Saturday 1 October 2016

Family of tragic Jules Bianchi launch legal action against FIA

Philip Duncan

Published 26/05/2016 | 10:24

Philippe Bianchi (C), the father of Jules Bianchi, and Formula 1 drivers observe a minute's silence in memoriam of late French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi
Philippe Bianchi (C), the father of Jules Bianchi, and Formula 1 drivers observe a minute's silence in memoriam of late French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi

The father of Jules Bianchi has started legal action against the sport's governing body.

  • Go To

An English law firm working on behalf of the Bianchi family has revealed it plans to sue the FIA, Bianchi's Marussia team and Formula One Group, of which Bernie Ecclestone is the chief executive.

Bianchi died on July 17 last year, nine months after he crashed into a recovery vehicle at the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. He was the first Formula One driver to die as a result of injuries sustained at a race weekend in more than two decades.

The statement released by Stewarts Law read: "The family of Formula One racing driver, Jules Bianchi, has today announced they plan to take legal action in England relating to the fatal head injuries Jules Bianchi sustained in a violent collision with a mobile crane at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, 2014.

"The letters (to the FIA, Marussia and Formula One Group) explain why the Bianchi family feel the actions of one or more of those parties, amongst others, may have contributed to Jules' fatal accident and invite them to accept that errors were made in the planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race which took place in dangerous conditions during the typhoon season in Japan."

An FIA investigation into the crash determined that a number of factors - the tricky conditions, Bianchi's speed, and the presence of a crane - all contributed to the accident.

Pallbearers carry the casket of French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi into Sainte Reparate Cathedral during his funeral in Nice, French Riviera, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Bianchi, 25, died Friday from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix. He had been in a coma since the Oct. 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Pallbearers carry the casket of French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi into Sainte Reparate Cathedral during his funeral in Nice, French Riviera, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Bianchi, 25, died Friday from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix. He had been in a coma since the Oct. 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

Philippe Bianchi said: "We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son's crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.

"As a family, we have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules' accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made."

Bianchi became the first Formula One driver since Ayrton Senna, who was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, to die from injuries sustained at a race weekend.

The 25-year-old Frenchman crashed head-on into a tractor which had been deployed to recover Adrian Sutil who had spun in the wet conditions.

Philippe Bianchi, the father of French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi, is comforted by a relative prior to the funeral of his son at Sainte Reparate Cathedral in Nice, French Riviera, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Bianchi, 25, died Friday from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix. He had been in a coma since the Oct. 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Philippe Bianchi, the father of French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi, is comforted by a relative prior to the funeral of his son at Sainte Reparate Cathedral in Nice, French Riviera, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Bianchi, 25, died Friday from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix. He had been in a coma since the Oct. 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

Stewarts Law partner Julian Chamberlayne, who is representing the Bianchi family, said: "Jules Bianchi's death was avoidable. The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula One but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules' death.

"It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules.

"The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings.

"This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first. If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today."

Press Association

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport