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Saturday 18 November 2017

Angry Marussia hit back at Bianchi crash claims

Marussia Formula One driver Jules Bianchi crashed and suffered critical head injuries in Japan. His team Marussia have hit back at allegations they told Bianchi to go faster before he crashed. Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Marussia Formula One driver Jules Bianchi crashed and suffered critical head injuries in Japan. His team Marussia have hit back at allegations they told Bianchi to go faster before he crashed. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Alan Baldwin

Marussia expressed shock and anger yesterday at media allegations that French driver Jules Bianchi had ignored warning flags and been told to go faster by the Formula One team before he crashed and suffered critical head injuries in Japan.

The British-based team issued a statement rejecting what it referred to as 'entirely false' reports about events at Suzuka 10 days ago.

"The Marussia F1 Team is shocked and angered by these allegations," it said.

"At a time when its driver is critically ill in hospital, and the team has made clear that its highest priority is consideration for Jules and his family, it is distressed to have to respond to deeply upsetting rumours and inaccuracies."

Marussia said Bianchi had slowed when the yellow warning flags, which tell drivers to be prepared to stop, were waved by track marshals following an earlier accident in the same location involving Adrian Sutil's Sauber.

The team said International Automobile Federation (FIA) safety delegate and race director Charlie Whiting had confirmed, from telemetry data provided by the team, at a subsequent news conference in Russia that this was the case.

It added that "an audio copy of the full radio transmission between Jules and the team, and also a written transcript thereof, were provided to the FIA.

"It is quite clear from the transmission and the transcript that at no point during the period leading up to Jules' accident did the team urge Jules to drive faster or make any comments suggesting that he should do so," it added.

Bianchi, a promising driver with close ties to Ferrari, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Japan after his car aquaplaned off the track and into a recovery tractor that was removing Sutil's car. Bianchi's father described his condition as "desperate".

Irish Independent

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