This is one of the most difficult posts I’ve had to write and one that I hoped I wouldn’t have to. A statement from the Bianchi family released late last night confirmed that Jules Bianchi had passed away having been in a coma ever since his horrible accident in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
The full statement from the Bianchi family is as follows:
“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 realise 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.”
Jules joined Formula One at the start of the 2013 season in a last minute deal replacing formally signed Marussia driver Luiz Razia. He partnered Max Chilton for two years at Marussia, with his memorable highlight being his stupendous drive to take his and the team’s first Formula One points after finishing 9th at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix.
Having tested on numerous occasions for Ferrari as a member of their junior driver programme, Jules’ future looked to be exciting. A deal is reported to have been set for him to join Sauber for the 2015 season before possibly moving to Ferrari for 2016 in the place of Kimi Raikkonen. Sadly, however, this hope was extinguish when Jules suffered a horrific crash at Suzuka last October where he aquaplaned off of the circuit and into a track-side recovery crane. He suffered a diffuse axonal injury and was hospitalized in a coma for 9 months before passing.
My thoughts and prayers, along with every single member of the Formula One community, be it as a driver, team member, shareholder or fan, are with Jules’ family and friends at this heartbreaking time.