Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jules Bianchi Succumbs to 2014 Japanese Grand Prix Crash Injuries

Photo Credit: Ferrari S.p.A

The events of a Formula 1 race that concluded October 5th of last year have today become the focus of ultimate sorrow. A former champion of the French Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3 Euro Series and more-recently up-and-coming Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has died at the age of 25 years old.

News of Jules Lucien AndrĂ© Bianchi’s Friday evening passing was shared online early Saturday morning in France. A statement arriving from the family of Jules Bianchi was posted on the driver’s official fan club page on Facebook. Translated from French, the statement from the now-departed driver’s parents and siblings said, "Jules fought until the end, as it has always done, but yesterday, his battle has ended.” The Bianchi family expressed their thanks to the medical staff in Japan and France for more than nine months of efforts following the accident at the Suzuka circuit.

In the final laps of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, the Suzuka Circuit was being pounded by heavy rain resulting from Typhoon Phanfone. During the retrieval of the stricken Sauber driven by Adrian Sutil from the Dunlop Curve runoff area, the Marussia-Ferrari driven by the promising French driver Jules Bianchi slid wide entering the same corner. Bianchi’s loss of control resulted in a 212-kilometre per hour impact with a vehicle recovery crane. The Marussia reportedly slid under the tractor crane and proved to be an exceptionally violent accident. Eventually, word came out the driver of the Marussia suffered a severe head injury. When a medical crew reached the crash scene, they arrived to find Jules Bianchi in what his father later described as a “desperate” condition.

Photo Credit: Andrew Hone/ Pirelli 


Through the remaining grand prix events for the 2014 season, concerns and well-wishes for Jules Bianchi showed how a multi-million-dollar sport is not without the capacity to care. The hashtag #JB17 was placed on the sole Marussia-Ferrari competing at the following Formula 1 race. #ForzaJules were worn on Ferrari race cars with Bianchi recognized as a graduate of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Lewis Hamilton dedicated victory at the race after Suzuka (the inaugural Russian Grand Prix) to Jules Bianchi. Remaining in a coma since the accident in Japan, the prognosis for the driver grew less positive in recent months. At the beginning of this week, Jule’s father Philippe Bianchi recalled the current state of his son as a “daily torture” as time has gone by.  

Bianchi was as much admired for his personality as he was for his driving skill among his race team. Manor Marussia team principal John Booth described him as a “very special driver.” Serving as the most monumental performance in less than two seasons, Jules Bianchi’s ninth place at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix handed the Marussia team its ever constructor points. After the crash in Japan, Booth remained in the hospital on the weekend the Marussia F1 Team ran a single-car at the Russian Grand Prix. Jules Bianchi’s 2014 teammate with Marussia was quick to share his thoughts in a tweet following the news of the French driver’s passing.

Following the announcement of his death, Ferrari has also remembered the life of Jules Bianchi. Formerly a test driver with Scuderia Ferrari, Bianchi was on the minds of an over 16,000-person crowd that attended Ferrari for Family Day at Maranello. Jules Bianchi becomes the first Formula 1 driver since 1994 to die as a result of a grand prix competition weekend crash when the San Marino Grand Prix claimed the life of Ayrton Senna.

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