The crash that left French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi in a critical condition with severe head injures was down to bad luck rather than poor judgement by Japanese Grand Prix race officials, a track spokesman said.
The 25-year-old Marussia driver suffered the life-threatening injury on Sunday when he aquaplaned off a wet track and slammed into the back of a recovery tractor that had been deployed to remove Adrian Sutil's crashed Sauber.
"Officials raised 'double yellow flags' after the accident by Sutil, which means drivers had to slow down to the speed that they can immediately stop, but unfortunately Bianchi's car aquaplaned right at the time and ran into the accident site, which was bad luck," Suzuka Circuit spokesman Masamichi Miyazaki said.
Rain was coming and the road was wet but not heavy enough to halt the race. I believe the race officials made the same judgement
"Admittedly, rain was coming and the road was wet, but not heavy enough to halt the race, and I believe the race officials made the same judgement."
The incident brought a premature end to Sunday's race, with race-winner Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the paddock turning their attentions to the likeable Frenchman, a graduate of Ferrari's young driver academy.
Questions over crane
Former Formula One driver Martin Brundle, now a commentator in Britain, was one of many people involved in the sport who questioned the safety procedures used.
He recalled his own near miss with a crane when driving in the sport 20 years ago and questioned the need for them to be so close to the track.
"I nearly lost my life against one of them, I just missed it and hit a marshal. I closed my eyes and I thought that was the end," he was quoted as saying by British media. "The tractors are just too high and you are sitting down low. I've been saying this for a long time.
"You are going into the barrier if you go off there. There's no way of recovering, you are going too fast."
Bianchi's accident was the most serious involving a driver at a grand prix weekend since Brazilian Felipe Massa suffered near-fatal head injuries in Hungary in 2009 after being hit on the helmet by a bouncing spring shed from a car in front.