Bianchi’s fight for life ends nine months after Japanese Grand Prix crash

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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Jules Bianchi has died as a result of the injuries he sustained during the Japanese Grand Prix nine months ago, his family has confirmed.

Bianchi’s family issued a statement issued early on Saturday morning.

“It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Melanie, 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.”

“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.”

An official report on the causes of the accident was published in December last year.

Bianchi is the first F1 driver to lose his life due to an accident during a race since Ayrton Senna in 1994. Since then one other driver has died following a crash in a Formula One car, Maria de Villota, who also suffered head injuries after crashing a Marussia at Duxford airfield in 2012. De Villota’s 2013 death was linked to the injuries she suffered in that accident.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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101 comments on “Bianchi’s fight for life ends nine months after Japanese Grand Prix crash”

  1. So sad to hear. Race in Paradise, Jules.

  2. This is tremendously sad, and feels horrible to say it. RIP Jules.

  3. Wow, I’m speechless. Rest in peace Jules, no doubt you were always a champion.

  4. Our memories of Jules will never be forgotten.
    RIP Jules

  5. Chris Phillips
    18th July 2015, 8:56

    RIP Jules
    My sincere condolences to his family, he was destined to do great things.

  6. Such a tragic news, not just fo F1 but for anyone to lose there life so young. Now he can race against/ learn from F1 legends in the great F1 curcus in the sky. May he now rest in peace

  7. When I started watching Formula 1 in 1997/1998 at a young age, I never really understood that a driver could die. My first realisation of it was arguably when Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone in 1999.

    As I got older and found out more about the tragic past, I realised that it was a case of when, as opposed to if, I would watch a race where a driver, somebody who I admired, would die.

    As I broadened my motorsport horizon into IndyCar and endurance racing respectively in 2010/2011 and 2013, I was given very swift reminders of the dangers of motor racing.

    And so it was, on that fateful October morning, it finally happened. After more than fifteen years of watching Formula 1, a driver died during a Grand Prix.

    Rest in peace Jules, you had every credential to be successful as a Formula 1 driver, and as a human being.

    I am so, so very sad today.

  8. Devastated. Not much else you can really say, though not unexpected my heart sunk. Such a waste. Never forgotten Jules.

  9. I am so sad to hear this. Somehow the optimist in me always believed I will wake up to the news that he has gained consciousness, even if he wouldn’t be able to race again. Alas all that talent and what a nice boy…
    My thoughts are with his family

  10. RIP #JB17 #ForzaJules you will be missed

  11. Very sad news indeed, I followed this driver with interest and he seemed a genuinely good lad.
    Sadly the 21 year record of no driver to succumb to injuries in a grand prix weekend has also now come to an end.

  12. Terribly sad news to hear, someone who last year we were saying could become a Ferrari Star in the future and now he is sadly gone :’(
    I know some of us don’t agree with some FIA regulations but something we should all be thankful for is how well the driver’s well being is looked after, 5 or 10 years ago Jules could have been killed instantly if it wasn’t for the helmets being so strong but because of how good the helmets are and how quickly he was able to get medical attention he was given that chance to fight so bravely.
    Sad that such a talent he been taken away at such a young age, show them what you can do at the big track in the sky Jules.

    1. In this light: thank you, Max Mosley. There’s so much we have be thankful to him for, and I don’t give a flying bums what turns him on in his own bedroom.

      Floor that Marrussia up there somewhere, Jules and show ’em what you’re made of.

  13. We’ve been talking about Kimi’s replacement. He passed away today

    RIP Jules.

    1. Yes. I don’t want to use this time to create argument, but he should have been there more then any of the other candidates mentioned, particularly the favourite. Vettel-Bianchi was pretty much my dream lineup, along with maybe what Mclaren have now. Also like to thank his family for being so open, right up until a few days ago. I know it’s difficult for them.

      1. +1 Well said

  14. So sad when I woke up this morning and read Joe Saward’s article about Jules. It is an inherently risky sport, but you tend to forget that when the sport has gone 21 years without a driver’s death. My thoughts are with his family.

  15. Rest in peace Jules.

  16. I remember I was shocked when Marco Simmoncelli succumbed to his injuries just hours after MotoGP Malaysian GP in 2011. I was unable to watch the race live and I regretted having seen Marco ride live for the last time.

    Co-incidentally, I missed the Japanese GP as well and I remember catching up the recorded race at night and was shocked as just a few months back, I’d told my brother to watch out for this young Frenchman as the next super star of the sport. Alas! It never happened.

    In some way, I am glad he passed away as the disabilities would have been a nightmare. We see what Michael is going through and it’s painful to read.

    The sport has lost its young star! Rest in Peace Jules! :(

  17. Why do I feel so sad to hear this news? I am not a fan of Jules and I am just a casual F1 fan. Yet, this is such a sad news for me. A young life who has so much to experience in this world has passed away. It goes to show that how we can not take these drivers for granted. Sometimes, I stop to think why these youngsters choose this career. I mean, the rewards are very small compared to what they have to pay on a fateful day such as the one Jules had in Suzuka. They all come in with big dreams of becoming a champion one day but most people never make it to F1 or to a decent team where they can win races. They are ignored if they don’t meet expectations in 1 or 2 years and are forgotten. But why do so many still choose this career? This is something I fail to understand how many times I try to think about it.

  18. A tragic loss to F1, not to mention what his family must be going through. Desperately sad to read this.

    For me, though, the overwhelming feeling is one of anger, as it was at the time of the incident. It should not have been allowed to happen, and those responsible ought to have taken responsibility.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      18th July 2015, 13:30

      I was very sad to hear about Jules passing away, and like you I believe his death could have been prevented. Although the official report into his accident stated it was a collection of unforeseen circumstances with a tropical storm on the way, in my opinion the race should never have followed it’s normal schedule. There was no reason why for instance we couldn’t have had the race on Saturday for instance, the grid decided by fastest times in practice. Ultimately what F1 needs in emergency situations like this is one person to decide on a suitable course of action and we do it.

      1. Doesn’t Charlie have the required authority to do just that? I thought he basically was the CEO of the race weekend, not just the race.

        That said, I don’t think it is reasonable to come with the benefit of hindsight and demand the race should have been held Saturday. Like it or not, formula one is a business as well as a competition, and moving the race to a different day means no TV coverage and makes a mockery of plans for fans with only race day tickets.

        I think Jules accident would have been prevented by a virtual safety car. Since that is also a much fairer intervention, from a sporting point of view, than any of the alternatives, I am glad it’s been introduced.

        Of course Jules death is a tragedy. But I for one thinks it is in fact acceptable if F1 is dangerous. There may be implications in terms of minimum age for drivers. But it’s not like people are forced to take part in it, or don’t know about the dangers. To my mind, as tragic as a motorsport death can be, the reactions from so many strangers demonstrate a very peculiar lack of perspective. About 189,000 people die every day, many in natural circumstances, but literally THOUSANDS of these are, by any reasonable standard, far more tragic than a rich and highly successful youth biting the bullet in an accident while doing what they love most.

        If you are angry because of this accident, I wonder how you feel about, say, western nations work in the Congo! Nobody knows how many people were killed, but estimates are about 3.5 million. Most of these were killed with bloody gardening tools – machetes – and it would not have been hard for the UN forces to prevent it. The UN was there, but all they did was guard UN installations! (Meanwhile a small force of French soldiers did save countless lives by actually intervening in Côté d’Ivoire (ivory coast).

        I’m sorry that this turned into a bit of a rant, but it is truly exasperating to see so many people pour energy into NON-issues, when their sadness, anger, and voice is so much more needed elsewhere.

        I’m sorry

        1. Jonathan Parkin
          19th July 2015, 20:13

          I’m sorry too that final sentence was a bit harsh. Here is my point though. The scheduling of the race at such a late hour in the day is problematic because as we saw at Malaysia in 2009, if you have inclement weather you have no room for manoeuvre and the race has to be abandoned because of falling light, as opposed to Canada 2011 where the full race was able to be run albeit with a two hour stoppage.

          In the case of the 2014 Japanese GP, I didn’t watch qualifying on the Saturday so I don’t know if it was wet or dry, but if the race was scheduled in that slot with possibly an earlier start time of 15 minutes say, it wouldn’t cause too many problems for broadcasters and race day fans could have been admitted on their tickets

  19. what a sad and unwelcome news (( we all hoped you’d make it through, Jules. RIP

  20. A mega talent, a possible future champion and above all a lovely, gentle, young man. RIP. My condolences to his family and all who knew him.

    1. Very well said. Thank you.

  21. Black n Blue15
    18th July 2015, 9:17

    RIP Jules – a staggering talent unfulfilled, yet one not to be forgotten. My condolences go out to his family and any loved ones of his.

  22. ColdFly F1 (@)
    18th July 2015, 9:19

    RIP Jules. My condolences to his family.

  23. My deepest condolences to Jules’s family and friends. Loss of a such a young life is something that never should happen anywhere.

  24. So sad news! RIP.

  25. Speechless. I still remember the day i was told Senna died and can feel just as sad. I know Jules didn’t win any Championships but he seemed like a driver that was destined to achive alot greater things than being in one of the teams at the back. RIP Jules. We will remember you

  26. A tragic loss to the F1 community. We all spend time bickering about such rubbish, but at the end of the day, this is a sharp, painful reminder that it will always be dangerous and these heroes do really put their lives on the line for us, the fans.

    Rest in peace Jules. Always remembered.

  27. Keisoglou Alexandros (@)
    18th July 2015, 9:24

    Oh my god. I’m litterally shocked.
    Even though as the time went by, no major
    progress was made, the courage, resistance and
    strength of that young man, along with all of them who took
    care of him, gave my strength to keep beliving.

    It it a real shame that this young soul did not enjoyed life
    at it’s finest, living only 21 years of it.
    The only bright point about it, i guess, is
    that he died doing what he truly loved.

    My thoughts are with his family.

    Rest In Peace,
    Jules Bianchi

    1. Keisoglou Alexandros (@)
      18th July 2015, 17:30

      *25 years of his life*

  28. I suspect many of us all expected and feared it would end this way, but it doesn’t make the truth of the matter any less tragic. And I can’t help but feel a sense of anger that this was avoidable and should never have happened. My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.

    1. @keithcollantine But anger can come later, right now we need to somehow deal with the magnitude of this tragedy…

      1. I feel energy can come from the tragedy @countrygent, with a determination not to let it happen again. After all Brundle had been predicting such an accident for well over a decade, and even now the FIA will not stop deploying cranes trackside of the barriers while cars are circulating.

        Let such a change be Bianchi’s legacy. The sense of his death ‘not being in vain’ is what would most help me, personally.

    2. @KeithCollantine I feel the same way :( A very very sad story.

    3. @keithcollantine I can only imagine what Martin Brundle must be feeling.

      1. @dragoll – I will never forget Martin Brundle’s commentary before this happened. Race control should have also been aware and a step ahead of everyone else. That is their job. This did not need to happen and was preventable.

    4. Plus about five billion.

      Is it beyond the wit of man to put some huge skirts on the cranes if they have to enter the circuit! I mean really… I have read arguments against skirts that are mind boggling…

      I am pretty sure the brightest minds in the business can help out with the blasted design should it be too taxing for the FIA given their busy making the average unused Saharan road nice and safe..

      Honestly folks – given I have ended up smashing into an ambulance parked at the end of a straight thus ending my racing career on a certified circuit… I am really angry and justifiably so… How can that happen in F1?

      perhaps they should revert to the great Sid Watkins requirements? In which case it would not have been run from what we understand.

    5. Very well said @keithcollantine and echoes my thoughts exactly.

      Rest in peace Jules. My thoughts and prayers are with his family who cared so much for him.

  29. Alex McFarlane
    18th July 2015, 9:27

    Am stunned but not surprised, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Jules with the injuries he sustained.

    Condolences to all his friends and family, he will always be remembered for one of the most joyful moments in recent F1 memory of scoring Manor/Marussia’s first points and of being one of the brighter characters in the paddock.

  30. Such a sad news. Condolences to family and friends who have gone through such hard times.

  31. I wonder if Manor would goes to Ligier & Dallara route..??

  32. I can’t imaging how his family feels.

    R.I.P. Jules Bianchi. Forza Jules.

  33. Very tough news this morning. I was very saddened to read this, but it was former teammate Max Chilton’s tweet that squeezed the tears out.

    Goodbye Jules

  34. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    18th July 2015, 9:37

    Rest peacefully Jules, along with Marco.

  35. He should have been in a Ferrari next year and hopefully a champion in the future. But we are paying him his last respects. This is so sad, the way he was taken from us. I expected him to at the least be a son to his parents even his F1 career was over but even that is gone now.
    I hope the F1 community learns a lesson from this tragic incident and helps improve safety even more on tracks.

    Rest in Peace, Jules. You’ll never be forgotten. You saved a team.

  36. We will never forget you or your talent.

  37. RIP Jules, you deserve your rest. My thoughts go out to his family and friends who no doubt have been through a lot already in the past 9 months; I can only hope that this brings some sort of closure for them. This is terribly sad.

  38. Can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said, but what a very sad bit of news. I had a feeling this may be coming with the recent statement from the family. Hopefully they can see this as a release for Jules, and that they can now grieve for him and find some closure rather than the hellish limbo they must have endured for the past nine months.

    Goodnight Jules.

    1. Yes, I also had a thought about this when I read the last interview the family gave not too long ago @mazdachris.

      He will be remembered for what he acieved, for chasing his dream and for the enormous potential we never got to see realized. Thank you Jules for all you have given us all.

    2. la tristesse durera toujours :'(

  39. Awful news :(

  40. R.I.P. Jules, very sad.

  41. Rest in peace Jules.

    I’m also sparing a thought for Adrian Sutil today. Obviously it had nothing to do with him, but he wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t thinking what if. The way events unfold sometimes is so strange.

    1. Agree.

      And sad to hear Jules’ death.

  42. Rest in peace Jules! Such a phenomenal talent, with his performances at Marussia – I was looking forward to see what he could do behind the wheel of the prancing horse one day.

  43. So sad. RIP Jules.

  44. Appalling loss of a tremendous talent and a thoroghly decent young man. And though it’s probably too early to state unpleasant truths, Jules Bianchi died because of the greed of the race organisers who, faced with an incoming typhoon ( the kind of extreme weather the Japanese, of all people, know how to respect ) ,were offered and rejected out of hand an opportunity to bring the race start time forward by several hours, but this was rejected on the grounds of denying paying spectators the time required to reach the circuit ( and comsequent claims for compensation and loss of profit).
    The race conditions at the time of Bianchi’s collision with the crane truck, at dusk, in torrential wind and rain, were beyond measure entirely unsafe. And a fine young man died because
    these people’s greed.

  45. RIP Jules. Sad to see such a great young talent lose his life. His impact on the sport we love will not be forgotten

  46. 21 years after senna. So sad. Rip. Those cranes need redesigning.

  47. So sad #be safe Jules

  48. Had feared this was coming. Really sad that he was never able to witness his team outlasting Caterham thanks to his Monaco result.

    RIP :(

  49. I’m devastated by this news, but his family must have gone through hell the past months. Such a terrible scenario and yet while the FIA did introduce the VSC, they still haven’t implemented any changes to the actual vehicles which if anything is the most important change to make. Rest in peace Jules.

  50. Reposez en paix Jules, vous nous manquerez.

  51. Over on reddit someone posted a beautiful comment along the lines of ‘box box box Jules’ I’m a grown man but it almost reduced me to tears.

    It was one hell of a first stint and he was almost certainly destined for many, many wins. Great loss to the sport and my thoughts go out to the family.

  52. Race in Peace young man. :'(

  53. Very sad news. I didn’t hold out much hope of a recovery but this was still unexpected if that makes sense. RIP Jules. Taken too soon.

  54. It’s rather fitting that this weekend’s Grand Prix was cancelled.
    Thanks, Keith for focusing on the family. Must have been a difficult article to write. Their dignity has been remarkable, and the amount of information Philippe Bianchi has shared in his statements and interviews. I hope they can feel some relief in due course, but for now it’s just gut-wrenchingly sad.

    1. Then 1994 Monaco GP should be cancelled as well.

      1. I meant it gives us time to think and remember – and not have to go through the motions of another race weekend, struggling to find any enthusiasm for it. Not sure what you meant.

  55. The worst news to wake up to. I’ll always remember his heroics at Monaco… this sport can be so cruel sometimes. Rest in peace Jules.

  56. Awful news to wake up to. Rest In Peace. Jules :'(

  57. As a fan of the sport it pains me to hear such a tragedy, by being a Ferrari fan i was able to follow Jules career since he joined the FDA, in GP2 and in every test he made with the Scuderia, i really believed that he will become one day a WDC, he showed that in his stint in Marussia, he proved me wrong today because i always thought that Ayrton is the last driver to die racing in F1, 25 years are very little for such a person like Jules but they’re also enough for him to put him alongside the legends : Gilles, Simoncelli…
    RIP Jules Bianchi.

  58. So hard to find any words right now. The guy, who brings invaluable points to a team, that is fighting for its very existence every weekend, faces such a tragic end… man, fate can be quite cruel sometimes.

    RIP, Jules Bianchi. We are going to miss you. :(

  59. This news has made me so very sad, for him and his family, although perhaps not unexpected it was still very shocking to see a moment ago. Rest in peace sweet Jules.

  60. RIP Jules, we’ll always remember you for the promising talent you were.

  61. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
    18th July 2015, 11:34

    Rest in peace Jules. May God bless you. My condolences to his family and to all who knew him.

  62. Joni (@theflyingfinns)
    18th July 2015, 11:37

    A sad way to start the weekend, a young man with basically a whole career ahead…

    And I had this feeling last year already, but I can’t help but feel as if 2014 was some kind of “echoes from the past” season for F1, mainly reminding of MSC and Senna. I mean, with the Mercedes having the “#keepfightingMichael” in their car the whole year, there was the Rosberg Monaco incident (reminding of Michael in 2006), the way Hamilton passed Rosberg in the Suzuka race reminded me of Senna passing Prost in 1988 (and many people comparing Hamilton-Rosberg to Senna-Prost), and now this, the first death of an F1 driver since Senna.

    And the timing, with all talks about the next Ferrari driver, just ahead of the Hungarian GP where Jules famously beat Kimi in Q1 last year… Also, he passed away on July 17th, after finishing 17th on the 2014 championship, driving the number 17. Life is scary sometimes…

    Anyway, RIP Jules, well wishes to family and friends, and let’s hope we don’t lose Michael now and that we go at least another 20 years without another F1 death, preferable though that this never happens again. But today is for Jules, a fighter till the end.

  63. R.I.P Jules Bianchi. Was horrified when I read the title of this article. At first I thought he managed to come through at first glance at the title, but just…so sad to hear this. You will sorely be missed by everyone associated with F1. Just like Malaysia 2011 again.

  64. Someone recently asked me what makes me cry. I told them, amongst other things, I often had to fight my tears when I thought of Michael and Jules. Today I let it out. I’ve been awake for an hour and practically haven’t had dry eyes since seeing the news on my smartphone minutes later. I think it was Jean Alesi who said that we ‘can’t accept’ this news in regards to driver safety, but I’m having a hard time accepting it as a reality.

    In GP2 and FR3.5, he always seemed like a fierce competitor (especially to my compatriot van der Garde) but I found it hard to gauge his talent. In F1, he made his talents clear. Sneaking his Marussia into Q2, grabbing those wonderful points at Monaco. There was a lively topic on the forums last year where multiple people were vouching for him to go to Ferrari or Sauber this season. To later hear rumours that VdG/Bianchi would have been Sauber’s line up for this season was a grim reminder of the harsh realities of this sport.

    I couldn’t comment on Jules’ father’s recent comments because I have felt the same about family members I’ve lost; but I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to lose your son. Now, all I can do is send my deepest condolences to his family, friends and people in racing he worked with.

    I share Keith’s opinion we all knew it wasn’t going to be a miracle, but I sure did hope for it. A 25 year old shouldn’t die this way. An F1 driver shouldn’t die this way.

    Rest in peace, Jules. I will never forget you.

    1. I’d also like to spare a thought for Adrian Sutil and the marshals at the accident site. I’d imagine it’s been tough for them already, but this news must be devastating for them as well.

  65. So young, so talented, so sad! R.I.P. Jules.

  66. Even though I had read his father’s recent brooding comments, and correctly interpreted them as forebodings, I can’t help but feel devastated.
    I will remember him as a very promising and likeable driver, whose career was about to take off. He will be missed.
    My thoughts are with his family. I hope that they will be left in peace, so that they can mourn their son and brother and leave behind the agony of the past months.

  67. So sad to hear this. I was always hoping to him sitting in a Ferrari and racing for the title. RIP Jules…

  68. A lovely man and a wonderful driver. Rest in peace, Jules.

  69. RIP Jules. He sure had talent. It’s sad but oh how much worse the crash could’ve been…

  70. I’ll add my heartfelt thoughts and sorrow to this list, to the Bianchi family. F1 MUST honour him by learning from this tragedy such that this not happen ever again.

  71. Such a sad news. Always hoped that he would somehow wake up and return back to his family. Rest in peace Jules.

    He was a shinning talent and could very well have been a great like Ayorton, Prost or Michael. I had just started watching in 1991 and Senna was my favourite driver. My heart sank the day Senna crashed and today again I feel the same sadness. For 20 years F1 had defied the odds, if only it could continue.

  72. RIP Jules. Can’t really put into words the sadness. Since I started following F1 just after Senna’s death I’d certainly hoped I would never witness a driver die in a race. Of course you now that in this sport death is always lurking around the next corner but you put that to the back of your mind, until it happens

    Deepest condolences to Jules’ family and friends. What a great young man they’d lost and what a great talent is lost to all of us

  73. Rest in peace Jules.

  74. Borrowing from Bianchi’s father words, the pain is indesribable, the whole motorsport communities are mourning for the highly talented racing driver, thanks for the memories, Jules…

  75. petebaldwin (@)
    18th July 2015, 17:12

    RIP Jules. Such sad news – he would have had a long career in F1.

  76. Rest in peace

  77. No! No! Just………!
    I love you Jules.


  78. Rest in peace Jules.

  79. Such a sadeness… Rest in peace, Jules.

  80. No more pain and Jules can now Rest In Peace. Condolences to Jules’s family and close friends. He will be missed greatly.

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