FIA race director Charlie Whiting says that “nothing could have been done better” in response to Jules Bianchi's crash in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Whiting has delivered an initial report to FIA president Jean Todt, with a full investigation in to the accident still to follow. However, while Whiting said lessons can be learned from the accident itself
, he said the immediate response was carried out exactly to plan.
“An accident on the track is well covered, of course,” Whiting said. “I think the way in which the marshals reacted, the safety car and the medical car got there in very quick time, the extracation vehicle was dispatched correctly, the ambulance came; nothing could have been done better at the circuit. It's a procedure that we have in place and we know exactly what to do under those circumstances.”
Bianchi left the track at high speed while marshals were recovering Adrian Sutil's stricken Sauber, striking a recover tractor and suffering a severe head injury. Regarding the lack of a safety car to clear Sutil's car, Whiting said the FIA followed “normal procedure” in that situation.
“We put double waved yellows out because we felt that the incident could be dealt with without using the safety car. The next stage up is a safety car of course, but because the car was well away from track, against the tyre barrier, that's the normal procedure for us to follow under those circumstances. So we didn't see the need for the safety car.”
And Whiting confirmed that he did advise the race organisers that an earlier start time would give the race a better chance of being completed, but said he doesn't believe the time the race was run had any bearing on the accident that occurred.
“The race start time is not really a matter for the FIA. I did suggest to the organisers that they might want to consider doing it earlier in order to get the race in because the forecast was worse than it actually turned out to be. They didn't want to do that. I warned them that we wouldn't run the race unless it was safe to run and that there was a high probability that we wouldn't have a race, but they said 'No, we want to stick with the 3 o'clock race start time'.
“For me, the race start time is entirely unconnected to the incidents in question.”
When asked if he felt the FIA should have more power other than an advisory role when it comes to the race start time, Whiting replied: “Not really, no, because I don't think it actually effects safety as such. We still run the race according to the conditions whatever the time of day.”