The racing world is in mourning after Formula One driver Jules Bianchi died from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi suffered a traumatic brain injury when his vehicle careered off the rain-drenched Suzuka circuit during the Japanese Grand Prix on October 5 and smashed into a recovery truck at around 200 kilometres (125 miles) an hour.
Bianchi died in the hospital near his parents’ home in Nice in the south of France.
Former Marussia driver Max Chilton, who raced as team-mate to Bianchi for two years in F1, said: “No words can describe what his family & the sport have lost”.
“The pain we feel is huge and indescribable”, they said.
Manor Marussia driver Roberto Merhi said: “The best driver that I raced against has left us after nine months fighting for his life”.
Bianchi scored the Marussia’s first-ever points at the 2014 Monaco GP and his former team principal John Booth, who remains in charge of the outfit in their new Manor Marussia guise, has praised the Frenchman’s magnificent talent.
“We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this hard time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules”.
Alesi, who knew Bianchi very well thanks to his role as Team Captain for the French Motorsport Federation, thinks there were strong chances that the Nice-born racer would have eventually succeeded him as the next Frenchman to race for Ferrari.
Both Manor and the Bianchi family’s statements were keen to express their gratitude to the support and heartfelt messages that came from the fans in the Formula One family.
His 9th place finish in the 2014 Monte-Carlo Grand Prix and earned the team the £30 millon they needed to survive in the sport, but that was not his breakout moment for he had always been marked for greatness.
We here at BTF extend our prayers and wishes to the Bianchi family as well as anyone else that has been impacted by his passing.
Jules Bianchi was successful and loved during his time in F1 and responses to his death have reflected that.
Jules talent and courage in its purest form.
The 25-year-old died in his hometown of Nice, where he had been since his emergency treatment in Japan in the days after the accident. He battled with his life for nine months, before giving up. Philippe and Christine would travel to his bedside every day, often with Tom and Melanie, his brother and sister.
Responding to his death on Saturday morning, the famous Italian team simply wrote: “Ciao, Jules forever in Ferrari’s hearts”. His speed was spotted there by Nicolas Tod (the son of Jean Todt, the FIA President) and he became Bianchi’s manager. His first year in Formula Renault was a success; he was crowned champion after scoring five wins.
Senna’s nephew, racing driver Bruno, agreed with Ecclestone, saying: “Hope the lessons we learned will stop more tragedies like these from happening”.
The official Twitter account for Formula One voiced condolences to Bianchi’s friends and family via Twitter, also referencing the young driver’s chosen race number – 17.