Massa is lucky to be alive

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Well, all my thoughts are with him at the moment obviously. He was incredibly unlucky, like Surtees, but incredibly lucky at the same time - I was really shocked to see that picture at the top of this thread. It could have been so, so much worse for him.

A lot of people (not on this forum) are complacent about safety in Formula One. It is inevitable that there will be another fatality in F1, sad to say. It's just impossible to provide safety for every possible circumstance. Following this accident, I'm sure there will be calls for improved driver head protection, which is laudable of course, but I don't see how it can be achieved without further compromising drivers' already very restricted vision.

The drivers are being incredibly brave each and every time they set foot into one of those cars, and it's all too easy to forget that.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Brogan said:
I must admit I was quite surprised the FIA gave the OK to Button's car after what would appear to be such a quick and cursory check.

They changed out the same part on Jenson's car which may have led to his relativly poor quali

Quote from Ross Brawn:

We changed the same part on Jenson's car as a precaution just before the start of the final qualifying session. The process was completed as quickly as possible but left Jenson with only one chance of a flying lap. Having already fuelled the car at the start of Q3, he was therefore considerably heavier than planned and didn't have a particularly good balance.

Glad Flippe is OK and getting better - as mentioned it could have been so much worse but still was a freak accident.

p.s agreed with the Kimi exhaust comment.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
the car you can see take the turn in the video ahead of massa is indeed barrichello. video footage shows rubens loses parts from the diffuser at the back of his car starting in turn 1 with a big bang just before, i think turn 3 or 4. enhanced pictures show the parts flying away, since the diffuser is partly connected to the suspension and under pressure its almost like an explosion and the parts really shoot away, and one of these parts is indeed the part that hits massa. the distance to massa is about 300 metres but in view of the speed of the part and massa this is not far away at all.

apaprently rubens already in the start of the quali felt the diffuser was giving way but still went on.

this kind of incident has happened before: helmut marko, nowadays consultant at red bull, lost an eye this way. french GP 1972. caused by a stone thrown up by the car of emerson fittipaldi or ronnie peterson in front of him and smashing through the visor of his helmet. end of his career and the F1 career of the circuit as well, charade circuit. 10 other cars suffered punctures cos of these stones that day.

anyway, back to what really matters.

lets just hope massa will be back soon and my thoughts are with him and his family. but i have to say, head injuries are bad.
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
Thanks for the update Boga.

I understand there is an investigation due to take place.
I wonder if they will question Rubens' decision to stay out on the circuit knowing there was a problem with the back of the car?

What I still can't understand is Felipe was apparently knocked unconscious by the initial impact and yet the car can clearly be seen braking (cadence braking even) until it hits the tyre wall.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Brogan said:
I understand there is an investigation due to take place.
I wonder if they will question Rubens' decision to stay out on the circuit knowing there was a problem with the back of the car?

Based on the decision to exclude Renault from the European GP for the tyre thing, I would expect that Brawn will also be called into question. I hear what you are all saying about driver deaths being inevitable, but in my opinion the sport's no.1 priority should be, and credit Max Moseley is, to make the probability of such an occurrance as minimal as possible.

If Barrichello knew there was a problem, there is likely to be a reaction, although he was not personally to blame for the crash of his friend.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
It's worth remembering that had Roland Ratzanberger pitted immediatly after banging the underside of his car his team may have discovered the broken front wing. As it was he chose to stay out and start a flying lap assuming that there was nothing wrong with his car. The rest, as they say, is history.

Knowing that there is something wrong with the car and not doing any thing about it is and has been proven to be a fatal mistake.
 

Jen

Here be dragons.
Contributor
cider_and_toast said:
It's worth remembering that had Roland Ratzanberger pitted immediatly after banging the underside of his car his team may have discovered the broken front wing. As it was he chose to stay out and start a flying lap assuming that there was nothing wrong with his car. The rest, as they say, is history.

Knowing that there is something wrong with the car and not doing any thing about it is and has been proven to be a fatal mistake.

Thank you for the reminder c_a_t.

This is what these guys do and should be allowed to do.
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
Brogan said:
Thanks for the update Boga.

I understand there is an investigation due to take place.
I wonder if they will question Rubens' decision to stay out on the circuit knowing there was a problem with the back of the car?

What I still can't understand is Felipe was apparently knocked unconscious by the initial impact and yet the car can clearly be seen braking (cadence braking even) until it hits the tyre wall.
How many drivers stay driving when they know there is something wrong with the car? On Sunday, the perfect examples were Vettal and Alonso. Two different problems, but both with potentially dangerous consequences. Vettels suspension could have totally collapsed at the wrong moment and put him straight on at a corner or worse. Alonso's wheel/cover could have fallen off at anytime and hit another driver, it was only luck that it happened when no-one was near him.

Should they be punished for potentially dangerous issues? If no, then why should Barrichello and Brawn?!?

What you have to remember is that these drivers are boy-racers at heart and they are out there to race (generally) or at least get to the finish no matter what. They know the dangers when they take the job and mostly get well renumerated for doing something they love doing, most of them would most likely do it for free rather than not drive.

This was a freak accident and not sure how exactly you would prevent it without making the helmets out of some material not yet invented or making the helmets so ridiculous that driving itself would become a danger as visiblity would be a major issue.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
The problem that the Massa and Surtees incidents highlight is that you can reduce risk to the lowest possible level but you can never totally eliminate it. I have done several courses in risk management and risk assessment and this is always the case.

Every time you board an aircraft you accept that there is a risk in flying. You also need to know that the airline company has worked hard to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. If flying was a risk free buisness there would be no need for the cabin staff to stand in front of you every time and tell you how to survive a crash.

The key factor in any risk assesment is defining what is acceptable risk. In 1981 Nasa managers considered that the chance of a catastrophic failure of the space shuttle was around 1 in 100000. After the Challenger disaster an independant review body was set up and one of the outcomes of the enquiry was a new risk factor for space shuttle operations of closer to 1 in 50. Challenger exploded on the 25th flight and Columbia was lost on the 107th flight so the engineers were not that far out. Now as a normal human being are you willing to accept a risk of death on a commercial aircraft of 1 in 50? Of course you're not.

The FIA and the teams must continue to place safety at the heart of the sport and in everything they design. The drivers get into those cars knowing and accepting that there is a risk in racing however they are fully aware that every effort has been made to ensure there safety. Most accidents occur when there has been an assumption of safety that dosn't actually exist. For those in any doubt just look at the tragic loss of Roger Williamson in 1973 and Elio De Angelis in 1986 and the near misses such as Benetton's illegal modification of their fuel rigs.

This is why the penalty against Alonso is in my opinion correct becasue the team knew what they were doing when they sent the car out and what they considered to be an acceptable risk was clearly not. With Henry Surtees last week and Massa this week the issue is more difficult because of the freak nature of the accidents. The one thing that is certain is that there will be some action by the FIA and all involved to get the to heart of the cause. If Safety is the only legacy of Max's tenure as president then it's a good one.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Cider_and_Toast, I bow to your wonderful argument. You win the coveted [glow=#FF5500:8mcpw66g]TEABAG YOKEL AWARD FOR SPOTONNESS[/glow:8mcpw66g]!

OK, so the Senna/Ratzenburger disaster was race 551 in GP history, and Hungary was race 813. Hence, we have currently gone 262 consecutive races without a death!

Gilles Villeneuve's accident came in race 362, which gives [conveniently] gives us 450 races between the race after the accident and the present day, in which there have been 3 race meeting deaths. Thats 3/450.

So there is a 3/450 chance, since 1982, of dying at a race meeting.

Is that safe enough? Well, can we ever call it safe enough? That stat is there to be edged as close to 0 as is possible. You may say 3/450 is negligible, but attempt to tell the families of Riccardo Palletti, Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenburger that! Not to mention the unincluded Elio de Angelis!

Life should be made as safe as possible in general, we don't want people dying for no good reason* and I am all for safety.

The drivers know the dangers. But they don't expect to crash heavily! If they're nuts, that's up to them but let's leave them with the ability to be nuts!
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
there are 3 things, bad luck, accidents and stupidity. where stupidity comes in different degrees :)

one never knows when a bolt will snap, people make mistakes and end up in gravel pits. but to drive around with a wheel when you know the bolts are no longer there... also when a few days before henry surtees died cos of a lose wheel.

i'm sorry, maybe there is such a thing as a calculated risk but nando knew almost 100% sure that wheel would come off. we had horrible accidents with wheels flying around. what was the point and what was nando thinking? a one race ban seems most lenient to me to be honest.

i am also seriously disappointed in rubens. ok, we are all gung ho and we are nicely driving as hard as we can but to go out on a track while you know there is something wrong is extremely iffy if not downright stupid. personally, if rubens and nando want to play russian roulette then its not up to me to stop them, good luck guys! but these guys played russian roulette with the other drivers!

how clearer can a signal be? nando knew there were no bolts and that henry surtees dies cos of the same issue. rubens knew there was something wrong. we can take all the safety issues we want but there are no measures to prevent drivers playing russian roulette.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
@ Teabag - you have omitted the marshall's deaths.


bogaTYR said:
Rubens knew there was something wrong. we can take all the safety issues we want but there are no measures to prevent drivers playing russian roulette.

That's a little unfair, he knew something was wrong with the back of his car, it could have been anything from a broken wing, collapsed suspension, broken rod, he didn't know part of his car had separated and gone bouncing down the track and, to be fair there was bugger all he could have done about it after the event so he did the default option of getting the car back to the pits to see if it could be fixed as any driver would have done.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
Speshal said:
That's a little unfair, he knew something was wrong with the back of his car, it could have been anything from a broken wing, collapsed suspension, broken rod, he didn't know part of his car had separated and gone bouncing down the track and, to be fair there was bugger all he could have done about it after the event so he did the default option of getting the car back to the pits to see if it could be fixed as any driver would have done.

this is what rubens had to say:

"It felt a bit strange - the car was moving a bit, vertically, and we suspected that it was starting to go since the beginning of qualifying."

so already in Q1 brawn knew something in the back of the car could go any moment. and still they went on their merry ways. and then:

"Eventually, it went completely on that lap because I had had a lap full of traffic which I had to abort and on that next lap, as soon as I braked for Turn 1, it was very, very bad. I still did an okay time through Sector 1 but when I went into Turn 3 I felt the rear collapse; I had no control over the rear suspension, it was like it was solid. It was then that I radioed and said I was coming in - it felt like I lost a big chunk of ride height because the car was touching the ground and on the TV, from the videos, it looks like that was what went flying into Felipe's head - the whole thing just went bang."
 

Andrea_Moda_Rules

Podium Finisher
Sorry to side track the discussion here but ive just read Brundle's column for the BBC. And it got me thinking about Head protection and what can be done, with talk about of a closed cockpit F1 and stuff i thought personally the first thing Motorsport as a whole should be looking at is improving the Helmets And can i just ask this question

What helmet was Henry Surtees wearing? Was it to the same regulation as the F1 helmets? and if not outside of F1 what sort of Helmets protection wise is used in the open wheeled series?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
A_M_R, I don't think it would have made much difference what type of helmet Henry Surtees was wearing. The impact of the tyre against his head would have snapped his head back and concusion would have occured from the impact of the brain inside the skull.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
AMR

surtees was hit by a wheel that came from quite high and went straight onto his helmet. when you see that and then think of what happened to alonso, then the punishment makes total sense. i don't think any helmet can offer support for that cos it seems to me it would break your neck, not so much destroy the integrity of the helmet. sorry for the gory details.

if there had been a canopy i really doubt this would have made any difference whatsoever in surtees' case. this wheel would have gone through anything i suppose unless its made of steel or concrete. some thing for massa. although he was helped by his helmet, there are pictures online of the helmet of marko after he got hit by a stone and that's like someone took a shot at him.

so i think we already came a long long way helmet wise.

for anyone who has a strong strong stomach

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6zKHMRMRbQ
 

Andrea_Moda_Rules

Podium Finisher
Well bit of a thoughtless comment from me really there thinking about it, should of thought that with a wheel, being considerably heavier, would of brought other injuries anyway. but in relation to Massa incident, from what Brundle was saying, it seems to me that with draw backs of just plonking on canopies (not sure what that actually is tbh) and roofs on an f1 car perhaps looking at the materials used in F1 helmets and how to make it stronger should be the first thing the FIA should be thinking about first.

I havent actually said anything about massa so far so good luck to him with his recovery and lets hope the more positive news from the press comes true. He could be out of hospital in 10 days apparently now. That must be good news for his general well being anyway.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Speshal said:
@ Teabag - you have omitted the marshall's deaths.

Thanks, Speshal, I was talking driver deaths because marshall deaths and spectator deaths can, and must, be eradicated completely!
 
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