Written by Lahiru Fernando
18 Jul, 2015 | 9:49 am
Jules Bianchi, the former French Formula One racing driver who suffered a tragic crash at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 5, 2014, passed away on the morningof Saturday July 17 at the age of 25.
Twenty five (25) year old Bianchi sustained head injuries and remained in a medically-induced coma since the incident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car.
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 which was 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.
A working group of the sport’s governing body, the FIA, investigated the accident and found that as Bianchi went off track into the run-off area, he “applied both throttle and brake together, using both feet” and thus over-riding the failsafe mechanism. His front wheels had also locked.
It also said that Bianchi “did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control.”
The findings of the working group prompted F1 to alter its rules, allowing a `virtual safety car’ in which race stewards can neutralise a race, forcing all cars to proceed slowly into the pit lane.
The start times of some races were also moved forward to prevent them continuing in dim light conditions. Bianchi’s family has already lost a member in a crash. In 1969, Bianchi’s great-uncle, Lucien Bianchi, died in an accident during testing at the Le Mans race track when he crashed his Alfa Romeo into a post, a year after winning the prestigious endurance race.
The news of his death was posted on Bianchi’s official Twitter feed early Saturday morning on French time and was later confirmed by the Manor F1 team.
“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 (CHU) in Nice, France, where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” said the Bianchi family.
“The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. 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. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realize just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.
“We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules.”
A Statement from the Bianchi Family Nice, France Saturday 18 July 2015 02.45hrs France │ 01.45hrs UK It is… http://t.co/YsNqNO4IK7
— Jules_Bianchi (@Jules_Bianchi) July 18, 2015
The Manor team tweeted: “We are devastated to lose Jules after such a hard-fought battle. It was a privilege to have him race for our team.”
Jules Bianchi was a rising star in Formula One and scored the only points for the Manor Marussia F1 team to date when he finished in ninth place at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix.
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