During Sunday’s rain-affected Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit, Marussia driver Jules Bianchi crashed at high speed into the back of a tractor that was being used to remove the Sauber of Adrian Sutil who had crashed earlier in the race. The impact caused serious head injuries for the 25-year-old Frenchman, who was rushed to nearby Mie General Medical Center to undergo surgery to treat the injuries.
Jules Bianchi’s family have now released a statement regarding the injured Marussia driver. The statement reveals that Bianchi suffered a “diffuse axonal injury” and that he remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center.
The statement also revealed that top Italian neurosurgeon Alessandro Frati has flown to Japan to help with the treatment, at the request of Scuderia Ferrari. Bianchi had close links to the Italian team through its junior driver program and was widely regarded to be one of the team’s future drivers.
The accident is the most serious to occur in F1 since Felipe Massa, driving for Ferrari at the time, suffered a skull fracture during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix when a suspension spring from another car hit him in the head and caused him to drive into a tire barrier.
The full statement from Jules Bianchi’s family is reproduced below:
“This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation.
Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition. The medical professionals at the hospital are providing the very best treatment and care and we are grateful for everything they have done for Jules since his accident.
We are also grateful for the presence of Professor Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, and Professor Alessandro Frati, Neurosurgeon of the University of Rome La Sapienza, who has travelled to Japan at the request of Scuderia Ferrari. They arrived at the hospital today and met with the medical personnel responsible for Jules’ treatment, in order to be fully informed of his clinical status so that they are able to advise the family. Professors Saillant and Frati acknowledge the excellent care being provided by the Mie General Medical Center and would like to thank their Japanese colleagues.
The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate.”