Bianchi, just shy of turning 26 years old on Aug. 3, was a promising F1 driver, making his debut in 2013 with the Marussia F1 team. His talent was obvious, often pushing the backmarker car to higher than expected finishes.
Bianchi scored Marussia’s only season points to date at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, where he finished ninth. This allowed Marussia to jump ahead of veteran team Sauber in the points standings.
Bianchi was a member of Ferrari’s driver development program, entering Formula One as a test driver for Ferrari in 2011.
Outgoing Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo revealed that Bianchi was the team’s pick to drive a third car for Ferrari in the event that Formula One switched to three car teams.
At the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 5, 2014, Bianchi’s car collided violently with a tractor near the track that was clearing a previous wreck involving driver Adrian Sutil. He was then rushed to a hospital with severe head injuries.
We are saddened to learn that this promising young driver has passed away, and our thoughts remain with his friends, family and team.
Here is the full statement from the Bianchi family released today:
It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“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. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.
“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.
“We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules.”
Our thoughts are with Jules’ family, friends and fans all over the world.
UPDATE [9:25 p.m.]: Jules’ team Manor Marussia has issued the following statement on Twitter:
UPDATE [1:45 a.m.]: Jules’ Marussia teammate Max Chilton tweeted his condolences as well:
Photo credit: Getty Images