French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi has died of critical head injuries sustained in a horrific high-speed crash at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix. Jules passed away at a hospital in Nice, near his parents’ home in the south of France.
He was 25 years old.
His family released an official statement which read:
A Statement from the Bianchi Family
Saturday 18 July 2015
02.45hrs France │ 01.45hrs UK
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. 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.
Bianchi had been in a coma since the accident at Suzuka last October.
He crashed into a recovery vehicle which came onto the side of the track near the end of the rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix. He was taken unconscious by ambulance to the nearest hospital and immediately underwent emergency brain surgery with doctors saying he was critically ill.
At that time, he was said to have suffered a diffuse axonal injury, an injury that occurs in 50% of serious head injuries. It stems from the shockwave that is felt on impact and flows from the top of the brain to the bottom of it provoking the bruising, while the violent forward motion of the driver’s head as the car moves forward and then being brutally brought to a halt jerking the head back also exacerbates the injury.
The shearing action disrupts the brain’s architecture and kills brain cells. In response to the injury, the brain swells and this increasing pressure can restrict blood flow, causing further brain damage. Recovery rates for such injuries are not encouraging.
Colleagues and friends have since flooded Twitter with their condolences:
I'll never forget you and the good times we had. Going to miss you bro ❤️ pic.twitter.com/nHxnuIdCwN
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) July 18, 2015
— Felipe Massa (@MassaFelipe19) July 18, 2015
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) July 18, 2015
Last night we lost a truly great guy and a real fighter #RIPJules my sincerest Condolences to his family and friends.
— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) July 18, 2015
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2015
We are devastated to lose Jules after such a hard-fought battle. It was a privilege to have him race for our team. https://t.co/USrDQbG7fZ
— Manor Racing (@ManorRacing) July 18, 2015
Very sad day for Motorsport, the best driver that I raced against has left us after 9 months fighting for his life. RIP my friend. Jules
— Roberto Merhi (@robertomerhi) July 18, 2015
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) July 18, 2015
Jules Bianchi is the grandson of Mauro Bianchi, 3-times World Champion in the GT category. He was 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. He was also contracted to Ferrari and was considered to have a bright future in the sport.
Rest in peace, Jules. You will be missed.