Skip to main content

F1: Jules Bianchi, Maria de Villota And The Lessons To Be Learned

The sad news that Jules Bianchi had succumbed to his Japanese Grand Prix injuries at the weekend was not altogether unexpected, but that didn't reduce the shock at all. Just like in May 1994 a whole generation of F1 fans who had grown up in a period where the sport was practically injury free got a wake up call. Those heroes that we worship week in and week out are just one tiny alignment of bad circumstances from being taken from us in the most violent manner.
As in 1994 those commentators who talked about Bianchi's death as being the first in the sport for over two decades gave no thought to a driver killed in testing. In 1994 it was Elio de Angeles, whose death was one of the most senseless in modern F1, this year it was Maria de Villota, who died as a consequence of injuries received fifteenth months previously in a 2012 accident that bore eerie similarities to Bianchi's.
Both were driving for the Marissa team, both struck course vehicles and both suffered neurological trauma that was to end their lives.
The lesson that service vehicles in the path of racing cars was a fatal combination should have been learned after that accident at Duxford. Instead it took Bianchi's Suzuka accident before changes were made. One wonders whether de Villota's accident was actually taken at all seriously by the FIA?
None of this will bring Jules back to us. As a sport we have lost a fine competitor and a potential World Champion; the Bianchi family have lost a son and a young man with his whole life ahead of him.
It is impossible to make F1 100% safe, however for a sport with the financial and technical resources that it musters, it is absolutely essential to review and model potential outcomes for any unusual accident and address any issues that are uncovered.
That should be the legacy of this sad weekend.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.