Sebastian Vettel: Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident isn’t remembered enough

Sam Cooper
Sebastian Vettel speaks to TV reporters. Austria July 2022.

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel does the media rounds in the TV pen. Austria July 2022.

Sebastian Vettel believes the sport would do well to remember the fatal accident of Jules Bianchi more following the incident during the Japanese Grand Prix.

A tractor was allowed to come on the track to remove Carlos Sainz’s car before all the other drivers had returned to the pits with Pierre Gasly passing at speed just two metres away from it.

It was a similar type of vehicle that led to the death of Bianchi in 2014 l, with the Marussia driving losing control of his car and hitting the rear of the crane as it removed another car. The 25-year-old Frenchman died as a result of his injuries nine months later.

Drivers have been lining up to criticise the move from the FIA with Gasly being the most vocal. Sergio Perez described it as the worst moment in Formula for years.

Four-time World Champion Vettel, who finished P6 in his last ever race at his favourite track, said the sport remembers Bianchi “probably not enough.”

“After what happened, there’s a lot of things that led to this circumstance which we need to understand first,” Vettel told Sky Sports F1. “The entire grid leaves on the wrong tyre, which we were all to blame but then no one to blame because we’re all in the same pressured position.

“We have an intermediate tyre that is a lot faster than an extreme tyre. The extreme tyre is a tyre for the condition, but it’s so slow that you’re pressured to go onto the next tyre. That needs to be improved that would have solved the problem.

“We are not able to race when there is some water on the track because the water drainage is probably not good enough. We’ve known this for years but then one thing leads to another and then we had a crash with Carlos going off.

“Visibility is close to none when you’re inside the car following with a spray. We’re lucky that nothing happened but we need to understand and make sure that it just mustn’t happen.”

The FIA announced on Sunday that they were opening an investigation into the exact circumstances that led to the tractor being on track the same time as Gasly and the other cars.

Gasly himself was given penalty points and a time penalty having been found guilty of driving too quickly under red flag conditions.

Read more: Christian Horner – F1 ‘got lucky’ after ‘unimaginable’ Suzuka scenes