France : French Formula One Jules Bianchi died on Friday, 17 July after sustaining the head injury that he suffered in the crash at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, at just an age of 25 years.
Bianchi, 25, had been in a coma since the October 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car.
Bianchi competed in 34 races over the 2013 and 2014 seasons, scoring the first ever championship points for Manor – then known as Marussia – by finishing ninth at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.Bianchi died at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in his hometown of Nice, where he had been since his emergency treatment in Japan in the days after the accident.
“We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication,” the family statement said. “We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.
“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times.”
Bianchi’s accident occurred at the end of the race at Suzuka. In rainy, gloomy conditions, Bianchi’s car slid off the track and ploughed into a crane picking up the Sauber of German driver Adrian Sutil, who had crashed out at the same spot one lap earlier.
The section of the track where the accident occurred was subject to double yellow flags from race stewards, due to Sutil’s crash. But they failed to prevent a second accident.
“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” the Bianchi family said in a statement posted on Facebook, thanking staff at the hospital in the French city of Nice where he had been in a coma. The news was posted on Bianchi’s official Twitter feed and later confirmed by the Manor F1 team, for whom Bianchi had been driving.