FIA investigating role of yellow light signal in Floersch Macau crash

Formula Three

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The FIA will investigate whether Sophis Floersch’s serious crash in last weekend’s Macau Grand Prix was triggered by a yellow warning signal which may have been shown incorrectly.

Floersch was launched through a barrier and into a photographer stand after making contact with the rival cars of Jehan Daruvala and Sho Tsuboi. Video replays appear to show Floesrch losing control of her car after clipping Daruvala’s car while a yellow lights were being displayed. These may have been shown in error, as the race was restarting following a Safety Car period.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting confirmed he had seen the video and the investigation will look into why the yellow lights were shown and whether the drivers involved in the crash reacted to them.

“That’s going to be all part of the investigation,” he said. “Quite clearly in the films you can see there were yellow lights being shown both sides of the track, that’s a fact.

“But exactly why the two cars made contact, you can assume one car slowed down and the other one hit the car in front, but we need to understand in detail and make sure when we do come up with a report we know the facts, not assumptions.”

Whiting said it did seem the yellow signal was shown when the track conditions were green. “When you look at the film – you’ve seen as much as I have – and I think it’s quite evident that there were yellow lights being shown. Obviously the Safety Car had come in so green flags had been shown.

“But I can’t tell any more. We need to analyse it, all the onboard footage from all the cars. That is the sort of thing that takes time.”

“We need to look at everything,” he added. “Whether it’s kerbs, the track, barrier, the debris fence, the photographers – we’ll be looking at everything.”

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    Image: Sophia Floersch via Instagram

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  • 19 comments on “FIA investigating role of yellow light signal in Floersch Macau crash”

    1. Yet those sausage kerbs which launched the car won’t be investigated or removed for safety

      1. Literally in the last quote:

        “Whether it’s kerbs, the track, barrier, the debris fence, the photographers – we’ll be looking at everything.”

        1. “the photographers”? Yes, sports photography, the number 1 cause of racing accidents.
          It’s an inherently dangerous track I guess. Needs a Tilke redesign!
          Hope everyone makes a swift recovery.

    2. I for one am glad that this did not turn out any worse than what it did.

      There are tons of lessons to be learned here just from this one accident I hope that what ever they find wrong they fix across the wide range of series that the FIA are responsible for.

    3. Is Charlie the “FIA race director” as described above in para 3, or is he the race director for F1? I’d hardly think he runs around for the other formulae as well (unless they’re playing a support race role for F1), and his description is generally specific to F1.

      What is his role in this investigation? Interested party (due to F1), or a stakeholder in the investigation (as a senior FIA official)?

      In any case, I echo @docnuke ‘s sentiment, the learnings from this should be applied across all series.

    4. “But exactly why the two cars made contact, you can assume one car slowed down and the other one hit the car in front”

      What? They hit each others sides going at equal speeds down the straight or am i missing something here?

      1. Youtube id 2sWZ_T54sZ8
        Her front left wheel hit his rear right wheel. Detached front left wheel then hits and breaks her rear left wheel. So she lost both her left wheels. Either she was breaking late, or he was breaking too early.

      2. edit: looks like both her left wheels were broken of his rear right wheel.

      3. @rethla The car ahead slowed down due to the yellow, whereas Floersch and everyone else was still going full speed, and she wasn’t expecting him to slow down so early so could do nothing to avoid the contact which broke off both left wheels as regs said.

    5. Whatever the causes that led to this insanely scary incident, the blind, dumb and equally insane luck that just barely prevented a disaster that could easily have been as bad, or worse than Le Mans 1955 is mind-boggling. I can’t recall ever seeing a near-miss like this one, where a car was turned into an unguided, low-flying missile, yet no one died. Pure luck.

      1. Hold your horses. Its not like there was a grandstand at the end of the corner.

      2. This is nowhere close to the insane luck involved or potential disaster of McNish’s crash at Le Mans in 2011.

    6. Are F2 & F3 cars fitted with the same 360 degree and high-frame rate cameras as the F1 cars? @gt-racer?

      1. Do F1 cars have “360 degree cameras”…?

        1. Yes, they have a ‘non-live’ 360 camera mounted in the forward part of the tub. It can only be used for footage after the race. I’m not sure if its in all cars or whether they have a limited number they move between cars every race.

          I tagged @gt-racer in because he’s usually good at confirming this.

    7. Zhou, who was driving behind them, already told the press (even before this footage was released) that Daruvala braked because of the yellow lights and Flörsch ran into him. So the original cause of the crash seems clear to me.

      May be Whiting should go and talk to the drivers who were there.

      And imho the kerbs launched her in the air and hitting Tsubois car probably even higher over the barriers.

      1. So that’s one witness, lots of other information to look at.
        Do not make assumptions on only one witness, he could be right or partly right or maybe wrong.

      2. I haven’t seen this Yellow Light, but if Charlie says it was illuminated then it must have happened. This raises a question, which is why didn’t Flörsch start braking when the Yellow Light were illuminated? Maybe the Yellow Light was incorrectly illuminated, but Flörsch should have braked anyway.
        This leads to another question: Were there conflicting lights, e.g. a Green Light (racing allowed) and a Yellow Light (Yellow Flag conditions prevail)? If there was, shouldn’t the most important light, e.g. Yellow or Red, prevail? Again, one would expect the driver to obey the “senior” light (in this case Yellow).

    8. Whiting ? Is this the guy that didn’t apply safety car in Bianchi crash at Suzuka ?

    Comments are closed.