Saturday 16 November 2019

Jules Bianchi's father speaks about 'daily torture' since crash left his son in a coma

Marussia's Jules Bianchi
Marussia's Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi's family is going through "daily torture" as the Formula One driver continues his recovery from a severe head injury.

Bianchi remains in a coma six months after his Marussia crashed into a recovery vehicle during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

The 25-year-old is in a stable condition in a hospital in his home town of Nice, but as the wait for him to regain consciousness goes on, his family continues to suffer by his side.

"I think that in this type of accident it shocks more than an actual death. The pain is endless - a daily torture," father Philippe Bianchi told French newspaper Nice-Matin.

"Every day, Jules is running a marathon. All of his organs are working without assistance. But, for now, he remains unconscious.

"From a medical point of view, his condition is stable.

"The only thing we can say is that he's fiercely fighting as he always did, before and after the accident.

"He's moving forward. So we hope for a new evolution. The next one would be for him to get out of his coma."

Bianchi's crash happened on lap 43 of October's grand prix at Suzuka. The cars were behind the safety car after Adrian Sutil had spun off the track in wet conditions.

One lap later, on the same corner as Sutil's Sauber was being towed away, Bianchi's car aquaplaned off the circuit and collided with the recovery vehicle.

The race was red flagged on lap 46 and did not restart, while Bianchi was taken away to hospital

He remained in the Mie Prefectural General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi until November when he was transported to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice.

Motor sport world governing body the FIA's Accident Panel released a 396-page report following its investigation into the crash and found Bianchi "did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control at the same point on the track as Sutil".

The accident raised questions again as to whether F1 should make use of closed cockpits, five years after Felipe Massa was knocked unconscious by a spring that had fallen off Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

However, the Accident Panel rejected this would have helped Bianchi, stating: "(The) approach is (not) practical due to the very large forces involved in the accident between a 700kg car striking a 6500kg crane at a speed of 126kph.

''It is considered fundamentally wrong to try and make an impact between a racing car and a large and heavy vehicle survivable.

''It is imperative to prevent a car ever hitting the crane and/or the marshals working near it.''

Bianchi's fellow drivers have continually offered their support across social media, with the hashtag #ForzaJules regularly used, most recently by McLaren driver Jenson Button and the team's reserve driver Kevin Magnussen on Monday.

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