F1 driver Bianchi dies nine months after Suzuka crash

Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:41pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi has died of critical head injuries sustained at last year's Japanese Grand Prix, his family said in a statement on Saturday. He was 25.

Bianchi had been in a coma since the accident at Suzuka last October. He passed away at a hospital in Nice, near his parents' home in the south of France.

"Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end," said the Bianchi family.

"The pain we feel is immense and indescribable."

Bianchi was the first driver since Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna, at Italy's Imola circuit in May 1994, to die from injuries sustained during a grand prix weekend.

"We are devastated to lose Jules after such a hard-fought battle," his Manor F1 team Tweeted. "It was a privilege to have him race for our team."

The Frenchman suffered severe head injuries when, in wet conditions and fading light, his Marussia slammed into a recovery tractor while it was attempting to remove Adrian Sutil's crashed Sauber.

Television images of the Oct. 5 accident, which were not publicly broadcast but have since been posted on the internet, showed the Marussia's roll hoop had been entirely ripped off in the massive impact.

The race was stopped and the unconscious driver was extracted from the wrecked car and taken by road ambulance to the nearby hospital.   Continued...

 
Marussia Formula One driver Jules Bianchi of France speaks to the media after a news conference at the Suzuka circuit in this October 2, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Files