Hartstein launches attack on FIA over Bianchi death

  • Published on 17 Aug 2015 14:02
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein has launched an attack on officials of the sport's governing body following the death of Jules Bianchi. His comments follow hot on the heels of those made by Felipe Massa, who said Bianchi's death has united the drivers, and Felipe Nasr, who said F1 is still pushing to improve safety.

Hartstein, however, tagged both Massa and Nasr in a social media post on Twitter by saying the drivers should be focusing their attention elsewhere. They "should start by demanding the firing of the (F1) medical delegate", said Hartstein, whose relationship with the FIA has been acidic since his contract was not renewed at the end of 2012.

The FIA's current medical delegate is Jean-Charles Piette, but Hartstein said the medical commission's chief Gerard Saillant is "even more clueless". Some of Hartstein's tweets over the weekend were apparently deleted, but he insists that "Everything I said is factual and meant as such, not as insults".

Nonetheless, he was scathing of Piette, insisting he is "responsible for the disastrous land-based evacuation of their (Massa and Nasr's) late colleague (Bianchi)". Hartstein said there should have been "no racing" occurring at Suzuka at the time of Bianchi's crash as the helicopter was grounded and the estimated evacuation time to hospital was more than 30 minutes.

"And his (Piette's) total lack of knowledge or experience in trauma care places them at risk every time they're out" on track, Hartstein charged. So until Hartstein's concerns about the FIA medical team are addressed, he said Massa and Nasr's "concern for their own safety rings a bit hollow. Start with the basics guys!"

Hartstein thinks the FIA could even be held liable for Bianchi's death. "I expect that the Bianchis have been told that. I believe they (the FIA) are indeed liable." The New Yorker also aimed fire at the FIA president Jean Todt. "The sport was not his agenda. HE was his agenda. Even his road safety crap is all show, no meat," said Hartstein. (GMM)

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