FORMULA One driver Jules Bianchi did not slow down enough in the moments before the crash that left him fighting for his life, according to an investigation by motorsport chiefs the FIA.
Bianchi, 25, is still to regain consciousness after suffering severe head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix in October but is now breathing unaided and continuing his recovery in his native France.
The Marussia driver ploughed into a trackside recovery vehicle that was tending to the Sauber of Adrian Sutil, who had lost control at the same point a lap earlier, at 126kph (78mph).
An FIA panel concluded that one of the factors that may have contributed to the crash was that “Bianchi did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control”, though that was not the sole cause.
Technical factors unique to the Marussia car which meant that an automatic engine cut-out did not take effect may also have affected the speed of impact, it added, but enclosing the cockpit would not have protected Bianchi from the impact with that 6,500kg crane.
Formula One’s controversial double-points system introduced this year for the final race has been scrapped, meanwhile, following a meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council. The scheme was designed to inject further drama into the campaign’s finale but was widely criticised by both drivers and teams.
Next season’s calendar has been provisionally set at a record 21 grands prix, with South Korea set to return and Mexico to host a new date. The Korean Grand Prix could cause a logistical headache as it is pencilled in for 3 May, just a week before the next race in Spain.