Injured Formula One driver Jules Bianchi is no longer in the induced coma he was placed in following his tragic accident at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix in early October. In a statement released by his family on Wednesday, it’s been revealed that Bianchi remains unconscious but is breathing on his own, and that he has been moved to a hospital in his hometown of Nice, France.

The statement also reveals that his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as “critical.” Doctors are now moving to the next phase of his treatment, which is concerned with the improvement of his brain function.

Bianchi, who was driving for Marussia this season, 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 rain-soaked race in Japan. The impact caused serious head injuries for the 25-year-old Frenchman, who was rushed to the nearby Mie General Medical Center.

It was there that he was placed in a coma so that doctors could treat injuries to his brain. It was previously revealed that he had suffered a “diffuse axonal injury.”

Following the accident, the Marussia team ran into financial troubles and has since been disbanded.

Sadly, Bianchi is the second F1 driver to have suffered serious head injuries in recent times. Legendary driver Michael Schumacher suffered his own brain injury in a skiing accident late last year. He is currently being rehabilitated at his home in Switzerland.

The latest statement from Bianchi’s family is reproduced below:

"The parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, would like to provide the following information regarding Jules' medical care, by way of an update to the media and his fans.

Almost seven weeks after Jules' accident at Suzuka Circuit, and following a challenging period of neurological intensive care, we are able to announce that Jules has made an important step.

Jules is no longer in the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after the accident, however he is still unconscious. He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as 'critical'. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function.

Jules' neurological condition remains stable. Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France. We are relieved, therefore, to confirm that Jules was transferred aeromedically last night from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, Japan, to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), where he arrived just a short time ago. Jules is now in the intensive care unit of Professors Raucoules and Ichai, where his care will also be monitored by Professor Paquis, Head of Neurosurgery Service.

We are thankful that the next phase of Jules' treatment can continue close to home, where he can be surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends. We have nothing but praise for the outstanding care provided by the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center since the accident. We owe the medical staff there an enormous debt of gratitude for everything they have done for Jules, and also for our family, during what is a very difficult time for us. In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Doctors Kamei and Yamamichi, and also to Mr Ogura, all part of the team of personnel caring for Jules in Japan."


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