Esteban Guttierez Calls for Careful Analysis of "my friend" Bianchi's Accident
Sauber's Esteban Guttierez has called for careful analysis of the data from Jules Bianchi's accident in Suzuka and has spoken of his difficulties...
Sauber's Esteban Guttierez has called for careful analysis of the data from Jules Bianchi's accident in Suzuka and has spoken of his difficulties in getting back in the cockpit while his friend and former team-mate lies in hospital in Japan.
As more driver reaction emerges from the paddock at the Sochi Autodrom ahead of this weekend's inaugural Russian Grand Prix, Guttierez has spoken of the effect the accident is having on him and his sport.
"Sometimes you don't realise how tough a situation is but the feeling is not very pleasant," said Guttierez who raced alongside Bianchi at the ART team in the European Formula 3 series in 2009 and again with ART in GP2 in 2011.
"I've been very close to Jules in the days when we've been team mates. We achieved good things together and in some way he was always one step in front of me because every year I stepped in to the level that he was he already had one year of experience.
"So to me it was a great reference and we were very close with the family together with my family as well and right now to accept what happened it's been pretty tough and challenging.
"You don't really expect these things happening in these years in Formula One."
Guttierez says that the GPDA is working well in the aftermath of the accident and praised the FIA for their consultation of the drivers in their current research into its causes and possible solutions for the future.
"We are together. We've been in contact now more than ever with Alex (Wurz) now as a channel. I think, and I'm confident now that is a big example to all of us and not only that happens and goes through. Because we have to be sure that the lessons we can learn from it are very well implemented into the future.
"The FIA is analysing very closely the situation and I'm confident that they're doing it in a way with all the best intentions to make it safer and to find a solution to it and they're considering us, also the drivers which I really appreciate and it seems this is the way we need to work for the future."
However, Guttierez counselled caution in making changes too quickly.
"I think we have to not rush into things. In my opinion, there are many ways to solve it and at the same time there are many implications. For instance, the closed cockpits, it's probably an easy solution to say that 'okay, you are protected but it has other implications as well. Your enclosed in there, you can be caught up.
"It's very difficult to say one thing. I think we have to take a close look, close analysis and see what is really the solution to (prevent) these things from happening. We cannot lose the respect to the danger that we have around us.
"It's a dangerous sport and we have to be very well aware of it, not only for ourselves but also thinking of the danger for the people that are working around us. We cannot be selfish and think, okay it's all about us the drivers and our safety. It's also for the safety of everybody."
Williams' Valtteri Bottas, another team mate of Bianchi at ART in the European F3, believes that F1 could not reasonably have foreseen the turn of events that culminated in Bianchi's accident.
"I think you can never be prepared for a really bad accident like this," said the Finn. "As it's been so long since anything like this has happened in Formula One it's difficult to expect. It reminds us that we need to keep working on the safety and that there's never a limit. It can always be a safer sport."
Bottas believes that the sport is going in the right direction to make F1 and all of motorsport safer.
"I'm confident myself that there's a lot of work at the moment to look into the safety and that there will be improvements so that's for other people to decide but I'm confident there will be improvements."
Nico Rosberg described his ongoing sense of shock following Suzuka.
"It's been a shocking experience," said the Mercedes driver. "Now coming back to the paddock and meeting all the people, especially those who are even closer to him than I was, especially the French people and discussing it with them. It's really quite unbelievable and so everybody's very much down here in the paddock. There's not the usual hype and excitement."
Meanwhile Lotus driver Romain Grosjean believes that Bianchi would want the F1 series to race as normal this weekend. "It certainly has been a different week than it is normally," said the Swiss. "It's been three days where you can think a lot about it but I think Jules would like us to race normally and do what we love doing.
Kimi Raikkonen, too, believes that accidents are a part of motorsport, regardless of the code and spoke of mixed emotions ahead of this weekend's event.
"In the end for sure it was the right decision but before, what happened, it's always easy to say afterwards," said the 2007 world champion. It's a very unfortunate thing and nobody wants to see anybody get hurt and I don't want to comment on anything else. I hope that Jules will get better and all my thoughts are for his family but I have no interest in commenting on what happened.
"I feel sad about what happened but we are here to try to the best that we can this weekend and it's mixed emotions always.
"Every motorsport is dangerous because it doesn't matter if we do 300 or 50kmh, accidents can happen and they happen, unfortunately. It can be a very small thbing that can have a devastating end result. We've seen it in the past and it's always part of the sport unfortunately.
We always hope that nobody gets hurt but sometimes things unfortunately don't go the right way."
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