Marussia driver Jules Bianchi has been taken to hospital after a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Frenchman lost control at the same spot at which recovery vehicles were attending the Sauber of Adrian Sutil, who had crashed on the previous lap. A tractor was preparing to drag Sutil’s Sauber but as the recovery was taking place, Bianchi also spun off at the same corner and crashed side-on into the tractor.
The 25-year-old’s incident, which happened shortly after the rain intensified, led to the race being called off. The FIA said Jules Bianchi was unconscious as he was taken from the Suzuka track.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who finished second to team-mate Lewis Hamilton, said that at this point, his second-place win was secondary:
I’m not thinking about the race, I’m thinking about my colleague. I’ve been given some information and it seems very, very serious. I’m hoping for the best. I was disappointed to finish second but I’m not really thinking about that. I was not comfortable with the car today, I was not able to attack and did not find a solution to find the balance.
Fellow Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton heard Bianchi was “severely injured”.
Lewis, who overtook teammate Nico Rosberg for the lead and eventually won the race said:
It’s not nice to hear one of our colleagues is seriously injured so that’s the main worry. Before that it was so enjoyable. You could see some commotion and the car was really badly damaged on the right. So we just hope he’s OK. In the wet it is always tough. It’s very twitchy and it was hard to catch Nico. It was not as hardcore as in the past. Silverstone 2008 had more water.
World champion Sebastian Vettel has also spoken up about the crash.
The Red Bull Racing star said:
Unlikely timing and unlucky position to lose the car. Our wishes and hopes with him because we know how tricky that corner is. It’s one of those most tricky places, you are cornering and picking up speed and the cars very nervous. To have an accident like that is difficult to predict. But it’s happened now and we have to learn the lesson. That’s not important now. We need to be thinking about Jules.
Ferrari star Fernando Alonso too offered his support to his F1 colleague when he posted the following message via his Twitter account:
#ForzaJules . Vamos amigo.
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) October 5, 2014
A statement from the FIA read:
Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of turn seven. The marshals displayed double waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was despatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guardrail. While this was being done the driver of car 17, Jules Bianchi, lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.
The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital. The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and is currently undergoing surgery. Following this, he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored. Mie General Hospital will issued an update as soon as further information becomes available.
Jules Bianchi is the grandson of Mauro Bianchi, 3-times World Champion in the GT category.
He is also the grandnephew of Lucien Bianchi who won the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans and competed in 19 Grands Prix in the Formula One World Championship between 1959 and 1968, with a podium finish in Monaco
Since 2013, Bianchi has been a race driver with the Marussia F1 Team.
More to come as we get more updates on Jules Bianchi’s condition. For now, our thoughts are with the driver, his colleagues, family, and friends.