Jules Bianchi

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Jules Bianchi
Jules Bianchi 2012-1.JPG
Bianchi at the 2012 Nürburgring World Series race
BornJules Lucien André Bianchi
(1989-08-03)3 August 1989
Nice, France
Died17 July 2015(2015-07-17) (aged 25)
Nice, France
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Flag of France.svg French
Active years 20132014
Teams Marussia
Car number17 (retired in honour) [1]
Entries34 (34 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums0
Career points2
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 2013 Australian Grand Prix
Last entry 2014 Japanese Grand Prix
Related to
Previous series
201011
2009–102011
2009, 2012
2009
200809
2007
2007
GP2
GP2 Asia Series
Formula Renault 3.5 Series
British Formula 3
Formula 3 Euro Series
French Formula Renault 2.0
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0
Championship titles
2009
2007
Formula 3 Euro Series
French Formula Renault 2.0

Jules Lucien André Bianchi (French pronunciation:  [ʒyl bjɑ̃ki] ; 3 August 1989 – 17 July 2015) was a French motor racing driver who drove for the Marussia F1 Team in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

The French are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

Marussia F1 formula one racing team

The Marussia F1 Team was an Anglo-Russian Formula One racing team and constructor which was based in Banbury, Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. The team was operated by Manor Motorsport, which was previously a subsidiary of Marussia Motors, a now defunct sports car manufacturer which was based in Moscow. The team originally started racing in 2010 under the "Virgin Racing" name; the following year Virgin adopted Marussia as a title sponsor becoming "Marussia Virgin Racing" until being fully rebranded as the "Marussia F1 Team" for 2012.

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

Contents

Bianchi had previously raced in Formula Renault 3.5, GP2 and Formula Three and was a Ferrari Driver Academy member. He entered Formula One as a practice driver in 2012 for Sahara Force India. In 2013, he made his debut driving for Marussia, finishing 15th in his opening race in Australia and ended the season in 19th position without having scored any points. His best result that year was 13th at the Malaysian Grand Prix. In October 2013, the team confirmed that he would drive for the team the following season. In the 2014 season, he scored both his and the Marussia team's first points in Formula One at the Monaco Grand Prix. [2]

The GP2 Series was a form of open wheel motor racing introduced in 2005 following the discontinuation of the long-term Formula One feeder series, Formula 3000. The GP2 format was conceived by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, while Ecclestone also has the rights to the name GP1. In 2010, the GP3 Series class was launched, as a feeder class for the GP2 series. In 2017, the series was rebranded as the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

Formula Three race car class

Formula Three, also called Formula 3 or F3, is a class of open-wheel formula racing. The various championships held in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia form an important step for many prospective Formula One drivers. Formula Three has traditionally been regarded as the first major stepping stone for F1 hopefuls – it is typically the first point in a driver's career at which most drivers in the series are aiming at professional careers in racing rather than being amateurs and enthusiasts. F3 is not cheap, but is regarded as a key investment in a young driver's future career. Success in F3 can lead directly to a Formula 2 seat or even a Formula One test or race seat.

Ferrari Driver Academy is an initiative from Formula One team Scuderia Ferrari to promote young talent inside its own organisation, with several drivers being selected and funded by the team, being under long-term contracts.

On 5 October 2014, during the Japanese Grand Prix, Bianchi lost control of his Marussia in very wet conditions and collided with a recovery vehicle, suffering a diffuse axonal injury. [3] [4] He underwent emergency surgery and was placed into an induced coma, and remained comatose until his death on 17 July 2015. [5] Bianchi was the first Formula One driver in over 21 years to die as a result of an F1 racing accident since Ayrton Senna’s death at the May 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

2014 Japanese Grand Prix Formula One motor race held in 2014

The 2014 Japanese Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 5 October 2014 at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Mie. It was the fifteenth race of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship, and the 30th Japanese Grand Prix held as part of the Formula One World Championship. The 44-lap race was won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who started from second position. His teammate, Nico Rosberg, finished second and Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel came in third. It was Hamilton's eighth victory of the season, his first at Suzuka and the 30th of his Formula One career.

Diffuse axonal injury

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is a brain injury in which scattered lesions in white matter tracts as well as gray matter occur over a widespread area. DAI is one of the most common and devastating types of traumatic brain injury and is a major cause of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state after severe head trauma. It occurs in about half of all cases of severe head trauma and may be the primary damage that occurs in concussion. The outcome is frequently coma, with over 90% of patients with severe DAI never regaining consciousness. Those who do wake up often remain significantly impaired.

An induced coma, also known as a medically induced coma, a barbiturate-induced coma, or a barb coma, is a temporary coma brought on by a controlled dose of a barbiturate drug, usually pentobarbital or thiopental. Barbiturate comas are used to protect the brain during major neurosurgery, as a last line of treatment in certain cases of status epilepticus that have not responded to other treatments, and in refractory intracranial hypertension following traumatic brain injury.

Personal life

Jules Bianchi was born in Nice, France, to Philippe [6] and Christine Bianchi. [7] He had two siblings, [8] brother Tom and sister Mélanie, had been the godfather of current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, and had been in a long-term relationship with French girlfriend, Camille Marchetti. [9] [10] In later times, media reports also referred to a German girlfriend, Gina, who had moved to Nice. [11] [12]

Nice Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Nice is the seventh most populous urban area in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The metropolitan area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi). Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille. Nice is approximately 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from the principality of Monaco and 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the French-Italian border. Nice's airport serves as a gateway to the region.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Charles Leclerc (racing driver) Monegasque racing driver

Charles Leclerc is a Monégasque racing driver, currently driving in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari. Leclerc won the GP3 Series championship in 2016 and the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017. He made his Formula One debut in 2018 for Sauber, a team affiliated with Ferrari, for which he was part of its driver academy. With Sauber having finished last the year before, Leclerc led the charge to improve the finishing position in the constructors' championship to eighth, being the highest ranked of the two Sauber drivers.

Bianchi was the grandson of Mauro Bianchi, who competed in GT racing during the 1960s and three non-championship Formula One Grands Prix in 1961. He was also the grandnephew of Lucien, who competed in 19 Formula One Grands Prix between 1959 and 1968 [13] [14] and won the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans, before dying during Le Mans testing the following year.

Sports car racing auto racing on circuits with two seat cars and enclosed wheels

Sports car racing is a form of motorsport road racing which utilizes sports cars that have two seats and enclosed wheels. They may be purpose-built (Prototype) or related to road-going models.

The 1961 Formula One season was the 15th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1961 World Championship of Drivers and the 1961 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, which were contested concurrently from 14 May to 8 October over an eight race series. The season also included numerous non-championship races for Formula One cars.

Lucien Bianchi racecar driver

Lucien Bianchi, born Luciano Bianchi, was an Italian-Belgian racing driver who raced for the Cooper, ENB, UDT Laystall and Scuderia Centro Sud teams in Formula One. He entered a total of 19 Formula One World Championship races, scoring six points and had a best finish of third at the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix.

His favourite racing driver was Michael Schumacher. [15]

Michael Schumacher German racing driver

Michael Schumacher is a retired German racing driver who raced in Formula One for Jordan Grand Prix, Benetton and Ferrari, where he spent most of his career, as well as for Mercedes upon his return to the sport. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers ever, and regarded by some as the greatest of all time, Schumacher is the only driver in history to win seven Formula One World Championships, five of which he won consecutively. The most successful driver in the history of the sport, Schumacher holds the records for the most World Championship titles (7), the most Grand Prix wins (91), the most fastest laps (77) and the most races won in a single season (13), and according to the official Formula One website (Formula1.com), Schumacher was "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen" at the time of his retirement from the sport.

Early career

Bianchi's exposure to motorsport started at around 3 years of age through karting and was facilitated by the fact that his father owned a kart track. [15] Since age 17, Bianchi was professionally managed by Nicolas Todt. [6] [16]

Formula Renault 2.0

In 2007, Bianchi left karting and raced in French Formula Renault 2.0 for SG Formula, where he finished as champion with five wins. [17] He also competed in the Formula Renault Eurocup where he had one pole position and one fastest lap in three races. [18]

Formula 3 Euro

Bianchi during the opening round of the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series season at Hockenheim Formel3 DallaraF308 Bianchi09 amk.jpg
Bianchi during the opening round of the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series season at Hockenheim

In late 2007, Bianchi signed with ART Grand Prix to compete in the Formula 3 Euro Series. [19]

In 2008 Bianchi won the Masters of Formula 3 at Zolder, [6] and also finished third in the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series season. [20]

Bianchi continued in the F3 Euroseries in 2009, leading ART's line-up along with rookie team-mates Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrien Tambay. [21] With eight wins, Bianchi sealed the title with a round to spare, at Dijon-Prenois. He then added a ninth win at the final round at Hockenheim. He also drove in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Monaco, after SG Formula acquired the cars formerly run by Kurt Mollekens. [22]

GP2

Bianchi at Monza in 2011 J Bianchi Monza 2011.jpg
Bianchi at Monza in 2011

Bianchi drove for ART in the subsequent GP2 Asia season and the 2010 GP2 season. [23] He competed in three of the four rounds of the GP2 Asia championship. [24] In the main series, Bianchi took two pole positions and a number of points positions before he was injured in a first-lap crash at the Hungaroring. [25] In the feature race, he spun into the path of the field exiting the first corner, and was struck head-on by Ho-Pin Tung, sustaining a fractured second lumbar vertebra in the process. [26] Bianchi was fourth in the drivers' championship at the time of his injury. Despite initial pessimistic assessments of the severity of his injury, he recovered to take part in the next round of the championship. [27]

Bianchi driving for Lotus ART during the Silverstone round of the 2011 GP2 season Jules Bianchi 2011 GP2 Silverstone.jpg
Bianchi driving for Lotus ART during the Silverstone round of the 2011 GP2 season

Bianchi remained with ART for 2011, and was partnered by 2010 GP3 Series champion Esteban Gutiérrez. He starred in the first two rounds of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series, holding off Romain Grosjean for victory in the feature race [28] and gaining fourth in the sprint race, [29] but he was later penalised. [30] He finished runner-up to Grosjean in the drivers' championship. [31] In the main series, Bianchi finished third in the championship, behind Grosjean and Luca Filippi. [6]

Formula Renault 3.5

Bianchi opted to switch to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for 2012, following his one-off appearance in the category in 2009. He signed for the Tech 1 Racing team, and was partnered with Kevin Korjus, [32] and later with Daniel Abt. He finished second in the title race, narrowly losing out to Robin Frijns at the final round.

Formula One career

Ferrari and Sahara Force India (test roles)

In August 2009, Bianchi was linked by the BBC and various other media sources to the second Ferrari Formula One seat occupied by Luca Badoer during Felipe Massa's absence. [33] [34] Bianchi tested for Ferrari at the young drivers test at Circuito de Jerez for two of the three days, over 1–2 December 2009. [35] The other drivers tested on 3 December included Daniel Zampieri, Marco Zipoli and Pablo Sánchez López as the top three finishers in the 2009 Italian Formula Three Championship. Bianchi's performance in this test led to him becoming the first recruit of the Ferrari Driver Academy [36] and signing up to a long-term deal to remain at the team's disposal. [37]

On 11 November 2010 he was confirmed by Ferrari as the team's test and reserve driver for the 2011 season, replacing Luca Badoer, Giancarlo Fisichella and Marc Gené, as well as confirming he would test for the team during the young driver test in Abu Dhabi over 16–17 November. [38] Bianchi carried on his GP2 racing, as Formula 1 allows test and reserve drivers to race in parallel in other competitions. On 13 September 2011, Bianchi tested for Ferrari at Fiorano, as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, with fellow academy member and Sauber F1 driver Sergio Pérez. Bianchi completed 70 laps and recorded a quickest lap time of 1:00.213. [39] For the 2012 season, Ferrari loaned him to the Sahara Force India team, for whom he drove in nine Friday free practice sessions over the course of the year as the outfit's test and reserve driver. [40]

Marussia F1

2013

Bianchi driving the Marussia MR02 on his F1 debut at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix JB17.jpg
Bianchi driving the Marussia MR02 on his F1 debut at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix
Bianchi driving at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix Jules Bianchi 2013 Malaysia FP1.jpg
Bianchi driving at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

On 1 March 2013, Marussia announced that Bianchi was to replace Luiz Razia as a race driver after Razia's contract was terminated, due to sponsorship issues. [41] Bianchi qualified 19th for the Australian Grand Prix, out-qualifying team-mate Max Chilton by three-quarters of a second. Bianchi overtook Pastor Maldonado, and Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap and he eventually finished 15th on his debut. [42] He was 19th on the grid again in Malaysia, 0.3 seconds away from Q2. Bianchi fell behind the Caterhams at the start of the race, but moved up the order after the pit stops, eventually going on to finish 13th, ahead of his teammate, and both Caterhams. [43] As of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Bianchi had beaten his teammate in all qualifying sessions and all races that both of them had finished. [44] In the Japanese Grand Prix he and Charles Pic of Caterham were given ten-place grid penalties for receiving three reprimands over the season, and at the race, his race ended early after a collision with Giedo van der Garde. [45]

2014

Bianchi driving the Marussia MR03 at the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix Jules Bianchi Bahrein 2014.jpg
Bianchi driving the Marussia MR03 at the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

In October 2013, Marussia confirmed that Bianchi would stay at the team for the following season. [46] After starting off the season with struggles in Australia, in which he was not classified, Bianchi overcame the odds to score his – and his team's – first World Championship points by finishing ninth at the Monaco Grand Prix. [2] [47]

Out of the nine races which Bianchi and Chilton completed without retiring, during the 2014 season, he was the quicker driver in eight of them, establishing his status as the first driver. [48] [49] Chilton retired twice, and Bianchi five times, with three of Bianchi's retirements being mechanical failures.

Days before his fatal accident, Bianchi declared himself "ready" to step into the Scuderia Ferrari race seat should the team need him amid the looming departure of Fernando Alonso. [50]

2014 Suzuka accident

The 2014 Japanese Grand Prix was held on 5 October, under intermittent heavy rainfall caused by the approaching Typhoon Phanfone and in fading daylight.

On lap 43 of the race, Bianchi lost control of his car and veered right towards the run-off area on the outside of the Dunlop Curve (turn seven) of the Suzuka Circuit. He collided with the rear of a tractor crane tending to the removal of Adrian Sutil's Sauber after Sutil had spun out of control and crashed in the same area a lap before. Spectators' video footage and photographs of the accident revealed that the left side of Bianchi's Marussia car was extensively damaged and the roll bar destroyed as it slid under the tractor crane. The impact was such that the tractor crane was partially jolted off the ground causing Sutil's Sauber, which was suspended in the air by the crane, to fall back to the ground. [51] The race was stopped and Lewis Hamilton was declared the winner.

Bianchi was reported as being unconscious after not responding to either a team radio call or marshals. He was treated at the crash site before being taken by ambulance to the circuit's medical centre. Since transport by helicopter was not possible due to poor weather conditions, [52] Bianchi was further transported by ambulance, for 32 minutes [53] under police escort. The destination was the nearest hospital, Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, which was some 15 km (9.3 mi) away from the Suzuka circuit. [54] [55] [56] Initial reports by his father, Philippe, to television channel France 3, were that Bianchi was in critical condition with a head injury and was undergoing an operation to reduce severe bruising to his head. [57] The FIA subsequently said that CT scans showed Bianchi suffered a "severe head injury" in the crash, and that he would be admitted to intensive care following surgery. [3] [58]

Among his first hospital visitors immediately after the Grand Prix were Marussia's CEO Graeme Lowdon and team principal John Booth (the latter staying by Bianchi's side even after the inaugural Russian Grand Prix), as well as Ferrari's team principal Marco Mattiacci and fellow driver Felipe Massa.

On 6 October, Pastor Maldonado and the manager and assistant manager he shared with Bianchi—namely, Nicolas Todt and Alessandro Alunni Bravi, respectively—also visited the hospital. [59] Bianchi's parents arrived later that day and were joined, three days later, by their other children, Mélanie and Tom, as well as Jules' best friend, Lorenz Leclerc. [8] The family released a statement the next day, expressing appreciation for the outpouring of support from the public and for the presence of professor Gerard Saillant, president of the FIA Medical Commission, and professor Alessandro Frati, neurosurgeon of the Sapienza University of Rome, who travelled to Japan at the request of Scuderia Ferrari. They also provided a medical update, confirming that the injury suffered was a diffuse axonal injury and that Bianchi was in a critical but stable condition. [4] [60] [61]

Initial media reports in October 2014—said to be based on information obtained from Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) documents—claimed that the speed at the moment of loss of control was recorded at 212 km/h (132 mph) [62] and that the impact generated 92 g0 (900 m/s2). [63] This data had been sourced from Bianchi's g-sensors in his earplugs; however, it was understood that these slipped out at a crucial moment. [64]

Subsequent calculations in July 2015 indicated a peak of 254 g0 (2,490 m/s2) and data from the FIA's World Accident Database (WADB)—which sources information from racing accidents worldwide—also indicate Bianchi's impact occurred 2.61 seconds after the loss of control, at a speed of 123 km/h (76 mph) and at an angle of 55 degrees. According to Andy Mellor, Vice President of the FIA Safety Commission, this is the equivalent of dropping a "car 48 metres to the ground without a crumple zone". [64]

Team and driver reactions

At the inaugural Russian Grand Prix, one week after the accident, Marussia originally registered Alexander Rossi in place of the hospitalised Bianchi, before finally deciding to field only a single car driven by Chilton. [65]

There were several tributes at the race to show support for Bianchi:

The day after the Japanese Grand Prix, then-outgoing Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, disclosed to the media that Bianchi had been poised to become the third Ferrari driver in 2015 in the event that the championship moved to three car teams, as had widely been speculated at the time. [71]

Following the Russian Grand Prix, Marussia's CEO Graeme Lowdon confirmed that the team would return to a two-car operation for the remainder of the season, however, the team entered administration prior to the next race, the United States Grand Prix. [72] [73] [74] The team's financial backer, Andrei Cheglakov, later revealed that Bianchi's crash was a key factor in the Russian's decision to end his financial support of the team and quit Formula One. [75]

After the 2015 Australian Grand Prix in March, John Booth, now team principal of the newly established Manor Marussia F1 team, paid tribute to Bianchi's point performance at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix since the prize money won enabled the team to stay in Formula One. [76] In addition, coinciding with the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix, Manor Marussia continued to show support for Bianchi with special red wristbands inscribed with "Monaco 2014 P8 JB17". [77] [78]

FIA reaction and investigation

Following Bianchi's accident, the FIA began an investigation and also considered appropriate changes to safety procedures, such as those at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where the location of a tractor crane serving the Senna S chicane was altered.

The FIA released its initial findings at a special conference held during the inaugural Russian Grand Prix on the Saturday after the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. Among other things, it was revealed that Bianchi had slowed down at Suzuka's Turn 7 but without disclosing by what margin or the speed of impact, and that the journey to the hospital by ambulance took only an extra 37 minutes relative to the helicopter, without any adverse effects on Bianchi's condition.

Further, the FIA confirmed ongoing research into closed cockpits for Formula One cars, the possibility of fitting protective skirting to all recovery vehicles as well as ways to slow down cars in crash zones more effectively than double yellow flags. With respect to the latter, the FIA moved to quickly consider the introduction of a virtual safety car – or VSC system – which was then tested during the season's final three Grands Prix in the United States, Brazil and Abu Dhabi – based on a Le Mans racing "slow zone" arrangement that does not neutralise race proceedings as much as safety car periods. [79]

The following week, the FIA reportedly emailed all teams to request that they retain any information related to Bianchi's Suzuka accident, for exclusive use by an accident panel established by the FIA to investigate Bianchi's accident. [80]

One week later the FIA announced a review panel to investigate the cause of the accident, which was made up of former drivers and team principals, [81] and published its findings four weeks later. [82] The report found that there was no single cause of Bianchi's accident. Instead, the contributing factors were found to include track conditions, car speed and the presence of a recovery vehicle on the circuit. [83] The report also made several suggestions to improve safety when recovering stricken vehicles — which were subsequently introduced for the 2015 season — before concluding that it would not have been possible to mitigate Bianchi's injuries through changes to the cockpit design. [83] The report also revealed that the fail-safe for the car's brake-by-wire system had failed. Despite this, Marussia was not found to be responsible for the accident.

For the 2015 season, on safety grounds, the FIA also implemented measures to alter the start time of certain Grands Prix by requiring that it is not less than four hours before either sunset or dusk, except in the case of official night races. [84]

In July 2015, Peter Wright, the Chairman of the FIA Safety Commission was quoted as saying that a closed cockpit would not have averted Bianchi's head injuries, while the Vice President, Andy Mellow, also confirmed that attaching impact protection to recovery vehicles was not a feasible solution. [64]

Medical treatment and updates

The first family update following Bianchi's emergency surgery was made by his father in the week beginning 13 October 2014. Bianchi was reported to be in a "desperate" condition, with doctors describing his survival as a miracle. Even so, the father openly stated that he drew hope from Michael Schumacher waking from his coma. [85] Marussia also issued regular updates on Bianchi's condition while rejecting initial speculation about their role in the accident. [86]

While hospitalised in Yokkaichi, Bianchi remained in a critical but stable condition, and required a medical ventilator. [87] [88] [89] He was taken out of his artificial coma in November 2014 and began breathing unaided, making his relocation to France for admission at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), possible. [90] There, Bianchi remained unconscious and in a critical condition but more accessible to his family for their daily vigil. [91] [92] On 13 July 2015, Bianchi's father publicly conceded becoming "less optimistic" as a consequence of no significant progress and the lapse of time since the accident. [93]

Death

Bianchi died on 17 July 2015, aged 25, from injuries sustained at the time of his accident in Suzuka nine months prior. [5] His death made him the first Formula One driver to be killed by injuries sustained during a Grand Prix since Ayrton Senna in 1994. [94] [95]

In their official statement, Bianchi's family said: [96] [97]

It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Nice. Jules fought to the end, as he has always done, but yesterday his battle ended. We feel an immense and indescribable pain.

The funeral service was held at the Nice Cathedral, on 21 July 2015. He was subsequently cremated and his ashes rest at Monte Carlo Cemetery. [98] Many current and former drivers attended Bianchi's funeral, including Alexander Wurz, Esteban Gutiérrez, Allan McNish, Alexander Rossi, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Jean-Éric Vergne, Marcus Ericsson, Roberto Merhi, Adrian Sutil, Valtteri Bottas, Pastor Maldonado, Pedro de la Rosa, Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa, Alain Prost, Nico Hülkenberg, Olivier Panis, Daniil Kvyat, and Max Chilton. [99]

In May 2016 it was announced that Bianchi's family plans to take legal action against the FIA, Bianchi's Marussia team and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Group. [100]

Tributes

Bianchi's funeral was held at Nice Cathedral in his native city Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate Nice.jpg
Bianchi's funeral was held at Nice Cathedral in his native city

Widespread tributes followed from fellow past and present drivers, Bernie Ecclestone, French president François Hollande, and other sport personalities. [101] The Manor Marussia team also published a statement on their Facebook page describing Bianchi as, among other things, "a magnificent human being" and a "shining talent". [101]

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association announced that it felt a responsibility "to never relent in improving safety". [102] FIA President Jean Todt also announced that race number 17 would be retired from the list of those available for Formula One drivers, as a mark of respect. [103]

In paying his respects, di Montezemolo also stated that, thanks to GP2 experience and fine performance with Marussia and in test sessions, Bianchi was the racing driver that Scuderia Ferrari had chosen for the future even being described as a would-be replacement for Kimi Räikkönen. [104] [105]

Chilton dedicated his maiden Indy Lights pole position and race win, which he scored on the same weekend as Bianchi's death, to his former Marussia teammate. [106] [107]

A minute's silence was observed on the grid before the start of the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix in Bianchi's honour and in the presence of his family surrounded by current drivers. Commemorative stickers on helmets and cars were other tributes at that race. [108] Race winner, Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, dedicated his maiden Hungarian win to Bianchi and his family, acknowledging that the Frenchman would have been part of the team in the future. Daniil Kvyat also dedicated his maiden podium finish as did third-placed finisher, Daniel Ricciardo. [109]

The Rue du Sapin, the street address of the Allianz Riviera football stadium, was re-named in Bianchi's honour in 2016. [110]

Foundation

In December 2015, Bianchi's father announced plans to create a foundation in his son's honour to uncover and nurture young drivers throughout their career. The initiative involves exhibiting Jules Bianchi’s memorabilia (from go-karts and single-seaters to personal pictures and videos) and merchandising with JB17 branding, sponsoring opportunities and events. Among the supporters is Prince Albert of Monaco, where the foundation is based. [111]

Racing record

Career summary

Season [18] SeriesTeamRacesWinsPolesF/LapsPodiumsPointsPosition
2007 French Formula Renault 2.0 SG Formula 135510111721st
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 60110422nd
2008 Formula 3 Euro Series ART Grand Prix 202227473rd
Macau Grand Prix10000N/A9th
Masters of Formula 3 11001N/A1st
2009 Formula 3 Euro Series ART Grand Prix 20967121141st
British Formula 3 Championship 402230NC
Macau Grand Prix 10000N/A10th
Formula Renault 3.5 Series SG Formula 100000NC
2009–10 GP2 Asia Series ART Grand Prix 60121812th
2010 GP2 ART Grand Prix 200314523rd
2011 GP2 Lotus ART 181106533rd
GP2 Asia Series 41012182nd
Formula One Scuderia Ferrari Test driver
2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Tech 1 Racing 1735781852nd
Formula One Sahara Force India F1 Team Test driver
2013 Formula One Marussia F1 Team 190000019th
2014 Formula One Marussia F1 Team 150000217th

Bianchi was a guest driver, therefore ineligible to score points.

Complete Formula 3 Euro Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearEntrantChassisEngine1234567891011121314151617181920DCPoints
2008 [112] ART Grand Prix Dallara F308/049 Mercedes HOC
1

Ret
HOC
2

13
MUG
1

3
MUG
2

4
PAU
1

Ret
PAU
2

26
NOR
1

Ret
NOR
2

9
ZAN
1

3
ZAN
2

9
NÜR
1

2
NÜR
2

3
BRH
1

22
BRH
2

18
CAT
1

Ret
CAT
2

3
BUG
1

1
BUG
2

17
HOC
1

7
HOC
2

1
3rd47
2009 [113] ART Grand Prix Dallara F308 Mercedes HOC
1

5
HOC
2

3
MUG
1

1
MUG
2

14
PAU
1

1
PAU
2

3
NOR
1

1
NOR
2

1
ZAN
1

1
ZAN
2

6
NÜR
1

1
NÜR
2

5
BRH
1

Ret
BRH
2

Ret
CAT
1

1
CAT
2

5
DIJ
1

2
DIJ
2

1
HOC
1

1
HOC
2

7
1st114

Complete Formula Renault 3.5 Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeam1234567891011121314151617PosPoints
2009 [114] KMP Group/SG Formula CAT
1
CAT
2
SPA
1
SPA
2
MON
1

Ret
HUN
1
HUN
2
SIL
1
SIL
2
BUG
1
BUG
2
ALG
1
ALG
2
NÜR
1
NÜR
2
ALC
1
ALC
2
NC0
2012 [115] Tech 1 Racing ALC
1

DSQ
ALC
2

13
MON
1

2
SPA
1

2
SPA
2

17
NÜR
1

1
NÜR
2

12
MSC
1

2
MSC
2

7
SIL
1

1
SIL
2

3
HUN
1

3
HUN
2

9
LEC
1

4
LEC
2

1
CAT
1

7
CAT
2

Ret
2nd185

Complete GP2 results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearEntrant1234567891011121314151617181920DCPoints
2010 [116] ART Grand Prix CAT
FEA

Ret
CAT
SPR

12
MON
FEA

4
MON
SPR

3
IST
FEA

Ret
IST
SPR

13
VAL
FEA

2
VAL
SPR

Ret
SIL
FEA

2
SIL
SPR

5
HOC
FEA

5
HOC
SPR

4
HUN
FEA

Ret
HUN
SPR

DNS
SPA
FEA

14
SPA
SPR

Ret
MNZ
FEA

2
MNZ
SPR

4
YMC
FEA

18
YMC
SPR

7
3rd52
2011 [116] Lotus ART IST
FEA

3
IST
SPR

7
CAT
FEA

7
CAT
SPR

Ret
MON
FEA

Ret
MON
SPR

19
VAL
FEA

Ret
VAL
SPR

7
SIL
FEA

1
SIL
SPR

5
NÜR
FEA

4
NÜR
SPR

2
HUN
FEA

7
HUN
SPR

6
SPA
FEA

2
SPA
SPR

2
MNZ
FEA

8
MNZ
SPR

3
3rd53

Complete GP2 Asia Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearEntrant12345678DCPoints
2009–10 [116] ART Grand Prix YMC1
FEA
YMC1
SPR
YMC2
FEA

3
YMC2
SPR

7
BHR1
FEA

10
BHR1
SPR

NC
BHR2
FEA

10
BHR2
SPR

Ret
12th8
2011 [116] Lotus ART YMC
FEA

1
YMC
SPR

8
IMO
FEA

3
IMO
SPR

Ret
2nd18

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicates fastest lap) [117]

YearEntrantChassisEngine1234567891011121314151617181920WDC Points
2012 Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India VJM05 Mercedes FO 108Z 2.4 V8 AUS MAL CHN
TD
BHR ESP
TD
MON CAN EUR
TD
GBR
TD
GER
TD
HUN
TD
BEL ITA
TD
SIN JPN KOR
TD
IND ABU
TD
USA BRA   
2013 Marussia F1 Team Marussia MR02 Cosworth CA2013 V8 AUS
15
MAL
13
CHN
15
BHR
19
ESP
18
MON
Ret
CAN
17
GBR
16
GER
Ret
HUN
16
BEL
18
ITA
19
SIN
18
KOR
16
JPN
Ret
IND
18
ABU
20
USA
18
BRA
17
19th0
2014 Marussia F1 Team Marussia MR03 Ferrari 059/3 1.6 V6 t AUS
NC
MAL
Ret
BHR
16
CHN
17
ESP
18
MON
9
CAN
Ret
AUT
15
GBR
14
GER
15
HUN
15
BEL
18†
ITA
18
SIN
16
JPN
20†
RUS USA BRA ABU 17th2

Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as he completed over 90% of the race distance.

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