Damon Hill

How Brundle’s 1994 Suzuka crash mirrored Bianchi’s

1994 Japanese Grand Prix flashbackPosted on | Author Keith Collantine



The dreadful events of this year’s Japanese Grand Prix were foreshadowed by what happened in the same race 20 years ago.

A crash at the Dunlop Curve during a rain-hit race left a marshal with a broken leg, in circumstances which had much in common with the incident this year which left Jules Bianchi with severe head injuries.

In both cases, a car was being recovered by marshals at the corner when another driver lost control and went into the crash scene. In 1994 it was Martin Brundle, who feared for his life as he narrowly missed a tractor which was moving Morbidelli’s car. Twenty years later, Bianchi was not so fortunate.

The ongoing FIA investigation into Bianchi’s crash will no doubt question whether enough attention was paid to the circumstances of Brundle’s accident and whether the correct lessons were drawn from it twenty years ago.

The 1994 Japanese Grand Prix saw a timely victory for Damon Hill, which brought him back within one point of Michael Schumacher with a single race remaining.

Benetton bolster their driver line-up

Although Benetton had retaken the lead in the constructors’ championship from Williams at the previous round, they remained uneasy about their position. Most of their 97 points had been scored by Schumacher, and rivals Williams could now rely on the services of Nigel Mansell alongside Damon Hill until the end of the season.

Benetton decided to bolster their own line-up by replacing Jos Verstappen with Johnny Herbert. He had started the season with Lotus, but after the team entered administration Herbert’s contract was sold to Ligier. That team had been bought by Flavio Briatore at mid-season, and following a successful test Herbert was announced as Schumacher’s team mate for the final two races. There was a degree of irony to the development, as Herbert had made his F1 debut for Benetton five years earlier, before being dropped by Briatore.

Herbert’s place at Ligier was taken by Franck Lagorce, who was reunited with Olivier Panis, his Formula 3000 team mate of the previous season. There were two more debutants on the grid – Mika Salo in Herbert’s old seat at Lotus and local driver Taki Inoue at Simtek, in the seat originally occupied by Roland Ratzenberger.

Suzuka should have seen the return of Karl Wendlinger, who had suffered severe injuries in a crash at Monaco. After a test at Paul Ricard in wet conditions Wendlinger decided he was fit enough to return, but a further test in dry weather at the Circuit de Catalunya saw him pull over after just 15 laps with neck pains.

While Wendlinger returned to his rehabilitation, the Sauber team scrambled to raise their previous substitute driver Andrea de Cesaris. However De Cesaris was indulging his passion for windsurfing at an unspecified location, so the team turned instead to its 1993 driver JJ Lehto, who returned to the grid following his brief stint as Schumacher’s replacement in Italy and Portugal.

Hill under pressure

Damon HillSchumacher arrived in Japan with a chance to clinch the championship if he took another win and Hill failed to place higher than third. This seemed a distinct possibility after the Benetton driver led the way during the first day of practice and qualifying.

Meanwhile Hill, who had suffered a high-speed crash during testing at Estoril a few days earlier, was struggling. After a terse exchange with Patrick Head he marched to the Williams motorhome, telling the assembled British press he had nothing to say.

Behind Hill, Mansell was relegated to fourth-quickest by Heinz-Harald Frentzen. All was not well with ‘red two’ either. Acutely aware that he was competing for a seat at Williams the following year with a man 18 years his junior, Mansell had David Coulthard barred from entering his garage during the race weekend. Making light of the situation Jochen Maas, a former team mate of Schumacher’s, constructed a ‘Coulthard banned’ sign which appeared in Mansell’s garage.

But on Saturday morning the Williams pair, buoyed by set-up tweaks to their FW16Bs, looked a more potent force. The stage was set for a qualifying showdown between them and Schumacher – until the rain arrived.

1994 Japanese Grand Prix qualifying

Suzuka, which was holding Japan’s second round of the 1994 championship, was one of few circuits in 1994 to escape major modifications following the Imola crashes. It had been resurfaced, and kerbs and bumps had been eased around the track, but then as now Suzuka’s compact nature offered little scope for alteration and limited run-off space.

Rubens Barrichello discovered this during the soaked second qualifying session when he suffered his biggest crash since his Imola scare. His Jordan hit a puddle and aquaplaned into a barrier on the sweeping approach to Spoon Curve, forcing the session to be red-flagged. Later in the session Herbert also spun his Benetton into a barrier.

This was all in vain as the track was too wet to allow any further improvements and, unlike at Spa, it did not dry out quickly enough. That meant Schumacher took his sixth pole position of the year – his only trouble all day coming when he locked his brakes while avoiding an out-of-control Inoue during the morning session.

Herbert’s predecessors at Benetton had been almost two seconds slower than Schumacher on average in qualifying over the season so far. At his first attempt he got closer than any of them, taking fifth on the grid, 0.6 seconds off the championship leader. He shared the third row with Eddie Irvine – the driver who had wrecked his and Lotus’s hopes in Italy.

Having put his Tyrrell on the third row three times already in 1994, Ukyo Katayama had high hopes of doing the same in front of his home crowd. A disappointing 14th behind his team mate left him teary-eyed.

The struggles of fellow Japanese driver Inoue presented an opportunity for Pacific to get a car on the grid for the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix nine rounds earlier. But Saturday’s rain dashed Bertrand Gachot’s hopes.

1994 Japanese Grand Prix grid

Row 1 1. Michael Schumacher 1’37.209
Benetton-Ford
2. Damon Hill 1’37.696
Williams-Renault
Row 2 3. Heinz-Harald Frentzen 1’37.742
Sauber-Mercedes
4. Nigel Mansell 1’37.768
Williams-Renault
Row 3 5. Johnny Herbert 1’37.828
Benetton-Ford
6. Eddie Irvine 1’37.880
Jordan-Hart
Row 4 7. Jean Alesi 1’37.907
Ferrari
8. Mika Hakkinen 1’37.998
McLaren-Peugeot
Row 5 9. Martin Brundle 1’38.076
McLaren-Peugeot
10. Rubens Barrichello 1’38.533
Jordan-Hart
Row 6 11. Gerhard Berger 1’38.570
Ferrari
12. Gianni Morbidelli 1’39.030
Footwork-Ford
Row 7 13. Mark Blundell 1’39.266
Tyrrell-Yamaha
14. Ukyo Katayama 1’39.462
Tyrrell-Yamaha
Row 8 15. JJ Lehto 1’39.483
Sauber-Mercedes
16. Pierluigi Martini 1’39.548
Minardi-Ford
Row 9 17. Alessandro Zanardi 1’39.721
Lotus-Mugen-Honda
18. Christian Fittipaldi 1’39.868
Footwork-Ford
Row 10 19. Olivier Panis 1’40.042
Ligier-Renault
20. Franck Lagorce 1’40.577
Ligier-Renault
Row 11 21. Michele Alboreto 1’40.652
Minardi-Ford
22. Erik Comas 1’40.978
Larrousse-Ford
Row 12 23. Hideki Noda 1’40.990
Larrousse-Ford
24. David Brabham 1’41.659
Simtek-Ford
Row 13 25. Mika Salo 1’41.805
Lotus-Mugen-Honda
26. Taki Inoue 1’45.004
Simtek-Ford

Did not qualifying

Bertrand Gachot, Pacific-Ilmor – 1’46.374
Paul Belmondo, Pacific-Ilmor – 1’46.629

1994 Japanese Grand Prix

Before the race a ceremony was held in memory of Ayrton Senna with members of his family arriving in a helicopter painted in the late racer’s helmet colours. The track where Senna won all three of his championship titles was experiencing the kind of conditions associated with some of his greatest wins. The sky was dark, the rain incessant, the track almost flooded. The 15th race of the 1994 season would be the first held in wet conditions.

The potential safety hazards that raised weighed on the minds of some of the drivers. Martin Brundle, who had survived a nasty crash in Brazil and been an active participant in the reformed Grand Prix Drivers’ Association following Imola, raised one such concern in the pre-race drivers’ briefing. He had been alarmed by the use of tractors and similar vehicles to remove stranded cars while sessions were live, and warned of the serious consequences which could follow if an F1 car hit one of them. These turned out to be prophetic words.

The race began with a standing start. From pole position Schumacher swerved into Hill’s path but it made no difference to the Williams driver, who was struggling with wheelspin. He managed to hold off Frenzten on the run down to turn one but Mansell in the other Williams fell to sixth.

Frentzen took himself out of contention on the second lap, skidding off the track while trying to pass Hill and rejoining behind Mansell. But now the conditions got even worse.

Hail was beginning to fall and Schumacher’s car twitched alarmingly as he began the third lap with Hill one second behind. The conditions became so bad the Safety Car was deployed – but by the time Benetton warned Herbert he had already hit the deepening water on the pit straight and spun into a barrier. Brundle whizzed past, narrowly missing Herbert’s car.

Two more drivers aquaplaned at the same spot as Herbert: Katayama spun into the pit wall and as he climbed out of his car Inoue spun out at the same spot, almost hitting the Tyrrell. With Hideki Noda already out the entire Japanese contingent had been eliminated within three laps.

After seven laps the wreckage had been cleared and the rain had begun to ease, so the race was restarted. But in little time there were more damaged cars strewn around the track.

Lagorce almost lost control of his Ligier on the pit straight, backed off, and was hit by Pierluigi Martini with such force that the Ligier’s gearbox touched the screen on the cockpit of the Minardi. Martini’s team mate Michele Alboreto spun into retirement as he tried to avoid them.

Brundle’s nightmare realised

By this stage the conditions were appalling. Mansell described them as being worse than the 1989 and 1991 Australian Grands Prix – the latter had been abandoned after just 14 laps.

Brundle was also becoming worried: “I was on the radio screaming ‘get the [Safety] car out’. He was running sixth ahead of team mate Mika Hakkinen and Gianni Morbidelli. But on lap 14 the Footwork driver aquaplaned off at the Dunlop Curve and slammed into the barrier, ripping both his front wheels off.

When Brundle came around on the next lap his nightmare scenario unfolded. The marshals recovering Morbidelli’s car had brought a recovery vehicle onto the run-off area as well as an estate car. Yellow flags were being waved, and although Brundle said he saw them at the last moment and lifted off, it was too late: “My car got away from me on exactly the same puddle that Morbidelli’s got away from him.”

The McLaren was heading straight for the Morbidelli crash scene. The Accord reversed clear but Brundle saw a blue caterpillar tractor looming in front of him. “I thought that was the moment that I was going to die,” he said. But by desperately pumping the brake pedal he managed to rotate his McLaren enough to miss the tractor.

However he was unable to prevent his car from hitting one of the men working at the scene of Morbidelli’s crash. As he climbed from his McLaren the horrified Brundle discovered the man lying on the ground with a broken leg, the bone protruding through his overalls.

The race was red-flagged while an ambulance was despatched to the crash scene. As the cars reassembled on the grid, most of the drivers climbed out to have their say in the discussion over whether the race should be restarted.

Schumacher leads on aggregate

When the race resumed 20 minutes later it was to be run as an aggregate of its two parts. Under the rules of the time, this meant laps 14 and 15 were struck, and a new formation lap was run. These three laps would not count towards the final distance, which was reduced to 50.

Crucially, in terms of the championship, it meant Schumacher would run the second part of the race still holding the 6.8 second advantage he had over Hill at he end of lap 13. But this would also prove a problem for him, as drivers were not allowed to refuel on the grid, and he had been getting close to his first pit stop.

The race resumed behind the Safety Car and by lap 18 Schumacher was in for his first of two pit stops. He rejoined the track behind Hakkinen and this proved crucial. He had also been held up behind the McLaren driver in Jerez, but on that occasion Hakkinen had been a lap down. This time they were racing for position, and over the next six laps Schumacher lost 15 seconds to the fuel-light Hill while stuck in Hakkinen’s spray.

For the first time in 1994 Benetton’s fuel tactics were working against them. The race stoppage meant Schumacher’s time advantage over Hill was only theoretical – it did not help him keep out of traffic. But even so the Williams driver was flying.

Hill’s three-wheel pit stop

Hill had problems of his own. At his sole pit stop on lap 25 his right-rear wheel was stuck so it was left unchanged. Hill was unaware of this decision, and the tyre began to blister towards the end of the race.

He rejoined the track behind his team mate, who was providing the best action of the race in his efforts to deprive Jean Alesi of third place. Time and again Mansell drew alongside the Ferrari, only to have to tuck back into its wake.

Schumacher made his final pit stop on lap 40, with ten remaining, setting up a thrilling sprint to the finish which would take the form of a time trial. All he had to do was close Hill’s lead sufficiently that he would jump ahead of the Williams on aggregate time – he didn’t even need to pass Hill on track.

Schumacher had 14.5 seconds to make up immediately after his pit stop and his first laps after his pit stop showed it was going to be nail-bitingly close. On lap 43 he took 2.2 seconds out of Hill and the gap was down to 11.9. The next time by it was down to 10 seconds – Schumacher was gaining, but at an ever slower rate.

On the penultimate lap Schumacher took 1.8 seconds out of Hill and was 2.4 seconds behind. With a big push from Schumacher, or traffic for Hill, the result could swing on the final lap. But throwing caution to the wind, Hill drove his final lap on the ragged edge, lowering his lap time by a second while Schumacher’s pace relented. The victory was Hill’s by 3.3 seconds.

Alesi decided to avoid the risk of a tangle at the chicane by letting Mansell past on the last lap – the 1992 world champion punched the air as he crossed the finishing line, regardless of the fact he would remain fourth on aggregate. The same was true for Hakkinen who led Frentzen home but officially finished behind him. This was a frustration no F1 driver would know again, as the aggregate time rules were later abolished.

1994 Japanese Grand Prix result

Pos. # Driver Team Laps Time/Gap/Reason
1 0 Damon Hill Williams-Renault 50 1hr 55’53.532
2 5 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford 50 3.365
3 27 Jean Alesi Ferrari 50 52.045
4 2 Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault 50 56.074
5 15 Eddie Irvine Jordan-Hart 50 1’42.107
6 30 Heina-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Mercedes 50 1’59.863
7 7 Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Peugeot 50 2’02.985
8 9 Christian Fittipaldi Footwork-Ford 49 1 lap
9 20 Erik Comas Larrousse-Ford 49 1 lap
10 11 Mika Salo Lotus-Mugen-Honda 49 1 lap
11 26 Olivier Panis Ligier-Renault 49 1 lap
12 31 David Brabham Simtek-Ford 48 2 laps
13 12 Alessandro Zanardi Lotus-Mugen-Honda 48 2 laps
4 Mark Blundell Tyrrell-Yamaha 26 Engine
14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Hart 16 Gearbox
8 Martin Brundle McLaren-Peugeot 13 Accident
10 Gianni Morbidelli Footwork-Ford 13 Accident
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari 10 Ignition
25 Franck Lagorce Ligier-Renault 10 Accident
23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 10 Accident
24 Michele Alboreto Minardi-Ford 10 Accident
6 Johnny Herbert Benetton-Ford 3 Accident
3 Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 3 Accident
32 Taki Inoue Simtek-Ford 3 Accident
29 JJ Lehto Sauber-Mercedes 0 Engine
19 Hideki Noda Larrousse-Ford 0 Accident

1994 Drivers’ championship points

Hill knew his victory didn’t just improve his chances of winning the championship at the title-deciding round in Adelaide, it also gave his title charge added credibility.

“This is the first time that Michael has been beaten fair and square all season,” said Hill. It was his sixth win of the year, but Schumacher had been penalised at Silverstone and Spa, barred from competing at Monza and Estoril, and suffered a gearbox glitch at the Circuit de Catalunya.

But with the final just a week away, Hill had proved he could beat Schumacher on merit, and now there was just one point in it.

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/1994drivercolours.csv

Brazil Pacific San Marino Monaco Spain Canada France Britain Germany Hungary Belgium Italy Portugal Europe Japan
Michael Schumacher 10 20 30 40 46 56 66 66 66 76 76 76 76 86 92
Damon Hill 6 6 7 7 17 23 29 39 39 45 55 65 75 81 91
Gerhard Berger 0 6 6 10 10 13 17 17 27 27 27 33 33 35 35
Mika Hakkinen 0 0 4 4 4 4 4 8 8 8 14 18 22 26 26
Jean Alesi 4 4 4 6 9 13 13 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 23
Rubens Barrichello 3 7 7 7 7 7 7 10 10 10 10 13 16 16 16
David Coulthard 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 4 4 4 7 8 14 14 14
Martin Brundle 0 0 0 6 6 6 6 6 6 9 9 11 12 12 12
Jos Verstappen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 8 10 10 10
Mark Blundell 0 0 0 0 4 4 4 4 4 6 8 8 8 8 8
Olivier Panis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 7 7 7 7 7 7
Heinz-Harald Frentzen 0 2 2 2 2 2 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 7
Nicola Larini 0 0 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Christian Fittipaldi 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Eddie Irvine 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 6
Ukyo Katayama 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Eric Bernard 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Karl Wendlinger 1 1 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Andrea de Cesaris 0 0 0 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Pierluigi Martini 0 0 0 0 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Nigel Mansell 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Gianni Morbidelli 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
Erik Comas 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Michele Alboreto 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
JJ Lehto 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1994 Constructors’ championship points

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/1994teamcolours.csv

Brazil Pacific San Marino Monaco Spain Canada France Britain Germany Hungary Belgium Italy Portugal Europe Japan
Williams 6 6 7 7 17 25 31 43 43 49 62 73 89 95 108
Benetton 10 20 30 40 46 57 67 67 67 81 85 85 87 97 103
Ferrari 4 10 16 22 25 32 36 42 52 52 52 58 58 60 64
McLaren 0 0 4 10 10 10 10 14 14 17 23 29 34 38 38
Jordan 3 7 7 10 11 11 11 14 14 14 14 17 20 23 25
Tyrrell 2 2 4 4 8 8 8 9 9 11 13 13 13 13 13
Sauber 1 3 6 6 6 6 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 12
Ligier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 11 11 11 11 11 11
Footwork 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 8 8 9 9 9 9 9
Minardi 0 0 0 1 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Larrousse 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

NB. While most of these 1994 season retrospective articles have been published on the twentieth anniversary of each race, this one has been run early due to anticipated time constraints next week.

Image © Williams/LAT

28 comments on “How Brundle’s 1994 Suzuka crash mirrored Bianchi’s”

  1. Brundle should just be given the reigns to F1. He’ll get it fixed.

    1. @repete86 Hahaha. One of the most mercenary F1 drivers, he was also a vocal critic of the BBC/Sky TV rights split, only to go straight to the latter once the money was right.

      He’d fit right in…

      1. He never criticised SKY, he was critical of the situation that lead to the TV rights being removed from free to air TV. He’s a commentator, one of the best F1 has ever had, so why shouldn’t he work for SKY when they’re the only ones with the rights to broadcast all of the races live ?
        Who wouldn’t have done as he did in the same circumstances ?
        If your employer announced that they couldn’t afford to keep operating at the same level and will be cutting production and giving up commercial rights to a competitor to save money would you stay with them or go take a job with the competition ?

        All drviers are mercenary, they go where the best opportunities are and anyone claiming othetwise is either naive and woefully misinformed or lying.

        1. @beneboy I never said he criticised Sky either. I just hated how he handled it publicly.

          Unfortunately, Twitter won’t let me travel that far back in his general timeline, but he basically said, once he had been confirmed at Sky that ‘yes, the money is better, but hey, I’ll be paying more tax!’.

          It was basically a drub to the fans at the time, given that until he went quiet on the situation (whilst he was in discussion with Sky), he was vocally against the idea of splitting the coverage.

          1. I don’t really get why you’re complaining. He may not have liked the idea of splitting the coverage but once the decision had been made what else would you expect him to do?

            If he’d been one of the people who made the decision to split it up then you’d have grounds for complaining but he didn’t, he was just an employee who made the best of a bad situation, just like anyone else would have done.

    2. @replete86
      I Agree with you in part. I think that Martin Brundle should have some kind of position of power within F1… Maybe if they were to introduce the position of F1 commissioner.

  2. it sound bloody terrifying. i remember several races in 1995 (when i started watching religiously) where cars were left at the side of the track – it seems extremely dangerous, but how many were ever hit? if you know the hazard is there lap after lap, the danger factor is surely reduced. the problem with the crane on the outside of the corner is that it is unexpected, whereas any car can crash just a couple of corners ahead – in all forms of motorsports happening upon another car (crashed/spun/stopped) is to be fully expected. happening upon a crane, less so.

    1. @frood19 It’s dangerous if there is a common reason why the cars are at the side of the track – for example slippery conditions, oil, debris or a sharp kerb – because it will happen again. And then you crash your car into one that’s already stationary. Not good. Especially if the previous crash just happened and there is a driver getting out.
      Also, stationary vehicles reduce the safe width of the track, potentially changing the racing line to one you don’t know. Let’s hope there are no bumps to find at 300kph.

      1. @tribaltalker i think you misunderstand me. cars were not (should not be) left actually on the track at any point except sometimes hard against the pit wall. there are safer places to leave cars (i.e. between the edge of the track and the barrier) as used to be routine. I’m wondering whether or not any ever got hit – i can’t recall it happening.

        1. Did happen in canada 1990. Nannini had crashed and they left his car there. Alesi then had the same crash, smashed into the wreckage, and ended up on top of the tyre barriers.

          Thankfully, Nannini had climbed from his car already otherwise it would have been a fatal. Also, good job Alesi hit the wreckage backwards or his life would also have been in danger

  3. Completely random note,

    The 1994 Japanese Gp weekend was the 1st time a live broadcast OnBoard camera was mounted on-top of the roll-bar (On Katayama’s car):
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xw4m3h_onboard-ukyo-katayama-suzuka-1994_auto

    Cameras mounted there were to become the standard angle used for live OnBoard cameras across most open wheel categories.

    1. That OnBoard lap also shows how little Suzuka has changed.

      The final part of the esses was altered slightly to get more runoff after Heidfeld crashed there in practice in 2001 & Dunlop was moved inwards to create more runoff after the Alesi/Raikkonen crash in 2001 & after McNish’s crash at 130R in 2003 that corner was opened up/moved inwards again to create more runoff & the final chicane was also changed.

      Rest of the track is the same as far as Layout goes.

    2. Nice! thanks for sharing.

  4. Matt (@hamiltonfan1705)
    28th October 2014, 13:27

    I have said this to quite a few people but I find it ridiculous how the FIA have waited till someone has life-threatening injuries before something is done about the cranes. I mean 20 years ago, Martin Brundle spins off, almost hits a JCB and actually hits a marshal and the marshal has a broken leg. That incident should’ve raised the alarm to the FIA to think “Right, we need to do something about this,” and they should’ve introduced things like skirts on the cranes and speed limits under double yellows in 1994! And not only that, a few other close calls since then, eg. Brazil 2003, Liuzzi in Germany 2007, and then 20 years later, a fairly similar accident occurs but only this time it does result in life-threatening injuries to the driver, and only then does the FIA do what they should’ve done after Brundle’s accident!

    1. @hamiltonfan1705 – Over the years Martin Brundle has brought this up often when there is a recovery vehicle out anywhere near the live track. It is tragic and at the expense of Jules Bianchi that nothing substantial was done safety wise to help prevent such a tragic incident. The drivers and marshals deserve better. Intelligent and effective ideas have been suggested on how to address this without putting a damper on the racing. After all, nothing puts a damper on the racing, F1 in general and affects people’s lives more than the tragedy that has already happened.

    2. @hamiltonfan1705 You have to put this into context as having happened late in the 1994 season. At that time they were already making huge changes in light of two driver fatalities and a huge number of other serious accidents (as serious or more serious than this) so the level of detail which is picked up in every accident in the current ‘safe’ F1 environment was just not as realistic at that time. Major changes to tracks, cars and circuits were made during and following 1994 so to subsequently go back 20 years later and point out what they missed is slightly unfair.

  5. Anybody paying attention to Martin Brundle for any length of time has heard him recalling this very incident a number of times. Trouble is, nobody really listened. During the Suzuka race this year Martin Brundle was nearly prophetic talking about it. There are ways to prevent this in the future if the FIA chooses to address it.

    1. He really does start ranting whenever those tractors come out from behind the barriers, and I don’t say that to denigrate him because I agree that it’s madness almost nothing has been done in 20 years to make that type of recovery situation safer.

      It is /somewhat/ excusable during a dry race, but not in the rain or even on a drying track in my opinion.

  6. IF a situation like this has to happen (recovery vehicle on track) tecpro should design a quick deployble barrier which can be deployed to add some protection, godspeed Jules!

  7. NINE, that’s 9, different engine manufacturers, but I must be mistaken it must be my old rose-tinted spectacles confounding me.

    1. There was also 2 different types of Ford engine.

      Benetton had the new Zetec R while the other Ford powered teams had the 1993 spec Ford HB7 units.

    2. With 4 teams running outdated Ford engines, Tyrrell running a Yamaha engine that never went anywhere and Hart engines (though I greatly admire his endurance, the engine never really was top-notch) for Jordan, there were still only a few teams with engines that were relatively close to eachother on the grid.

      Though it’s costly, I think Caterham would not have gotten so close to scoring points as they did in 2012 and 2013 without Renault engines, nor would Marussia be looking as good as they are this year (performance wise) without the Ferrari engines. I’d very much prefer more engine manufacturers, but more so in the sense of BMW.Williams like partnerships, rather than the poor teams being forced to run a year old engines with no updates.

  8. “He rejoined the track behind his team mate, who was providing the best action of the race in his efforts to deprive Jean Alesi of third place. Time and again Mansell drew alongside the Ferrari, only to have to tuck back into its wake.”

    This battle provided some of the most thrilling F1 footage you’ll find anywhere. Mansell v Alesi, two of F1’s most exciting drivers of that era, battling for position just inches apart at top speed in terrifying conditions. Both cars had perfectly placed onboard camera’s to capture all the action, with the Williams merging from the thick spray to launch an attack lap after lap for almost half the race. To top it off you had the scream of the Ferrari V12 and the even loader scream of Murray Walker edging on his compatriot.

    The footage is on youtube but only in parts and not with Murray Walker commentary unfortunately. Why FOM don’t upload this type of footage in an official manner to sell F1 I’ll never know…

  9. “This is the first time that Michael has been beaten fair and square all season,” said Hill

    These are Hill’s own words and at the second last race of the season. And when you consider that Schumacher was leading prior to the red flag and suffered as a consequence only to narrowly lose on aggregate time having been held up in traffic it was arguably another race where Michael possibly wasn’t even beaten ‘fair and square’ (although I note that Hill had his own wheel problem, which I didn’t recall, so the balance of impacts is, as always, impossible to determine).

    Hill’s comment backs up my own feeling that although the circumstances of the collision at the last race of the season were somewhat unfair, the alternative scenario which might have seen Hill winning the world championship would have been a much bigger travesty.

    1. As a big Schumacher fan, I do question some of the FIA’s decisions against Benetton in 1994 (not so much their motives as their methods) but coming to Adelaide, frankly Schumacher shouldn’t have made that odd mistake that led him to resort to the famous collision.

      That being said, the narrative of Schumacher vs. Hill in 1994 and 1995 is very interesting. Hill went from this manner of speaking to a much more confident approach, while Michael went from ‘Hill is a worthy opponent’ to ‘I don’t consider him to be a challenger’.

      That being said, Hill winning 1994 would have definitely looked like more of an issue than Schumacher’s crash, but I’d say only to the same magnitude of the 1988 and 1989 deciders.

  10. “The victory was Hill’s by 3.3 seconds.”

    I think you’ll find it was actually THREE POINT THREE SIX SECONDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. the stuff about Mansell banning Coulthard is gold. Juts finished reading Mansells Biography for the 2nd time. Doesn’t mention any of that in it. Although he does say Williams had an “option” on him for 1995 he seems to think that meant he had the right to be there no matter what. He also claims he let Patrese win at Japan in 1992 when according to Grand Prix.com it was far from the truth.

    Great driver though he was, he ins;t half annoying to listen to during interviews. Never turns down the chance to big himself up. Sad really because people only have to see what he did on track to notice what a great driver he was, him telling everyone that he was doing this and that with broken bones etc and that he improved the Williams team does him no favours.

  12. Near misses are the natural universe’s way of pointing out high risk situations. That this is part of our idiom (“an accident waiting to happen”) indicates that some humans CAN recognize this natural risk indicator. Others, however, take the wrong message from the near miss, ie “nothing happened, so nothing needs to be corrected.” This reveals pervasive misunderstanding of probability. If the potential bad outcome of a near miss is unacceptable ( a driver being maimed by collision with recovery equipment or a marshal being struck by a car), you must change the process, because otherwise the universe is telling us that statistically it’s going to happen again, it’s just a matter of time. If you don’t change protocols or processes after a near miss, you are in effect telling the natural universe either “we’re smarter than you, and we KNOW it’s physically impossible for this to happen again,” or “we really don’t care if someone dies in this particular situation, because it would be so infrequent that we’d rather not change the existing process.” You can’t have it both ways. You either fix the process, or live with the results of not fixing the process. Not recognizing the problem, however, in our modern analytical era, cannot be an excuse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.