Mystery crash (Virgin race review)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The most bizarre moment of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend was surely Lucas di Grassi’s crash on the way to the grid before the race began – something neither he nor the team have fully explained.

Timo Glock Lucas di Grassi
Qualifying position 22 21
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’36.332 (+0.067) 1’36.265
Race position 14
Average race lap 1’48.250
Laps 51/53 0/53
Pit stops 2 0

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Timo Glock

The team couldn’t match Lotus’s pace at Suzuka – Glock qualified one second behind Trulli.

They had particular problems with the soft tyre, which led to Glock making two pit stops behind the safety car to get rid of it.

He ended up behind Sakon Yamamoto and couldn’t find a way by until the HRT had pitted.

That left Glock 14th, matching the teams’ best result so far this year. But they still need at minimum two more 15th-place finishes to move ahead of HRT and off the bottom of the constructors’ championship table.

Compare Timo Glock’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lucas di Grassi

Had to surrender his participation in the first practice session to Jerome d’Ambrosio again. Nonetheless he was fractionally quicker than Glock in qualifying.

But he failed to start the race after crashing heavily at 130R while driving to the grid. Video shows the car snapping out of control and crashing heavily into the barriers.

Team principal John Booth gave the impression the crash was caused by driver error:

We have studied all the information from his car and there is no indication of a failure.
John Booth

Compare Lucas di Grassi’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Japanese Grand Prix articles

17 comments on “Mystery crash (Virgin race review)”

  1. It was a really strange crash. I am interested in what really happened there, seems the team will be just as curious

    1. Yeah, there still doesn’t seem to be any great explanation.

      1. Which to me seems to point to something embarrassing that the team doesn’t like to admit. Could be a silly driver error.

  2. It looks to me as though the back end started to step out and Di Grassi went to correct, and as he did the car regained grip and flicked him off to the right quite violently.

    I think ultimately it was driver error, not car failure.

  3. Martin Brundle’s article on the BBC website seems to suggest that the wind at Suzuka may have played a part in Di Grassi’s mysterious accident. As good an explanation as any!

  4. Yet another mystery that could so easily be solved… ONBOARD CAMERAS! I am getting very tired of this now.

  5. I don’t see how an onboard camera view would solve the mystery.

    1. Because you can see the steering corrections, it might shed some light as to what happened and DiGrassis response..

      1. Also, Telemetry.

  6. It looked to me like it was some kind of failure of the right rear. In the brief shot of the rear of the car before it hit the wall it looked like the camber of the wheel was very odd, could just have been the angle and lighting though.

  7. The swedish expert comentator Eje Elgh thought the car bottomed out because of the high fuel level and the bumps in 130R, following a gamble or misjudgement in qualifying when they wanted as low ride high as possible. At least I think he said something like that.

  8. From the BBC coverage I wondered if he was over the white line a little before losing the back end. The car following certainly wasn’t on the same racing line as Di Grassi.

  9. Anyone come across any other footage of it yet?

  10. you’d think that from over 150 sensors, they’d have enough telemetry/data to quickly identify a mechanical failure. so yeah, i’m guessing it’s either the wind or outright driver failure.

  11. I think Di Grassi deserves the David Coulthard Award for this crash. :D

  12. “[Lucas Di Grassi] nonetheless started right behind his team mate”

    But he out-qualified Glock? It’s a shame Di Grassi didn’t get to race as this is the only the second time he’s out-qualified Timo.

    1. Indeed he did, have changed the text.

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