French Formula One driver Bianchi dies in hospital

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 17, 2015 10:08 PM

(Reuters) - French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi has died of injuries sustained at last year's Japanese Grand Prix, his family said in a statement on Saturday. He was 25.

Bianchi had been in a coma since the accident at Suzuka last October. He passed away at a hospital in Nice, near his parents' home in the south of France.

“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."

Bianchi is the first driver since Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna, at Italy's Imola circuit in May 1994, to die from injuries sustained during a grand prix weekend.

His F1 team paid tribute to the Frenchman, who suffered severe head injuries when his Marussia slammed into a recovery tractor in wet conditions in fading light.

"We are devastated to lose Jules after such a hard-fought battle," Manor F1 team Tweeted. "It was a privilege to have him race for our team."

(Reporting by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)