Benching Kimi

The remains of Raikkonen's F14T James Moy Photography

The remains of Raikkonen’s F14T
James Moy Photography

Regardless of the condition of his ankle, I do not believe that Kimi Raikkonen should be on the grid for the German Grand Prix in two weeks time. The first lap incident which brought out the red flags in yesterday’s British Grand Prix was born of such staggering racing negligence, that I am truly of the opinion that the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion should be left at home to contemplate what could have been a far worse accident, resulting in far greater injuries than the bruised ankle he suffered.

Here are the facts. In the midst of a first lap battle, Kimi Raikkonen ran wide at Aintree corner. Using the vast asphalt run off, he kept his right foot planted so as not to lose too many positions. Maintaining racing speed, he drove back onto the track and into the pack on the Wellington Straight.

There was nothing strange about this. We see it every week. These men are racing drivers, the best in the world, and it is rare that one of them would chose to lift and heed position. The fact that so many modern racing circuits have replaced gravel traps with asphalt runoff only serves to promote such activity for without the asphalt, cars that run wide at such speed would, in years gone by, have ended up beached and out of the race.

In Sunday’s case, there was also the issue of a strip of grass / gravel separating the asphalt run off and the track. This gulley was at a slightly different height to both the runoff and the track, and it was this element which caused Raikkonen’s Ferrari F14T to become unsettled as it re-entered the track.

Our initial impressions were that, so fast and heavy was Raikkonen’s connection with this gulley, that it had broken his rear suspension, causing the sharp spearing to the right and launching the car into the 47G impact with the metal barrier. However in Ferrari’s official press statement, no mention is made of such damage, instead merely referencing that “a rut between the grass and the tarmac spun his F14 T around.”

Over the past few hours I have read countless arguments that we should blame this element of the track for the incident, and while I agree that perhaps this is something that needs to be looked at for next year, it does not exonerate the Finn.

Drivers conduct track walks before the race weekend to take note of precisely this type of detail. They will walk into gravel traps to see how much asphalt exists at the extremity near the barrier incase they run off and can make it through to the side to continue on their way. They look for manhole covers, changes in asphalt, kerbing, astroturf etc. Famously, Raikkonen rarely conducts such track walks. Had he done so this weekend, he might have been more aware of the safe re-entry points.

When you distill it down, it really is very simple. Raikkonen ran wide in an on-track battle. He maintained and, by continuing his acceleration, increased racing speed off-track. He re-entered the track at speed, on the racing line, and in an unsafe manner. He was not in control of his car and was responsible for a huge accident, the aftermath of which saw loose wheels and debris strewn across the track.

Raikkonen’s accident caused the retirement of Felipe Massa. The wheel, torn from the F14T in the incident, narrowly missed Marrusia’s Max Chilton as it bounced just inches wide of his head.

It was a nasty and unnecessary accident. Yes the runoff and the track played their part. But, and I have seen no mention from Ferrari that Raikkonen was experiencing any issue which would have taken control of the car or crucially throttle application away from him, it was the Finn and the Finn alone whose decisions and driving created the accident, one from which we are lucky everyone walked away.

I see no difference between this lack of judgment and the lack of judgment displayed by Romain Grosjean at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. Regardless of intent, the result of his actions created an unacceptable level of danger to the driver himself, his on-track rivals, and workers around the track.

For that reason I believe that Kimi Raikkonen, regardless of his achievements, victories, racing team or world championship, should face the same punishment as the Frenchman and should sit out the next race.

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152 thoughts on “Benching Kimi

  1. I totally disagree with you Will. This was 180 degrees different from Romain’s crash at Spa. While Kimi indeed should have known the stupid track “features” , it was out of his control when he re-entered the track. In Grosjean’s case, he just squeezed Lewis into the wall and since Lewis had nowhere to go, the big crash happened. That was Grosjean’s doing, with his own 2 hands, he made that decision. While Kimi just ran wide in that corner specifically to avoid any contact , what happened afterwards is just a race accident / bad luck . Things like this happen, no matter how good of a driver you are, especially since the asphalt-grass line is so steep there that the car just bounced off of it. No other driver would have done a better job in his place.

    I am a Kimi fan, and i’m not trying to defent him, but to say that he deserves to stay away for a race, and comparing him with someone who’s clueless at driving a racing car is unacceptable.

    • Watch it again.He rejoined over a grassed area at maximum speed.Totally reckless.Regardless of whether you’re a fan it’s wrong.Think if Maldonado had done that.Everyone would call for his head.

      • Here and there (other categories) drivers have been penalized for exactly what Kimi did : re-joining the track unsafely. We were lucky this time. Period.

        • Kimi covered a lot of distance before his attempt to rejoin the track.
          The telemetry must exist which shows how he was driving at that time.
          If it shows maximum acceleration and crossing the grass at full speed, which is how it appears from the TV footage, then he was not re-joining safely.
          These are not rally cars.

          Lots of posters blindly defending Kimi, might well end up looking daft as he is quite likely to admit himself it was “not clever”, although don’t expect much more.

    • I agree that Will has this all wrong. Kimi did not willfully try to wreck his car and others in the race. Drivers in all of these races with no barriers drive off track all of the time. The tracks need to get rid of paved run off areas and replace with 100% gravel. If a driver makes a mistake he “beaches” his car and his race is over.
      But to make the comment that he should be benched for a race is pure bullshit Will.
      If he were doing things like this on a regular basis then maybe a race ban would be in order aka roman G.

      • Nobody “willfully tries to wreck his car and others in the race”. And driving off and rejoining safely happens more often than not. No, they don’t often lift, and yes, it’s probably luck, but blaming the track when you don’t even walk it is a bit daft.

      • I disagree with returning to gravel traps. When a car enters the trap the drivers control of the car is greatly reduced. IF the car enters sideways and digs in instead of a nice slide into the barrier you have a car rolling and flipping throwing rocks and car parts vast distances through the air, often into the crowds and on the track workers. On the occasions when the traps to work as intended and stop the car the track workers must take equipment from behind the barriers to remove the stuck car putting themselves and the equipment in a danger zone. With the paved runoffs the driver is able, hopefully while exercising caution and good judgement, return to the track on his own.

    • Kimi made the decision with his own two hands as well.

      He ran wide.

      He didn’t slow down to re-enter track.

      Those things “just don’t happen”

      The ditch was bad luck surely and was weird, but Kimi acted aggressive instead of safely rejoin the track.

      Any driver who wouldn’t have ran wide or who slowed down would have done a better job.

    • Disagree 100% with you. There is ZERO difference between this and said Frenchman. Both are due wholly to driver negligence. End of story. Rationalizing it by saying he ran wide, and what happened afterwards is bad luck is bum. It’s the same as saying that, in the Spa incident, Hamilton is at fault because he should have lifted. It’s bollocks! Kimi is 100% at fault in the situation. He left the racing surface, he came back to the racing surface in an unsafe manner. He lost control of the car, not as a result of some malfunction, but as a result of his own unsafe re-entry. No other driver would have done a better job? You can’t say that definitively, for two reasons; you don’t know how other drivers would have handled it, and Kimi didn’t make a track walk to verify that coming back on track in that situation would have been an issue.
      I’ll choose to ignore the rest of your little tirade of comparisons.

    • Wills point is “I see no difference between this lack of judgment and …”. Will is spot on in his observations. Kimi lacked the judgement to control his race car to stay within the race track limits – he could have driven slower to stay behind the competitor and stay within the track limits, to pass elsewhere. After all, this is L1 of 52. Oh, that’s right, he was trying to stay ahead of Alonso, when Kimi went off-track.

  2. Great point Will.Watched it again and I’m staggered at the point Raikkonen rejoined the circuit.Incredible negligence from a world champion.

  3. Stewards know the situation best so I’ll agree with their decision, but I don’t think he will get race penalty maybe 5-10 place grid penalty.

  4. I agree with your entire statement. It was first lap, he could have lifted got back on track and continued the race. Sadly his car is not very competitive this year, and no amount of driver skill, unless a rare opportunity or series of events present themselves will he win. Perhaps a week off will focus the Finn where he should be.

  5. I thought he should get a grid demotion for next race too!!!Simply ridiculous driving by Raikkonen and I am a Ferrari fan!!! Looks like a complete amateur at the moment and being soundly thrashed by Alonso even worse than Massa was!!

  6. Perhaps you should take a break and not write these stupid things. You writing shows no sign of professionalism. Very very low quality writing. There was no mistake etc. in Räikkönen only problem was the circuit which had dangerous spot – those responsible for leaving this dangerous area into circuit should all be fired immediately. In England of all places…English people should know better than leave this kind of problem area into circuit. And then one genius blames driver for this – shame on you! There should never be that kind of spot in the circuit, never ever. And you know it. Really stop commenting F1 if you are in this low level with your comments. Comparing Grojeans dangerous driving to this accident caused by dangerous area in circuit is just very unprofessional. Has Räikkönen said no comments for someone questions or what?

    • If a driver leaves the track he and he alone has the responsibility to rejoin it without causing an incident with others who have remained on it.
      Everyone likes Kimi, but this was not one of his finest moments,

    • Now, I do not want to say I wholly agree with a race ban for this thing, like Will argues. But it should be clear to everyone that a runoff area is NOT meant to drive full speed. If you rejoin the track you should do that in a way that does not endanger the others already there. Kimi did both of those wrong.
      I think at minimum things like points should be docked from his licence, possibly a suspended ban or something else.

  7. Will who,a moron maybe? I’m glad that you’re such an expert on driving F1, so that you can comment your stupid things about Kimi.Take that crank out of your a** and go driving your toycars in the backyard.My comment is this low because your idiotism about F1.Bet you are perfect for driving on ferrari next to Alonso….

  8. If the track didn’t have that idiotic ditch in it, Kimi would’ve been fine doing the move he did. If it had been almost any other track, nothing would’ve happened. It’s up to the track owners and their staff to make sure the track is safe to race on (or off), not the drivers to go over every centimeter of the track with a tootcomb looking for hidden ditches, nails or unexploded ww2 ordnance. Just because you are a british journalist, you don’t have to start putting someone elses head on the block because a track on your soil was shamefully dangerous to drive on.

    • Yeah, but he still hampered all cars that were behind him and endangered them. The runoff area should be there to safely slow down if you go off track, not to race back onto track without regards for the others. If anything there should be MORE that makes you go slow before you can join back on track.

      • Please. We’ve seen people coming full speed from run-off areas just about every time we’re racing on a track that has large asphalt run-off areas. Kimi did the same thing everyone does on those tracks, this time the track just failed him.

    • Agreed!! Even the officials said there was a dent in the track there already on Friday and that incident was a pure racing incident that happens a million times. The fact that the poor condition of the track made him loose control of the car, when coming back to the race is not on him. This article is a low blow and you can’t even mention the Grosjean thing in a same sentence. I guess you forgot his ban wasn’t due to one incident but many others before that combined.

  9. So, you mean that all the other drivers perfectly knows that in that exact point of the track there’s a step between ground and tarmac? Mmm, I strongly doubt…
    Yet, I believe in the suspension’s breakage, too.

    • Well said.

      This is a very disappointing article from Will Buxton, and it’s gone a long way towards confirming my belief that it’s better to watch a grainy online stream of SKY’s F1 coverage than NBCSports on a 50-inch plasma in HD….

  10. I have to say i don’t agree this comparison with Grosjean. Grosjean ban was becouse multiple incidents. I don’t know about the motivation behind this writing, maybe there is some personal issues with the writer and least it looks like it.

    Kimi made a mistake that’s for sure, was it really worse than Perez/Massa incident in Canada…what the heck, ban them all

  11. I agree completely. Kimi decided to keep his foot in going over a bumpy grass verge whilst on cold tyres trying to rejoin. That was absurd. As others have said, if that was Guti or Maldonado or Grosjean, the abuse and outcry they’d be getting would be biblical.

    I also have to chuckle at some of these comments on this post. Why does Will’s nationality have to do with anything with Kimi’s crash?

  12. You do know that this is racing?? These kinds of things happen. And how the hell would Kimi had guessed that there’s a bump on the kerb? And comparing Kimi’s crash to Grosjean’s crash is one of the stupid things I’ve heard in a while! Just shows how unprofessional you are. Your statements go in the same category with Villeneuve’s; plain stupid.

    • “And how the hell would Kimi had guessed that there’s a bump on the kerb?”

      As Will wrote, Kimi would have known there was a bump on the kerb if he had bothered to do a track walk.

    • Alonso’s onboard perspective. For the salary Kimi gets he better know not to run through the verge, at the very least not to drive on the grass. Kimi’s biggest competitor is his own team mate, whom Kimi was trying to stay ahead.

      And you are correct, this IS racing when you drive on the race track.

  13. Can’t say I agree with you on this one Will. Yes, he kept his foot in it. What driver would have stood on the breaks in that situation? From the video, he re-entered the track at an angle which probably caused the rear wheel to get caught on the lip of the two surfaces. I am not convinced that he should have known about the uneven surfaces at that precise place (not having made a track survey) and been able to make a realtime decision. Did he make a mistake- yes. Was he being an idiot? No.

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  15. Hey Will. While you may have a little harsh opinion of what should happen to Kimi in the aftermath.
    ALL Drivers have the responsibility to reenter the track safely!! Kimi did not.
    We all understand the thinking of not letting up on the “gas”. It was incorrect to do what he did.
    I am a fan of Kimi”s but he know better than that. A little “red mist” was showing.
    Just my opinion. That and $3 gets you coffee!

  16. Charlie Whiting has been involved in F1 long before you were even born, Nigel Mansell the chief steward was racing in F1 before you were even born so i trust their judgement over yours x10000, they saw nothing wrong in what Kimi did, it was a racing accident, shit happens

    • Well, Niki Lauda is older than Charlie Whitting and than Nigel Mansell. and has been in the business as least as long as Charlie … and he says exactly the same as Will. In fact he’s even harder about it! Ah, … and he knows first hand about racing, safety, accidents …

          • Journalists are supposed to engage in impartial adversarial journalism – not shameless and cynical self-promotion at the expense of an athlete with whom they have a contentious and dysfunctional relationship as a result of their own (the journalist’s) unprofessionalism.

  17. Hhmmm…. Oletko tainnut unohtaa Will että ranskalainen sai kilpailukieltoa koska oli jo aiemmin tunaroinut aikaisemmissa kisoissa. Mutta eihän tuollainen englantilainen sontaläjä sellaisia osaa edes ajatella!

  18. Agreed, Will.
    I feel like Kimi is not “in it to win it” like he used to be, and that has a lot to do with how he drives. Maybe watching from the wall will allow him to see exactly what it is he is doing out there.

  19. I’m sorry… but Kimi did not willingly cause a crash. By watching the replay numerous times now, I’m convinced that even if he braked hard, there was absolutely no way he could’ve slowed down fast enough.

  20. What are the mistakes Kimi is supposed to have made:
    1) He didnt know there was a bump there caused by a newly built ditch, as he didn’t do a track walk. Do drivers take note of such minute details around a 5+ km track? Can we ask a driver like Vettel who always does a full-fledged track walk, if he had noted that and would have driven differently?
    2) Kimi fed back onto the track at full speed instead of slowing down. Have a close look at the point he feeds back in. There are atleast 3 cars behind him coming down that racing line. If he had slowed down he would have hit them. Unless he had come to a complete halt.
    Kimi did not know the bump was there and he fed back into the gap in front of him instinctively knowing cars were coming up behind.
    It was a bad shunt and if Chilton for example was injured it would have been worse. But it was a purely racing incident. To compare it with Grosjean running into Hamilton’s path in Spa is not right.
    The more relevant question is, why did the track officials leave that bump between the run-off area and the track? You cannot visually see it and it is unmarked and ultimately proved dangerous.

  21. Sorry Will but this is rubbish. I don’t know if you wrote this to purposely incite but this was a racing incident. No more. If he hadn’t pushed so hard you’d be flogging him for not trying. This blog is unfair to Kimi.

  22. Oh, for heaven’s sake.

    Every driver on the grid would’ve done the same. There was plenty of room to enter safely.

    And, please, do not bring up the track walk argument. You know it’s bogus.

  23. Furthermore, if not for the ditch, Kimi would’ve re-entered the race completely safely. He would not have cut off anyone and he would’ve been joining the pack at close to racing speed.

    The track had a clear re-entry lane where Kimi took his car and joined the race. Watch the replay again…he’s driving on a paved surface, is not skidding or hopping over grass…just driving on a paved surface. Every drive on the grid would’ve driven over that little patch of non-paved surface at full speed given the same circumstances (i.e. with no other cars on the line he was about to take).

    I think you should re-examine your biases and apply them equally to all racers. Including those you have personal relationships with.

  24. Watching it live my first reaction was: wow that was quite dumb but it was a ‘racing incident’. However watching the replay and considering Kimi’s options I would be definitely considering a 10 place grid penalty. A one race ban is the correct response for grievously bad driving, I just don’t think Kimi’s incident was of the same ilk as Grosjean’s collection of errors that led to his ban. Definitely avoidable and dangerous. Interesting that track limits were a discussion point between Alonso and Vettel in the race. I don’t think either of them would have been so cheeky if there was grass instead of paved areas there. I understand it’s more safe this way (and their battle was immense fun to watch) but if the stewards don’t place responsibility on the driver for safe driving then who will?

  25. Whilst I don’t agree that Kimi should be punished (I think it was a racing incident at the end of the day) I think that some posters replying should tone down the level of vehement rhetoric. This is a blog and Will is entirely entitled to his opinion on his own blog.

    On the subject of the incident itself, if you look at it from Alonso’s onboard, you can see that at Aintree Kimi was correcting a bit of oversteer after being offline, there’s a Sauber up his inside. So he’s kept his boot in knowing there’s plenty of tarmac to run on to. Also, if you look, the track has a tarmac re-entry point just before the verge starts. Presumably Kimi ignored this with a view to straight-lining it back on to the track and came on just after, where there is a clear grass & gravel verge. He was racing for position so he took a risk. In the end it was a daft risk.

    • Oh please. If Will Buxton is going to launch an unprecedented and profoundly disingenuous and unfair attack on Kimi Räikkönen, he should expect to be called a craven, cynical opportunist, and have his employer contacted by F1 fans in the US who now have to suffer through Buxton’s moralizing and pontificating.

        • Niki Lauda is not an alleged journalist for the broadcaster with the F1 telecasts rights in my country, so I don’t care what he says, thinks, or eats. Buxton, however, is – and he must be eating or drinking something that is going to his head and corrupting his rational thought processes.

          • Most amusing. A multiple world champion who has been active during the past and current periods of the sport, but his opinion is not relevant because he is not a journalist, you do not wish to be taken seriously, I get it now.

  26. You CEDE position, you heed a warning. It seems to be a favourite of yours, but it grates because it’s wrong. Desist! :)

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  28. These comments are great! Silverstone should check the asphalt in the Concessions areas, in case Kimi decides to drive through there, too. Would be a shame if Silverstone’s negligence caused him to crash into a beer keg.

  29. Will,

    I appreciate your views on the matter and also your courage in going against the Kimi-Maniacs. They tend to believe the sun rises in the West.

  30. It’s the drivers responsibility to make a safe reentry onto the track just as it is the passing drivers responsibility to effect a safe pass. Kimi did not slow down in the least and made an unsafe reentry fair and simple.

  31. Its one thing when a driver makes a mistake that takes himself out of the race but another when it takes other drivers out and narrowly misses seriously injuring others. Kimi screwed up. It happens when the best of the best are chasing tenths of a second. I feel like a race ban by the stewards would be too harsh, if he isn’t “given the weekend off to recover” by Ferrari then I would see a grid penalty being sufficient.

  32. I absolutely agree with Wil. I was with a large group of F1 fans in Los Angeles, and the majority thought Kimi had screwed up. Fans of any particular driver though, never feel their driver is at fault. It is a particular human frailty. It was obvious that in Kimi’s case, it was not a typical asphalt run-off area and demanded extra care. Kimi was reckless, pure and simple.

    • Now that’s an argument that yields any further comments irrelevant. “A large group of fans” thinks something… Say no more.

  33. I’m quite surprised by this blog Will, having watched fully and listened intently to both Sky F1 and the BBC F1 coverage including everything mentioned in the hour or so waiting for the barrier to be repaired you seem to be the only person with this opinion. The only other person to mention anything from a safety aspect of the accident was Damon Hill, Ex BRDC Chairman, who said that Silverstone were aware that this part of the track was a ‘pinch point’ and needed widening or re-profiling but due to the fact they’d have to move the bridge as well they couldn’t afford to do it. I bet it’s sorted before the next British GP..I was looking forward to a nice blog about how Vettel and Alonso are such a pair of whingers but maybe you’re in the middle of that one now…

    • Hello Sharpy66,
      Well, of course we’d expect someone as bright, rational, seasoned, and generous of spirit as our Mr. Hill to make such a statement about a ‘pinch point’. And when he could so easily have said Silverstone is the most perfect track since Creation.. . where’s his PR mouthpiece?

      And as for Vettel and Alonso calling each other’s sins out . . what pathetic little wimps. They should be spanked. Where’s Mr. Mosley when you need him?

    • Sharpy66 .. .
      I really must let you know that on rereading my reply to you at 8July2014 10:56pm it sounds mean and sarcastic when I intended just the opposite (the part about Damon Hill at least). He really is an excellent sort of person.
      (I think I’ve read too many astonishingly rude comments on this blog and my brain is tainted.) (poor excuse)
      (My comment re: Alonso, Vettel, and Mr. Mosley still stands.)

  34. I suspect Ferrari has quickly remembered why they paid Kimi to go away the first time. While it’s clear that the current Ferrari is not a very good car, Alonso has managed to get decent qualifying and race finishes, while Kimi has thrown the car off the track multiple times. I suspect Kimi is just hoping he’s still around to retire at the end of next season…
    BTW, I really feel for Massa – if not for bad luck the guy wouldn’t have any luck at all.

    • The Scuderia is already on record saying that Kimi will not be asked to depart, paid off or bought out before his contract term is completed.

      Try again.

    • I suspect most people here have forgotten that Kimi beat pretty much everyone except for an untouchable Red Bull only last year in a 2nd class Lotus..I’m also pretty sure those same people have forgotten that this F14T was built solely around Fernando. Whose had uncondtional No1 status at Ferrari 4 year and has won nothing..

  35. Well, you clearly have our attention. Perhaps you just enjoyed time at home so much you want everyone to feel as you do that England and Silverstone are near perfection and only need more rules and enforcement with no more actual improvements required.
    I hope you recover your positive thoughts in time for the next race as I enjoy your coverage of the events and most of your comments with the rest of the broadcast team.
    All the best.

  36. FIA Sporting Article 20.2 states that “should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so.”

  37. Why do individuals on here resort to insults while trying to put their point across.Don’t they realise their opinion is meaningless once they resort to such immaturity?

  38. Look, see if you can gain perspective from a different angle… 1. The car is crap(py). 2. Kimi doesn’t complain, he just leaves (see his comments about after his contract expires). 3. There should NOT be a ditch – ANY ditch – off the side of any race course. Drains can be level (grilled). The drain caused a loss of control of the car because the tea tray lifted – game over. 4. It was an accident waiting to happen (surprised Maldonado wasn’t first). 5. Yes, you are right about barriers and sand (gravel) traps being replaced with huge run-off areas. These are because the teams and the FIA demanded them to reduce $$ expenditure on beached cars that get undersides badly damaged. 6. Your sympathy for Massa is understandable, but what the hell does that have to do with a crashed car’s driver? Massa hit him, not visa versa. Of, you’re blaming debris littering? Blame the car maker too? Peter Riva 1-575-535-4646 Las Palomas 28 Alope Way, Gila, NM 88038 Mail: PO Box 87, Gila, NM 88038

    Please consider the environment when deciding to print this email.


    • whoa cool your head there. First of all, I do agree with will’s premise that it is the driver’s responsibility to blend back SAFELY into traffic. The point here isn’t that IF kimi slowed down enough, he still would have made it out okay, (but the impact wouldn’t have been 47G i can tell you that much), it’s that he never made any attempt to slow down AT ALL. The Off track area isn’t meant to be driven at racing speed, that’s why you have drainage ditches, gravel, grass, marshals stationed there. And for kimi to take that kind of risk without even knowing that area of the track was reckless; like i said before: he didn’t even try to slow down.

      secondly, you might want to edit your comment to get rid of your personal address and contact information. It’s just safer for you that way.

        • Complete rubbish and shows your bias or naivety. Cars rejoin at slow speed all the time after spins etc and stay to the side of the track until up to speed. When hammering the throttle across grass you can never be sure of the safety, it might have been damaged during a support race for example.

  39. No one has actually said what Kimi should have done. Firstly he was run wide racing someone – happens all the time – he rejoined, happens all the time – the grass caught him out badly in this case. He was a passenger.

    He can’t have lifted off because that’s a fast corner and cars were still coming from behind. If he slowed down he would’ve been a hazard anyway. There was no time for yellow warnings.

    He can’t have just parked it. There was a barrier ahead, so he could’nt go straight either. He rejoined fine, no one was forced out of their way when he did.

    You critics are full of shit. It was an accident.

    • Well said, Will. These asphalt run-off areas almost encourage drivers to take risks they wouldn’t have taken “in the old days” when the gravel traps were a standard feature of modern race tracks. Make a mistake and you paid the penalty of probable retirement and the prospect of an early shower, as well as an ear-bashing from the team manager. Today, It’s all to easy for a drivers to keep their foot firmly planted on the throttle, belting into corners knowing the consequences of making a mistake, more often than not, would be minimal because of the extensive run-off areas. The risks almost seem worth it. I remember Eddie Irvine suggesting not that long ago that if you put more armco on the outside of corners, you’d be amazed how quickly drivers would start to respect the track limits! Wise man that Mr. Irvine…

    • So wrong. You go off the track, you know there are cars right behind at high speed, the general rule is after going off track that it is your responsility to rejoin the track safely. The fanbois and girls state he had no way of knowing there was a ditch and I agree, therefore he should have slowed down, kept right and allowed the following cars time to see him. Yes there was time to slow down and rejoin further to the back. This has occurred many times over the history of the sport without issue. He was only a passenger after making a very silly mistake, they should learn from it.

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  41. First I want to say I’m a big fan of you Will. But that being said I don’t agree with everything you’ve written here. I disagree with RAI and GRO actions are the same. When GRO was sat down it was for escalating bad judgement calls from a relative newbie. Someone with little to no expirience in F1. Kimi is nowhere near a rookie. And I’m aware he should no better and should be held to a higher standard, but he has not displayed an escalating lack of judgement. This is a stand alone incident.

    Secondly, if the FIA, want this behavior to stop. It should be enforced, consistently and fairly. The run off areas have created some effects. Like I’ve read on your twitter feed and heard you a few times on TV say. One of those effects is no penalty if you leave the island. Drivers drive differently because they have less to fear from running wide or braking late. These side effects are unfortunate, but my fear is the side effects of removing them. If we remove the asphalt what do we replace it with. I think one of the good side effects from the asphalt is less yellows and SCs as a result of retrieving cars from the kitty litter. I’m not a fan of the gravel pits, but I understand why they are there. Do we replace with grass? Not sure that would slow the cars enough, or keep the drivers from dring to drive fast on the grass. My main point is I believe the run offs have prevented more accidents than they have caused. They have also sometimes created excitement. And in the past I have seen how reacting to a problem for the right reasons, causing worse problems than before, way too often. Thanks for your time.

  42. Wow … a lot of trolls on here!

    Not sure I agree that Kimi should get a one race ban but it was his fault, could’ve avoided it and it did end Massa’s race so I wouldn’t argue too much if he had some sort of penalty. That said, isn’t it the same instinct to keep his foot down that everybody so admired back in Spa in 2002 when he plowed on ‘blind’ through the smoke of a blown engine ahead of him?

  43. I applaud Will for calling out Raikkonen on this issue. He knew before setting finger to key that this point of view was not going to be popular with everyone but it begs to be addressed.

  44. Pingback: Why I like Vroom Vroom | Engineering Pragmatism

  45. I think people are missing the seriousness of the incident, i’m not talking from a Raikkonen or a Massa perspective, it’s more from the view of Max Chilton. The guy had a tyre literally inches from his head from the damaged Ferrari, and its the negligence of Kimi as to why Will is bang on the money.

    I think Will (correct me if i’m wrong here Will) is pushing more on the negligence issue and given the tragic death of Henry Surtee, then Kimi’s incident could of had some fatal results which we shouldn’t overlook at all. Would we still have the lauding of a driver being a pure ‘racer’ or a works team not tethering a wheel correctly? Either way i don’t think a drivers responsibility will be the first thing brought into judgement, as we’re seeing here.

    As per 20.2 of the sporting regulations say, the driver should rejoin when its safe to do so. I don’t think at any point during the whole drive out Arena and into Wellington did Kimi re-join in a safe manner, the mere fact his foot was planted suggests that he was expecting other drivers to make way for him. Whether a ditch is there or not, he didn’t even give it a second thought by not lifting through that stage.

  46. I wonder if you would say the same thing if the driver in question was Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button and the crash occurred at Spa or Monza? The track was at fault – who would place an uncovered drainage ditch within inches of the track at the exit of a high speed corner. I’m sensing a touch of jingoism in your comments.

  47. It was an avoidable accident which was Kimis fault. HOWEVER:

    Comparing Kimi to Grosjean in 2012 (who did cause a lot of accidents) is not correct.

    Kimi did immediately care about the health of Massa (he was not aware of Chilton at that time) despite the obvious pain he was in. Usually, Kimi is not causing any trouble on the track and is a fair opponent. Therefore, a ban is an exaggeration.

    The majority of the experts didn’t ask for a penalty for Kimi, so they must also have a point.

    I guess most drivers would not have slowed down in his situation, especially not in the first lap. Of course, Kimi did misjudge the exit point – however, I would want to see how many of the current field would have slowed down to let the others through?

    Maybe Kimi will get a grid or point penalty. Everything else would be too hard in my opinion. At least you got what you wanted -> ATTENTION ;)

  48. Will, once again you are using your standing within the F1 community as a “journalist” to express absolutely ludicrous opinions to a vast audience. Even though it is on your personal blog, the sheer amount of exposure that this blog gets across the internet makes this article not only irresponsible but further indicates that what you write and what you say on air is completely done to make sure everyone knows who Will Buxton is and what he does.

  49. Will has rattled a tidy little nest of vipers here and while in principle I agree with the sentiment, I think there is one very obvious (to me) point that I think is yet to be made.

    If Silverstone is such a safe place, why then…in the knowledge that 22 F1 drivers would all be scrapping at that one point…did they leave the gully in such an exposed condition that meant it had the ‘potential’ to upset a nervous F1 car had it run wide?

    Yes yes, RAI had his foot to the floor, and while I have no idea if he did a track walk before the race…let’s face it…had he KNOWN about the uneven surface do we all REALLY think he would have lifted his foot off the throttle in the heat of battle? Personally I think not.

    If we look back at Imola 94 and Barrichello’s massive tongue-swallowing shunt, it was clear to everyone that the massive angle and height of the leading edge of the kerbs that added to the drama and danger of that incident. Subsequently (and also because of the sadly departed Ratzenberger’s crash) kerbs were modified. Yet 25 years on at Silverstone, we have a ‘safe’ run off area with an uneven edge to the track? Bizarre? No?

    RAI was being RAI and the ballsy hungry racer we all know. His head was down and he was going for it. Wether his driving was safe at that moment is for the stewards to decide but frankly, had he seen a Japanese express train coming his way at that very moment, I doubt he’d have lifted.

  50. Agree. Seemed a very reckless maneuver at the time. I was not aware Kimi did not participate in pre-race track walk, which makes it that much worse, IMO.

  51. To all those who are placing the blame on the circuit, have a closer look at the aerial shot of Raikkonen rejoining the track; he runs off the runoff tarmac and over the grass verge in front of the bridge before joining the track. No surprise he loses control in that case.

  52. Kimi could easily have lifted and safely rejoined the track. He didn’t. It was his fault and his alone.
    My respect for him is gone. Chilton was lucky to avoid serious injury. Seeing how close that loose wheel came to hitting his head… Raikkonen could easily have caused the first F1 driver fatality since Senna.

    • Yep. Lift and rejoin when clear. That is how it is and how it has always been, per the rules. This “champions don’t lift” bull crap that these fan bois keep trumpeting is pure garbage.

  53. Seriously? Journalist? I am sure there is a term for every one ng on bandwagon and multiplying matters, usually I would associate that kind of writing with cheap tabloids and celebrity mags.
    Ask your self which drivers would have slowed down? Then ask would they ever be champions? Safety is always important, but I rather watch racers trying ( and a few making mistakes too) than a few super steady eddies going around in safe manner (if that is your thing, maybe someone invents a more suitable motor sport, kind of motor sport version of dressage, all skill and no speed).
    Another question, would you slowed down? Would you let every one pass you because corner looks a bit tight? I hope your answer is no.
    More than having jazz hands, screaming at look at le every one and trying to milk the unfortunate accident, would it not he better putting your skill and experience in good use? Finding a solution to speeding on run off areas would be pretty good start, not just in silverstone, but in all circuits. I am pretty sure there is a high tech (maybe even a low tech) material which could be used as surface to slow down the cars, maybe mainly at rejoining (as a simple fact of human behaviour is that if you not going to suffer (some form) because leaving the track, you will exploit it. Higher you are in your game, more you will look at all of those borderline options to exploit (Alonso vs. Vettel and Lewis vs. Nico early season).
    Rant over.

  54. Agreed. Dangerous driving by Raikkonen. Very lucky that no one was badly hurt or killed.

    At the very least Williams should send Ferrari a bill to fix the damage to the Williams car of Massa who did a brilliant job to avoid.

  55. Great comments and observations, Will. I agree with the content of your interview of Mr. Lauda during the broadcast, mostly. In that interview as I recall (or perhaps it was an interview by someone else), he was complaining of the duration to repair the fence, and to get on with racing as no one will hit that damaged fence again. Wrong – if it happened once it will happen again.

    The FIA must, shall (no might or should), insist, along with the teams and track operators, fix all circuits to make risk (such as the calculated risk Kimi took to go wide, of course, and return full throttle), of losing positions by going off circuit much greater than controlling your race car and keeping it on circuit. It is fine, in this instance, that Kimi ran off course with a large safe area to slow down and recover control of the race car, but design the runoff such that to return to the course, the pilot must navigate either around or over massive speed bumps.

    I don’t know why series believes it is required to come up with their own safety designs. One exception is the HANS device. Why doesn’t the FIA look at NASCARs “safer barriers”? Scratch that last sentence, I’ll get a lot of hate comments for that one. At the very least, there should have been tire (tyre) walls at that turn. If there were some, there weren’t enough.

    I would otherwise bench Kimi for one race, fine the team for this off track excursion and rapid return to the race but for this fact – if a pilot has the option to drive off circuit and return to it only to lose a couple of positions … they’ll take it. The FIA and track operators allowed Kimi the path to lose only a few positions, or control his race car to stay on track, or crash. If the FIA and track operators allowed Kimi the path to lose 20 positions, or control his race car to stay on track, or crash – my guess is the Kimi would control his race car.

    By controlling his race car, I mean control it to the extent required to keep it within the track limits, between the white lines.

    BTW – it was a proper restart after the Safety Car left the circuit. To your prior blog subject, Will, no stickin’ standing start other than the start of the race. FIA, change that rule back for 2015!

    Thank the Almighty no one was killed.

    • Those barriers are not a nascar thing, please quit giving credit to an organization that doesn’t deserve it. They were developed by a partnership between universities and indycar.

  56. It is rather idiotic to think that a track walk would solve this problem because no driver would walk on precisely every inch of the track as you so ignorantly assessed. Even with that knowledge there is no guarantee that a driver would retain the control in that dusty run off area (at any reasonable speed) to be able to guide the car precisely to a better option.

    Perhaps rather than attack a driver you need to rewind your reel and note that his veering off track in the first place was caused by a driver who didnt see him in the mirrors. Nethertheless, unlike Spa 2012 Raikkonen had no visibility of the “edge gully” as it was covered. There is a difference between racing & seeing your opponents around you and failing to avoid contact than not having visibility of a small edging at racing speed.

    The driver suffered a 47g impact and will miss the opportunity to resolve some issues with a very ill handling F14T .Raikkonen unlike every other driver in F1 does not look for excuses or reasoning and that leaves him succeptible to moronic predators like yourself. A driver who is probably the fairest and most balanced racing driver in the history of sport is not a reckless guy and this incident was not clear. If it was I would suggest he would have posed no danger to himself or anyone & he would’ve been a lot further up the grid on Sunday

  57. Wow! A lot of excellent commentary. Quite entertaining and informative. And I just stopped by to mention to Will that it was not Michael Jordan who said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Actually comes from NHL legend, Wayne Gretzky.

  58. Just for information the drainage ditches at Silverstone are about 600mm wide and filled with gravel “French Drains” they appear at a number of places around the circuit. The gravel is filled to the top. Any change in level is pretty minor but it will of course upset anything that crosses them at speed. Anyone know how common French Drains are on other circuits?

  59. Will, I’m so pleased to see an F1 journo that will stick his neck out and voice an opinion, rather than just trotting out the PR quotes issued by the teams.

    I have to say I agree with what you say. When it happened I shouted at the TV that he should get a penalty for that move. He rejoined the track at almost right angles at full racing speed. Even if the car had not been launched by the grass, it was still a dangerous move.

    I am not a Kimi hater, in fact I’m behind anyone that brings colour to modern corporate F1 – drivers, team bosses and journos

  60. What a stupid reporter this Will Buxton, pfff all kind of idiots around jeez.

    British are top notch in installing fences and barriers.. the whole country looks like big fcking jail! But what about actual ROADS condition? Why they make tarmac run-off area but leave such a bumpy part ? Almost a ditch right next to racing line??

    Kimi could have gone slower there but he would still experience quite a bump.. is there a rule how fast you have to drive from run-off area back to the straight dry track?

    • “is there a rule how fast you have to drive from run-off area back to the straight dry track?…”

      Yes, that rule is 20.2
      “Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not.”

  61. Surely it was all Alonso’s doing-get his team mate to crash bring out the safety car and get a great result out of it all😁😁😁Kimi was wrong to join at the speed he did and Will’s point has merits-a penalty of some sort should probably be applied-isn’t what he did similar to an unsafe release????

  62. Good lord. Just look at all these ridiculous comments by armchair fans who all think they know better than someone who lives in the goddamn paddock all season long. I race stock-Honda in karting, and I agree with everything Will has said.

    Kimi was a total prick when rejoining the track, and absolutely did so in an unsafe manner. It was worthy of a black flag for the race, but of course it wasn’t needed as he removed himself from it anyway; so it would be fair to bench him for the next one. It looked like the sort of amateur brainless move that would be made at some arrive-and-drive kart track.

    I get that a majority of F1 fans have probably never actually driven anything competitively in their lives, but some of the garbage that y’all are coming up with is pure fan boy rhetoric and butthurt, and is not rooted in ANY real life experience or first hand knowledge of racing on any organized level.

    • Well there you go boys and girls. The new worlds authority on Formula 1. Forget the ex driver stewards forget virtually every other expert and forget Charlie Whiting. None of them have a clue obviously. Thank you so much Dale for your invaluable contribution to the article and it’s many replies sharing with all of us armchair fan bois your vast experience gained through stock Honda karting which will surely be the next big thing… do they put yellow flags out in that to close up the pack too I wonder?
      If it helps, I used to be a white van man* and occasionally overtook** people on the motorway*** at incredible speeds of up to 80mph**** and even once or twice thought about shooting***** a red light or not giving way to the right at roundabouts******

      * Driver of a van, white in colour
      ** Passed
      *** Freeway
      **** approx 120kph
      ***** Going straight through
      ****** Giving way to the left

      • What? As opposed to all the other “authorities” on F1 commenting above? Yeah, I think my opinion is a bit more educated than most. Sorry if that pisses you off.

    • & how many years have you or Will Buxton been actually racing in F1.

      Do you honestly believe that any driver would be able to know intimately that a ridge on the edge of the track existed & at anything like racing speed could have been avoided???. Whether its at 240kph or 150kph..would the result have been different..Ive experienced this so I know what Im talking about
      & I would suggest you & Mr Buxton should both get a reality check. Because clearly you dont!

      • How many years have you been driving in F1?

        No, not every driver is going to know where the bumps and divots are. But ANY driver should know how to rejoin a goddamn racetrack when there is still traffic.

        • Im not the one judging him am I you f/wit !

          The stewards already did that with a thousand more angles & telemetry than you & I & bugger luggs Buxton have & THEY DECIDED IT WAS A RACING INCIDENT.

          So stick your head back up where the dont shine and come back out when you ve your brain.

          • It’s rhetoric like this that will threaten this forum. Will took the time to write a thoughtful piece, albeit one that I disagreed with.

            The amount of crap being thrown every-which-way is silly, rude, and off-point. To be sure, there is useful commentary on all sides. Why don’t we all try to argue our respective points on a more even-keeled and intellectual level (and leave the screaming to the footballers ;-) ?

  63. Yesterday on Gary Hartstein’s ‘formerf1doc’ blog a commenter posted a link via to an overhead video of Kimi’s Silverstone incident, from the moment he left the track until his car came to rest. I found the same video on YouTube last evening.
    I’d watched the race with a group of avid F1 pals and we were all perplexed as to what actually happened because the race video featured ground level point of view where Kimi looked like a wild man appearing from nowhere to bring chaos to the back of the pack.
    But, watching the overhead, it was evident he was not a wild man, nor was he out of control. He left the track, continued at speed, and was about to enter the track in a space both adequate and safe, when the car hit the “French gully” and lost traction. The stewards obviously watched this video, saw the crash wasn’t his fault, and didn’t cite him.
    I wanted to attach those links to this post, but when I looked this morning both were blocked by “Formula One Management” for copyright reasons. So I went to the official Formula 1 site and found nothing. Nor was this video on BBC F1. For whatever the real reason is, we F1 fans are prevented from seeing information important to understanding the incident. (I shall reserve comment on the loathsome Formula One Management for another time.)

  64. I am certain Kimi was more worried about staying in front Alonso than any other competitor. In this YouTube clip, Kimi makes yet another bad decision. If he had given up P1 (Alonso was chasing and catching him from P2), pitted and changed tyres, he e still would have been been on the podium.

    Published Aug 26, 2012
    “Kiki had survived 20 laps driving on a heavily flat spotted tyre, but his luck ran out on the last lap. The vibration caused from the flat spotted tyre caused a catastrophic failure of the suspension. This handed victory to his championship rival Fernando Alonso.”

  65. I have never read such rubbish in my entire life. Kimi in a racer through and through. As such he will always strive to compete at a racing pace. Do you honestly believe that ANY driver is complacent enough to put their own life at risk. ? It was a racing incident that could happen to any driver at any circuit any time. People like you are all for watering down the sport and killing it off completely. Let the drivers race. The sport is safer now than it as ever been.

  66. The very best part about this entire brouhaha is that Mr. Raikkonen doesn’t care. He’s out splashing about with his girlfriend and his $170,000,000 and his Akvavit and his 10 days off. Who can’t love that guy?
    Eläköön Kimi !!!

  67. I totally disagree with you. It was just a racing incident. Do you think that he would purposefully destroy his car? Or take a chance on wrecking it by hitting another driver? It could have been much worse than a bruised ankle……

  68. Thank you all for taking the time to read this piece. I appreciate that not all of you agreed with what I had to say and I enjoyed reading replies from those of you who had the presence of mind to keep your emotions in check and write reasoned arguments. Some of you did not. Some of you could not. And I will not provide a forum for blind venting or personal insults. As such I will no longer be approving comments on this article.

  69. Pingback: F1weekends | Why Massa Should’ve Been Penalised For Causing His Own Incident

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