Jules Bianchi: The rising star Formula One has lost

The Sport Space’s F1 writer, Kyle Archer, pays tribute to Jules Bianchi after the French Formula One driver passed away. 

Following his crash in Japan last October, Jules Bianchi has lost his fight and passed away at the age of 25. He was tipped for success in the future while battling at the back for Marussia, but nine-months on from the incident where he suffered critical head injuries, the rising star passed away leaving the Formula One world in sorrow.

Jules broke into the world of Formula One back in 2009 when he was signed by Ferrari to be the first driver in their young driver programme after showing early signs of his potential. But even after displacing Formula One talents such as Giancarlo Fisichella and Marc Gené for the Ferrari test and reserve driver role in 2011, what the future had in store for the young Frenchman will still very unclear.

But with the desire to one day be world champion Jules kept pushing towards the dream and finally got a race seat in F1 with Marussia for the 2013 season, just two weeks before the season opener in Australia. Yet the short time was no barrier for Bianchi as he settled in rapidly and out-qualifying his then team-mate Max Chilton by three-quarters of a second. The rest of the season continued to show why Jules was given the chance to shine and why Ferrari and Marussia had put their faith in him.

And that faith continued into the following year with Marussia keeping him on for another season alongside Chilton, who was out shone by Bianchi most rounds. But the highlight of 2014 for both Bianchi and Marussia would surely have been in Monaco when Jules made history for the team and the world rejoiced as the plucky back marker scored their first points in Formula One.

It was marvellous work by Bianchi to work his way through the field as the 22 starters dwindled down to 14. Bianchi also managed to stay within one lap of the lead while his team-mate, Chilton, fell to three laps down and in last place. But this was just a glimpse of what Bianchi was capable of after spending most of his time challenging at the back and striving for a chance to fight with the bigger teams.

But that chance he clutched at in Monaco was all he could savour as in the pouring Japanese rain, Jules carried too much speed into turn seven and aquaplaned under the JCB sent out to recover Sutil’s stricken Sauber. The world gasped as the news came through of Jules being rushed to the hospital following the incident and the sight of his crash will haunt this writer having been born in the era safety was developing and no driver had lost his life through Formula One racing since Senna’s crash all those years ago.

When Jules crashed into the recovery vehicle it was a horrible moment as the severity hit home but with every following day, week and month you hoped you would hear news of him getting better and one day returning to the paddock with the smile back on his face. But news was slow, his development was limited and sadly this morning he lost his fight. The driver that could have had the third Ferrari seat in 2015 had three car teams been introduced will never return to the paddock and the world has lost a star, but more importantly the family lost a son they cherished.

Having never met the man I can not talk of what he was like to know, but he always seemed a genuinely nice person when I saw him on TV or read something about him, regardless of how talented he clearly was. And now he has gone the world of motorsport and beyond have paid tribute to Jules in a loving way.

In a statement early today, the Bianchi family thanked the world for their kind words as they announced the loss of Jules.

“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.”

Jules’ Formula One team, Manor-Marussia, joined the tributes on their Facebook page as they bid farewell to the “shining talent”.

Manor’s Team Principal, John Booth, said: “Words cannot describe the enormous sadness within our team this morning, as we come to terms with losing Jules. He has left an indelible mark on all our lives, and will forever be part of everything we have achieved, and everything we will strive for going forward.

“Jules was a shining talent. He was destined for great things in our sport; success he so richly deserved. He was also a magnificent human being, making a lasting impression on countless people all over the world. They recognised, as did we, that at the same time as being a fiercely motivated racer, he was also an extremely warm, humble and intensely likeable person, who lit up our garage and our lives.

“We are incredibly grateful that we were able to provide Jules with the opportunity to show the world what he could do in a Formula 1 car. We knew we had a very special driver on our hands from the first time he drove our car in pre-season testing in 2013. It has been an honour to be able to consider him our race driver, our team-mate, and of course our friend.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the wonderful Bianchi family, who have remained so strong for Jules throughout the past nine months. In turn, Jules was an absolute credit to them.

“Finally, we would like to thank everyone who has supported Jules since his accident in Japan last October. Your kindness has been such a source of comfort to his family and to us, his team. We will rely on your continued support over the coming days and months as we race on for Jules.”

Rest in peace Jules. You will always be remembered.

Jules Bianchi and Manor-Marussia celebrate first points after P9 at the Monaco GP 2014 - copyright Sky Sports F1

Jules Bianchi: 1989-2015 #ForzaJules

Kyle Archer

The Sport Space

The Sport Space’s F1 writer, Kyle Archer, pays tribute to Jules Bianchi after the French Formula One driver passed away. 

Following his crash in Japan last October, Jules Bianchi has lost his fight and passed away at the age of 25. He was tipped for success in the future while battling at the back for Marussia, but nine-months on from the incident where he suffered critical head injuries, the rising star passed away leaving the Formula One world in sorrow.

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