A first from FOM — videos of the controversial incidents

It is increasingly a rarity. But today the powers that be in Formula 1 have done something right. Bernie Ecclestone’s website, Formula1.com, has uploaded videos of the three controversial incidents that happened during the Japanese Grand Prix. The intention is clear as the title of the video asks, “what do you think?”

This includes a handful of extra camera angles that have not previously been seen by the public. Put aside the fact that they should be offering more video clips anyway. We have to applaud them when they move in the right direction.

Going through the incidents one-by-one as I did in my previous post, I don’t think the angles of the turn 1 incident really telly us anything new. In my view, the videos conclusively show that the Ferraris were indeed impeded by Hamilton’s dodgy manoeuvre. However, as many have pointed out, Heikki Kovalainen wasn’t completely innocent and it also looks as though several drivers outbraked themselves as well.

The new videos of the Massa–Hamilton crash did make me raise my eyebrows. I think after seeing the onboard view from Massa’s car, I would be more inclined to give Massa a penalty. He got the corner completely wrong and was well out of place for the duration of the corner. It was Hamilton’s corner in my view. Massa appeared to make absolutely no attempt to avoid an accident until it was far too late.

Having said that, I still think that there was more that Hamilton could have done to avoid the accident too. For Massa’s onboard I can only conclude that Massa thought he could manage to get through on the inside, although I admit that that would have been quite optimistic of him. But if Hamilton was clever, he would have given Massa more space. Indeed, a harsh observer of the final angle of this incident may point out that it’s almost as if Hamilton turned into Massa. They both drove into each other. For me, this is still a 50–50 incident which probably would have been better left alone by the stewards.

Unfortunately, the new angles for the Sébastien Bourdais penalty do not reveal an awful lot. Ideally we’d have a helicopter view, or a view from the inside of the corner. Seemingly no such angle is available, so all the angles we are given are from the far side of the incident, taken from the left of Massa’s car.

From what we can see though, it looks to me as though Bourdais is not quite as tight in to the inside of the corner as I initially thought. However, if anything this is because it was further along in the corner than I thought. If Sébastein Bourdais is not right on the inside of the corner it is because he is exiting the corner.

Sure, he could have backed off more. But as Le Seb himself has pointed out, that would have been tantamount to rolling out the red carpet for Massa to accept. This is racing. F1’s not supposed to work like that. Massa is the one who came steaming in from behind and made a total hash of the corner.

All-in-all, I’m glad to see that FOM have released these videos to give fans a clearer idea of what happened on the track. It brings us closer to the sort of views the stewards are given, and this is a step in the right direction.

It’s clear, though, that the only reason they have done this is because of all the furore surrounding the penalties. I still think it is sad that F1 has come to this. In my view, these are three racing incidents, and there is no doubt in my mind that had any of these incidents happened, say, ten years ago, no-one would have raised an eyebrow at the incidents, far less felt that they were deserving a penalty.

Check out another view on FOM’s decision to release these videos from Keith on F1 Fanatic.

Incidentally, I am busier this week than I had originally expected, so I may not be able to analyse the Japanese GP until after China. I’ll see what I can do though.


  1. I hold my view, no penalty for any of the three incidents. There was no deliberate attempt by Hamilton, he just screwed up. Massa also screwed up but Hamilton also shut the door when he knew very well Massa was there… it was a game of chicken and neither flinched, racing incident. It’s nt like Massa cut the corner.

    Bourdais was not on the racing line and was a bit behind… Massa should have know better and that it was for position.

  2. I certainly enjoyed the three videos, and I have my own opinion.

    Issue 1: Hamilton was a complete kamikaze. His right tyre lost the green lines in the point where white smoke formed (!). However, he did not deserve a penalty. Particularly if KOV didn’t get one, he was even worse.

    Issue 2: Penalty for Massa correct. However, I agree with you, Hamilton could have escaped, but he didn’t. Another silly move.

    Issue 3: I still don’t get the BOU-MAS incident.

    1.- Points for the FOM for releasing this superb video. I wish that they are here (the Internet) to stay. Did you notice the quality? Way better than youtube…

    2.- I feel sorry for Hamilton. This guy has a great disadvantage when it comes to nailing a good result. He badly needs a psychologist.

    3.- Shame on stewards, punishing Bourdais is too much for me.

    As for the F1 Champ this year, I have to say that whoever wins, it will be a mediocre champion, scoring under 100 points probably. The great news are that this year we have battles under the top four drivers.

  3. I completely agree with AC. All the incidents were racing incidents, and none should have been punished.

    It is this micro-analysis of F1 that is making a mockery of it. They were racing incidents – ’nuff said.

  4. The question from me is why is there footage from Massa’s T-Cam for the Hamilton incident but not the Bourdais one?

  5. I think only a certain number of onboard feeds can be received (and therefore recorded) by the trackside facilities. (This is also one of the reasons why the quality of onboard cameras is not so good — it’s compressed like hell.)

    I don’t know how many it is now, but back in 1994 only three could be received at any one time. Following the death of Ayrton Senna, the fact that his onboard camera was switched off just seconds before his fatal crash fuelled a few conspiracy theories.