The FIA has created an Accident Panel to discuss and investigate Jules Bianchi’s accident at the Japanese Grand Prix, which left the Marussia driver with critical head injuries after he collided with a trackside recovery vehicle.
The group will conduct a full review to determine the circumstances of the accident and what steps could be implemented to improve safety at circuits, should they be deemed necessary.
The panel will be headed by Peter Wright, the respected engineer and safety expert who is familiar in F1 circles as the co-designer of the ground-effect Lotus F1 cars from the late 1970s before he went on to become Team Lotus’ technical director in the 1990s.
Other panel members include:
- Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali, former Team Principals of the Mercedes AMG Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari F1 teams (pictured above)
- Roger Peart, the President of the Circuits Commission
- Gerd Ennser, a representative of the FIA Stewards group
- Emerson Fittipaldi, the former IndyCar and Formula 1 World Champion who is currently the president of the FIA Drivers’ Commission
- Eduardo de Freitas, the Race Director of the FIA World Endurance Championship
- Antonio Rigozzi, a judge who presides at the International Court of Appeal
- Gérard Saillant, the President of the FIA Institute and President of the Medical Commission
- Alexander Wurz, the recently-appointed president of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association
While not meant to discredit the appointments, the membership of the panel is interesting in that – aside from Wright – it has no specific experts in driver or trackside safety. Quite why the FIA has decided to go down this review panel path is itself interesting, given that it has never been done before despite there being other serious accidents in motorsport over many years.
The group will commence its investigation this week and present its findings to the FIA World Council when it meets at Doha on December 3.
Image via XPB Images