Nine months after his accident in Japan, F1 driver Jules Bianchi has died.
Former Marussia F1 driver Jules Bianchi has died, nine months after suffering severe head injuries in a crash at Suzuka, Japan. Yesterday was his 26th birthday.
Bianchi had collided with a tractor crane that was picking up the stricken Sauber car of Adrian Sutil during the race, which was held in wet conditions. The sickening accident resulted in a Diffuse axonal injury to the brain, and he spent the next nine months in a coma.
He was moved from the hospital in Japan a few months later to a hospital in his hometown of Nice, France, and after a while he was able to breathe unaided, but after several months of no further improvement, he has now passed on.
A family statement said; “Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end.”
The Formula One world has been sending it’s condolences to Bianchi’s family and paying tribute to a driver who was rated as one of the best young drivers in F1 last year. Here are a few of those tweets:
We are devastated to lose Jules after such a hard-fought battle. It was a privilege to have him race for our team. https://t.co/USrDQbG7fZ
— Manor F1 Team (@ManorF1Team) July 18, 2015
Last night we lost a truly great guy and a real fighter #RIPJules my sincerest Condolences to his family and friends.
— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) July 18, 2015
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) July 18, 2015
Woke up to these very sad news.. RIP Jules. You will be never forgotten. My thoughts are with the family pic.twitter.com/79yv2DrDFa
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) July 18, 2015
Bianchi made his F1 debut for Marussia in 2013, and in 2014 made history as he scored the low-budget team’s first ever points in F1 when he finished ninth at that year’s Monaco Grand Prix. He was also a member of Ferrari’s young driver programme, and could have been in with a shout of joining Ferrari for the 2015 season were it not for events in Japan.
His death marks the first such fatality in F1 since 1994, when Formula One legend Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger both lost their lives at the Imola Grand Prix.
Those deaths saw sweeping changes in F1’s safety regulations, and Bianchi’s death has also seen further changes made, such as the introduction of the ‘virtual safety car’ to slow cars down. The safety standards in F1 are far greater than they were 20 years ago, and they are getting better all the time, but Bianchi’s death has shown that in all likelihood, F1 will never be a totally risk-free sport.
The motor-racing world will sorely miss a great driver and a great man. Rest in peace. Forza Jules.