FORMULA 1 MOTORSPORT NEWS

It’s a miracle F1 driver Jules Bianchi is still alive, says his father

Jules Bianchi refuses to surrender his very fragile hold on life, according to his father, Philippe. “He will not give up, I’m sure of that. I can see it. I believe it,” Philippe told La Gazzetta dello Sport.However, he also conceded: “The situation is desperate. Every time the telephone goes, we know it could be the hospital to tell us that Jules is dead.”

Formula 1 drivers Sochi Autodrom
Formula 1 drivers
Sochi Autodrom

The Marussia driver suffered severe head injuries when he crashed into a recovery vehicle in heavy rain during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on 5 October.

Philippe added: “I was very sad when he got hurt. I kept wondering, like every one else, why don’t they tell us more about how he is?

“But now I’m in the same position I understand. Everyone keeps asking me how Jules is but I can’t reply, there is no answer. It’s very serious, but he’s stable. One day he seems a bit better, other days a bit worse. The doctors don’t say. The damage from the accident is very bad but we don’t know how it will evolve.

“It’s tough. In a week the life of this family has been destroyed. What are we doing here? Living a nightmare in a place very far from home.

“But when Jules gets a bit better we can transfer him, maybe to Tokyo, and things will be a bit easier. But who knows when that will happen. If it will happen. We have no certainties, we just have to wait and see.”

Bianchi, 25, suffered a diffuse axonal injury to his brain – meaning damage was widespread, rather than to one focal point. He was taken to the Mie general medical centre in Yokkaichi, where he underwent immediate surgery.

Philippe and Bianchi’s mother, Christine, together with his brother Tom and sister Melanie, have been with him for the past few days. Philippe added: “I speak to him. I know he can hear me. His doctors have told us this is already a miracle, no one has ever survived such a serious accident. But Jules won’t give up. His trainer Andrea [Ferrari] says if there is one person who can make it happen, with his will, it’s Jules.”

Philippe added that he had been moved by messages from the world of Formula One. Before Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix drivers formed a “circle of solidarity”, with arms round each other’s shoulders.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Philippe. “It touched us very deeply. We thank every one of them. So many of them have been in touch, written to me; Fernando Alonso, Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Massa have given strong messages.

“Lewis Hamilton wrote me a beautiful email in which he says that if there is anything he can do, he’s there. [Valentino] Rossi and [Marc] Márquez from MotoGP, too.”

Marussia’s president and sporting director Graeme Lowdon has talked about the difficulties facing his team. “When you’ve had a serious incident, whether somebody isn’t hurt or not, it’s a major challenge. It’s not just an enormous challenge but it’s an enormous mental challenge as well for everybody involved. It’s helpful that there’s time to regroup and really get ready for Austin and determine what the best thing for us to do there is.

“We’ll come up with a plan for the next race and through to the end of the season, and I’m sure the guys are up for it. We make no comment as far as the driver lineup is concerned because we haven’t had time to sit down properly and have a look at all the options.

“We’ve a little bit of a gap now, which seems like a luxurious one, so we’ll use that time to work out what the best thing is. It’s never straightforward, so we’ll do whatever is right.”

The FIA’s race director Charlie Whiting issued a preliminary report of what happened in Japan during the last race weekend in Sochi. The sport’s governing body will experiment with speed limits in dangerous areas on the Friday before the US Grand Prix on 2 November.