F1 team Marussia are “shocked and angered” with some media outlets reporting that their driver Jules Bianchi did not slow down enough when the caution flags were out at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Jules’ car aquaplaned during a double yellow flag, which means a car should slow down. His car hit a recovery vehicle which was brought out to recover Adrian Sutil’s car which had crashed into the barriers. Bianchi has been hospitalized since the accident and has had major surgery. Jules is still in hospital after suffering severe head injuries.
His father has been quoted as saying the situation is “desperate” and “every time the phone goes, we know it could be the hospital to tell us that Jules is dead”. Philippe, Jules’ father, is sure his son will fight on and not give up. He was quoted saying to La Gazzetta dello Sport “I speak to him. I know he can hear me.”
Marussia had released a press statement after they described some media reports which questioned both the drivers’ and team’s decision making during the Japanese Grand Prix.
Marussia had denied allegations that the team had asked Jules to go faster during the stretch of the track where double yellows were being waved, to be ahead of Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson.
“Jules did slow down under the double waved yellow flags,” added the statement. “That is an irrefutable fact, as proven by the telemetry data, which the team has provided to the FIA. Charlie Whiting, the FIA’s race director, confirmed that the team had provided such data, that he himself had examined this data and that Jules did slow.”
The statement also clarified that at no point during the time leading up to the accident, did the team ask Jules to drive faster. Earlier Charlie Whiting, the FIA race director was quoted during a press conference on Friday “I know what speed he left the track at. We have seen the data from all cars, and everyone slowed down. Some didn’t slow down much, some a lot. We don’t need to go into how much he slowed down compared to others. He did slow down; it is a matter of degree.”
Whiting did not say by how much Jules had reduced his speed.
This has led to more calls from drivers and team bosses to increase the safety of the drivers and once again raises the questions regarding the staging of the Japanese Grand Prix which was hit by a lot of rain and typhoon like conditions during the race weekend.