Formula One racer Jules Bianchi underwent brain surgery Sunday following a horrific crash at the Japanese Grand Prix. The driver, who competes for Marussia, suffered a serious head injury when he collided with an emergency vehicle during heavy rain.
The Japanese Grand Prix was surrounded by controversy due to the extreme weather conditions, which made driving very difficult for the F1 drivers. Bianchi’s condition is not certain; conflicting reports from the French media said he was breathing on his own have been contradicted by other accounts.
Sauber driver Adrian Sutil lost control of his vehicle on lap 42 and hit the barrier in the heavy rain. A recovery vehicle came onto the track to extract the stranded car and Jules Bianchi hit the back of the emergency car, after losing control. He was unconscious when he was taken to the hospital from Suzuka, according to BBC News.
In a statement, Formula One’s governing body — the International Motoring Federation (FIA) — said 25-year-old Jules Bianchi was rushed to the hospital after suffering a “severe head injury” and had gone into surgery.
Jules Bianchi is a member of Ferrari’s young driver program and is in his second season in Formula One. In 2010, he finished ninth at the Monaco Grand Prix, a first for the usually back-of-the-pack Marussia. The Frenchman is respected and loved by colleagues, who expressed their sympathies following the terrible accident.
Lewis Hamilton won Sunday’s race, which had been threatened by a typhoon. Drivers complained over team radios that they were unable to see through the spray, according to Yahoo Sports. Sutil himself saw Bianchi’s crash after his spin-off.
“I had a spin and ended up in the wall. I stood up and they tried to rescue the car. Jules was in the same area and lost the car. Hopefully he is in good hands.”
After Bianchi’s accident, the medical and emergency vehicles were sent out to the scene of the crash and the race was canceled.
“We’re all very concerned about our colleague, Bianchi,” said Hamilton, adding, “I don’t really know what to say. Obviously (the race) didn’t finish the way we would have hoped but really, my prayers are with him and his family.”
— McLaren Team (@McLarenTeamF1) October 5, 2014
Germany’s Rosberg — who finished second — also had words of concern about Jules Bianchi. He said, “I’m not thinking about the race — I’m thinking about my colleague. I’m hoping for the best.”
Felipe Massa (Williams) — who was involved in a serious crash while qualifying in 2009 at the Hungarian Grand Prix — said he was concerned of the track conditions five laps earlier.
“We need to understand what has happened with Jules. I’m very worried. I was already screaming on the radio five laps before the safety car that there was too much water on the track, but they took a bit too long and it was dangerous. So we saw that there were some crashes at the end.”
According to BBC News, F1 technical analyst Eddie Jordan said, “He [Bianchi] is hugely popular” among drivers.
“This boy was part of the Ferrari academy — he is loved and embraced by all of the drivers, not just the ones at the back where he has been in recent times, but the drivers at the front, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, you saw absolutely everybody quite upset about the accident that had occurred.”
The accident suffered by Jules Bianchi is one the worst in the last 20 years. Many safety changes were implemented to F1 following Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna’s death in 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix.
[Image via Fake Jules Bianchi/Twitter]