decision.

        • Shocks&Awe

          I don’t think the arguments have anything to do with the safety car period. They have to do with the decision to run the race in the first place, and the use of the ambulance instead of the medical helicopter.

  • eggoman

    It’s tough to blame a dead guy for his own death in a this particular situation. Drivers will always drive as fast as they can even with double yellow flags waving. Difficult case, but I hope we get more insight because if I remember correctly, there were a lot of open questions you guys talked about in the podcasts following the release of the official report of the accident.

  • Steven Boyd

    I believe one of the factors the family’s argument will be addressing is why the race was run in the first place. Everyone should look at Gary Harstein’s opinion on this matter, which can be found on his blog, as he has said this issue was not going to go away due to the FIA violating their own rules in order to run the race. The medical helicopter was grounded due to the weather. Apparently a race cannot be run under these circumstances, and they did anyways. I remember Niki Lauda saying he didn’t agree with the decision to run the race. It looks as if the FIA has a massive problem on their hands. I am also curious as to why the radio transcript from the team to Jules has been locked down. Unfortunate for all involved.