The Formula 1 silly season chaos was overshadowed on the weekend by the dramatic late-race crash that hospitalized Jules Bianchi. Bianchi’s Marussia ran off the rain-soaked Suzuka circuit and collided with a mobile crane that was removing the stricken Sauber of Adrian Sutil.
Bianchi remains in critical condition in hospital suffering severe head injuries.
The race was won by Lewis Hamilton, whose stunning pass on Nico Rosberg was a title-defining moment. Despite crossing the line fourth behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel was credited with third due to a rule that sees red-flagged races wound back to the finishing order on the penultimate lap.
The Bianchi crash is reminiscent of the horror crash that ultimately claimed the life of Maria de Villota. In July 2012 the then-Marussia test driver crashed into the lowered loading tray of a truck during a test session and suffered massive head trauma, including the loss of one eye. She died from complications related to the crash in October of 2013.
Before the race weekend had begun, F1’s silly season had spilled over with the news that Sebastian Vettel was leaving Red Bull for Ferrari and that Fernando Alonso was leaving the Italian squad. Alonso’s 2015 drive remains unconfirmed but it is likely he will move to McLaren – replacing either Kevin Magnussen or Jenson Button, most likely the former.
The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup entered its second round, known as the Contender Round, at Kansas Speedway and it was a disastrous round for many of the title contenders.
Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Brad Keselowski all crashed out of the race – Earnhardt Jr after leading 45 laps. Fellow Chase contender Kasey Kahne also had a rough day, but rallied to finish 22nd. Joey Logano won the 400-miler ahead of rising star Kyle Larson, therefore ensuring his berth in the third round of the Chase bracket which begins in two races’ time.
Canada’s Kuno Wittmer and co-driver Jonathan Bomarito claimed the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in the GTLM category. The SRT Viper driver secured the title with third in class at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Update: Sadly, the championship was not enough to secure SRT’s participation in the series, and the marque made the announcement Monday that the SRT Viper will not compete in 2015.
The race was eventful and was punctuated by numerous yellow-flag periods that dragged on needlessly long. Chaotic moments were not relegated solely to the race track with a multi-car pit-lane pile-up also highlighting the shortcomings of IMSA’s convoluted rules.
Ricky and Jordan Taylor along with Max Angelelli co-drove the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette to overall victory – the first American-born drivers to win the Petit Le Mans overall.
Action Express claimed the prototype championship and drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi split the driver’s title aboard their No. 5 Action Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype.
It is unbelievably crass to have a Black Flag awarded in a week where one driver suffered a potentially life-altering accident – and so we won’t. All our thoughts are with Jules Bianchi and his family. We hope for a full and speedy recovery.