Jules Bianchi’s long and unknown to recovery has taken a positive step, with his family confirming that he has been repatriated to France. The Marussia driver suffered critical head injuries – later diagnosed as a diffuse axonal brain injury – when he struck a recovery vehicle in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix seven weeks ago.

Bianchi has spent the entire time in the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center’s intensive care unit in an induced coma and on artificial respiration, but has subsequently been taken off respiration and flown to the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice, in the south of France, where he is under the care of Professors Marc Raucoules and Professeur Carole Ichai, under the head of neurosurgery Professeur Philippe Paquis. The transfer took place on Tuesday.

“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,” a statement from Bianchi’s parents, Philippe and Christine, reads.

Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi

“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.”

Image via XPB Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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