9 October 2014
F1 Russian Grand Prix: Drivers want answers on Bianchi crash
Sergio Perez says “all the drivers are together” in wanting full clarification from the FIA as to the events that led to Jules Bianchi's accident in the Japanese Grand Prix
Sergio Perez says “all the drivers are together” in wanting full clarification from the FIA as to the events that led to Jules Bianchi's accident in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital after suffering a diffuse axonal injury when he left the track and hit a recovery tractor at Suzuka. Admitting that it's tough for the drivers to focus on racing again in the Russian Grand Prix this weekend, Perez said they were united in calling for an understanding of what occurred in order to prevent a repeat in future.
“It's very difficult,” Perez said. “I'm here with you guys but all the time your subconscious is thinking about our friend Jules. What happened this Sunday was a big shock for all of us. For everyone who is involved in the F1 paddock it's a big shock. You always realise that the risk is there but you always think that it cannot happen to you, it will not happen to you. But when you see that it happened to a guy who was next to you last Sunday and now he's not with you – he's in a very difficult situation – that makes you think a lot of things.
“You know these things are always there, and that's why we have to work as the drivers with the FIA to improve what happened on Sunday. We want clarification on what happened, all the drivers are together and we want to know what happened. I think it's pointless me talking more about what happened because we want to know full detail. The FIA is doing the investigation so at least me, together with some drivers, want to have full clarification on what happened and how we could have avoided it.
“We are waiting for the investigations. We want to know what happened – I want to know what happened – and we are waiting for the investigations to come through. Obviously we want an explanation on what happened.”
And Perez said the incident has shown that F1 can never rest on its laurels with regards to safety.
“None of us can be happy with safety because there is always things that we can improve. We cannot not rest on anything and what happened to Jules is proof. For the good of him, for the good of his family we need to really move forward in terms of safety on what happened to Jules. We want to go forward, we have to improve what happened to Jules. Hopefully in the future you will never see an accident like this in the whole of Formula One; being a tractor there and then a car colliding with it cannot happen. We cannot have this.”
Definitively, Perez said a safety car should be compulsory if there is a recovery vehicle or marshals on track.
"In the future, when there is a tractor picking up a car, we need a safety car, no matter the conditions because there is always a risk. You expose the marshals, a lot of people, so we need a safety car if the tractor is on track. You could have people run out of brakes, so many factors you never expect, and if the tractor is there it's a big problem. You don't want to expose anyone like that. We have to take care of the marshals."
Explaining how difficult Turn 7 – where Bianchi crashed – was at Suzuka, Perez admitted the drivers' competitive instincts take over in a yellow flag zone and believes the FIA needs a solution to control speed in such situations.
“As a driver you know that you have to show a lift to the FIA, so it's what you do; you try to do that lift to prove that you are lifting. But if we are all honest we know that we want to lift as little as possible and go as fast as possible through there, showing a lift. So it's something that probably in those conditions doesn't really work and the conditions were so difficult out there, so maybe the yellow flag didn't work at all because the conditions were extremely difficult.
“I think that corner was the most difficult corner on the circuit. It was very difficult. I remember all the laps I did I was going on power and I knew always when the aquaplaning was coming – I always had aquaplaning out of there – so as soon as I got aquaplaning I started to apply the power again. But it was the same situation all the race and obviously when the rain started to increase things got worse.”
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