FIA sets up Accident Panel


Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Ross Brawn, Emerson Fittipaldi and Stefano Domenicali are just three of the high-profile names on a 10-strong FIA Accident Panel formed in the wake of Jules Bianchi’s horrific crash in Japan a fortnight ago.

One of the measures announced by FIA president Jean Todt soon after Bianchi’s smash into a recovery vehicle at Suzuka that has left him fighting for his life was the formation of a body to not only look into the incident, but also to propose new safety recommendations.

The newly-formed body is led by Peter Wright, president of the FIA’s Safety Commission, and a member of motorsport’s world governing body since 1995.

A statement from the FIA read: “The group will carry out a full review of the accident to gain a better understanding of what happened, and will propose new measures to reinforce safety at circuits, with recommendations to be made for the FIA president.

“The work of the group will start this week, and a full presentation of its findings is to be made at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 3 December, 2014, in Doha, Qatar.”

Wright has formed an experienced team around him, notably including one of the most respected figures in F1 in Brawn, a man who helped Ferrari win numerous titles during his time at Maranello as technical director.

Following Honda’s exit from F1 in 2008, from the ashes Brawn formed his own eponymously named marque, leading them to the drivers’ and constructors’ titles a year later prior to a takeover by Mercedes.

Although Brawn remained as team principal, he left Mercedes at the end of last year following a dispute over the direction of the team, yet has been rightly accredited with the success that has followed this season.

Double world champion Fittipaldi, who is also president of the FIA Drivers’ Commission and an F1 steward, joins Brawn, along with Domenicali, who for six years until April this year was team principal at Ferrari.

Also on the panel are Gerd Ennser, chief stewards’ representative; Eduardo de Freitas, World Endurance Championship race director; Roger Peart, president of the Circuits Commission; Gerard Saillant, president of the FIA Institute and Medical Commission; Grand Prix Drivers’ Association president Alex Wurz, and Antonio Rigozzi, a judge who sits on the International Court of Appeal.

The panel will look into the findings of FIA race director Charlie Whiting, who claimed “a perfect storm” of circumstances conspired against Bianchi and that “nothing more could have been done better” either by his team or the stewards trackside.

The FIA has already proposed an electronically-controlled speed limit is to be imposed on drivers and cars during periods when double-waved yellow flags are in evidence, as was the case during Bianchi’s accident.

There is also the possibility that from next season ‘skirts’ around the base of recovery vehicles are to be introduced given their ground clearance in relation to the height of a cockpit of an F1 car.

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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