Here is the latest information that we have on Marussia driver Jules Bianchi’s condition following his accident in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix (all times are GMT).
Please continue to revisit this story for updates.
Tuesday 7 October
22:00: The Marussia F1 Team has released its second statement since Jules Bianchi’s accident, publishing the latest update on behalf of the Frenchman’s family on conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center. It advises that Bianchi remains in the hospital’s intensive care unit in a “critical but stable” condition.
The statement confirmed that 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, are both at the hospital and have met with medical personnel responsible for Jules’ treatment.
The statement confirmed that he suffered “a diffuse axonal injury”. In layman’s terms, these are injuries caused by the brain moving within the skull as a result of extreme acceleration of deceleration, which are common in automobile accidents. The injuries are lesions to the brain tissue that strikes the inside of the skull, which can result in permanent brain damage.
Bianchi’s sole round of surgery (performed on Sunday night) would have been to reduce intercranial pressure to reduce the risk of further brain damage; it cannot undo whatever damage was already done. What will not be known for some time is what long-term effects his injuries will have, or what level of recovery he may have. It must be added, however, that severe axonal injuries are a significant causes of persistent vegetative state or, worse still, deaths in patients who have suffered brain injuries.
13:45: Still no word (refer to today’s 06:45 update) from the Mie General Hospital on Bianchi’s condition, either from the hospital itself, the FIA or any representatives of the Bianchi family. A statement is expected in the next 24 hours.
11:40: FIA President Jean Todt has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash and is reported to have asked Race Director Charlie Whiting to compile a report ahead of this weekend’s Russian GP.
07:00: Amateur video footage has emerged of Bianchi’s crash which – out of respect for Jules Bianchi – we will NOT publish on any of our platforms. Suffice to say, it gives a more detailed insight into the accident itself which the FIA will no doubt use in their examination of the incident, if and when it is announced.
06:45: Reports in the Italian F1 media have confirmed that Bianchi’s manager, Nicolas Todt, and Professor Gerard Saillant (refer to our post at 23:50 yesterday) have just arrived at The Mie General Hospital in Yokkaichi. It is understood that the Bianchi family is waiting to have Saillant’s opinion on how to proceed, and a statement will be released thereafter.
Monday 6 October
23:50: We’ve had further details come through on Jules Bianchi’s condition, courtesy of the SKY F1 team.
Bianchi’s parents have flown in to see their son, who remains in intensive care at the Mie General Medical Center hospital after a three-hour operation to treat his injuries stemming from his collision with a mobile crane during the Japanese Grand Prix. His condition, based on the last update from the FIA, remains “critical but stable”. There were no details given regarding the operation itself or whether further surgery is required.
Despite reports to the contrary, unfortunately we can confirm that Bianchi remains on artificial respiration.
Professor Gerard Saillant, who oversaw the initial treatment of Michael Schumacher when the German was in a coma after suffering serious head injuries while skiing in the French Alps last year, is flying in to Japan and is expected to arrive on Tuesday. Professor Saillant’s background is in orthopaedic surgery – not a relevant specialisation given Bianchi’s injuries – but will serve (as he did with Schumacher’s accident) as an intermediary between the treating doctors, the FIA and the Bianchi family.
08:05: The Marussia F1 Team has issued its first statement following Jules Bianchi’s accident:
“Following the accident involving Jules Bianchi during yesterday’s 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, the Marussia F1 Team would like to acknowledge the huge outpouring of support and affection for Jules and the Team at this very difficult time.
“With regard to the communication of information concerning Jules’ medical condition, we will respect, and be guided by, the wishes of the Bianchi family. Together with Jules’ care, they will remain our highest priority.
“Therefore, we would ask for patience and understanding with regard to further medical updates, which will be communicated in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, where Jules is being treated, when they feel it is appropriate.
“Representatives of the Marussia F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari will remain at the hospital to support Jules and the Bianchi family.”
Sunday 5 October 2014
15:00: It has been confirmed that Bianchi is out of surgery. He remains in a critical condition in ICU. No other details have been given.
13:45: So here’s a summary of what we know so far:
Jules Bianchi is currently undergoing emergency surgery at the Mie General Hospital near the Suzuka Circuit after an accident during the Japanese Grand Prix. The Marussia driver went on Lap 43 and hit the rear of a tractor that was removing the Sauber of Adrian Sutil, which had crashed at the same corner one lap before. There were double0-waved caution flags being shown when Bianchi crashed, which instruct a driver to reduce speed and be prepared to stop if required.
Bianchi was taken to the circuit’s medical centre and then transferred by ambulance with a police escort to the Mie Prefecture General Hospital in Yokkaichi, which is about 15 kilometres from the track. It is understood he was unconscious but breathing unassisted when the medical teams arrived at the scene and he has continued to breath without needing any artificial respiration.
A computerised tomography (CT) scan at the hospital revealed that he has suffered “a severe head injury” and he underwent an emergency operation. More time is needed before the extent of the injuries can be properly understood.
13:35: Meanwhile, more frightening images continue to emerge of the immediate aftermath of Bianchi’s accident – you can see in this one that the entire roll-hoop structure of his car is completely missing:
12:45: The FIA has issued a further update on Bianchi’s condition:
On Lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of Turn 7. The marshals displayed double-waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was despatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guardrail. While this was being done … Jules Bianchi lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.
Once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were despatched and the Safety Car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and an ambulance.
The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital. The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this, he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.
Mie General Hospital will issue an update as soon as further information becomes available.
10:18: “The most important thing is our thoughts are with Jules,” says McLaren’s Jenson Button. “You hope it is an incident that never happens in Formula 1, let’s just leave it at that.”
10:05: There’s been much conjecture over why Bianchi wasn’t taken to the hospital via helicopter. The incoming super typhoon probably has a lot to do with it, but there’s also plenty of ill-informed suggestions that the race ran without any medical helicopter clearance – complete rubbish.
10:04: At this stage we’ve not had further news on Bianchi’s condition.
10:00: Adrian Sutil was witness to Bianchi’s crash and said the following: “It was the same thing that happened to me. The rain was increasing and daylight was going down. I was following Jules. I had a spin and ended up in the wall. I stood up and they tried to rescue the car. He was in the same area and lost the car. I have no more information. We are all aware of the situation. Hopefully he is in good hands.”
09:42: We now move into the official FIA press conferences and hear from the top-three drivers. All three podium finishers have expressed concern for Bianchi’s wellbeing.
09:24: The FIA Media Delegate Matteo Bonciani has held an impromptu press summons and confirmed that Bianchi was ‘unconscious’ in transit to hospital via ambulance.
09:18: Former F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell is on-hand to conduct the podium interviews. Meanwhile, Ferrari (to whom Bianchi was employed as an Academy driver) has confirmed the Frenchman has been taken to hospital by ambulance. Sauber has confirmed that Sutil was uninjured in his own high-speed accident.
09:14: The top-three drivers – Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel – avoid spraying the champagne out of respect for Bianchi, although they do take quick sips…
09:12: The podium is understandably muted, despite the strains of God Save The Queen.
09:11: The top-three drivers have arrived in the FIA Media Centre ahead of being ushered onto the podium. Both Hamilton and Rosberg look understandably muted inside the ‘cooldown room’, while outside we can overhear a male voice – we believe telling Daniel Ricciardo – that Bianchi ‘slid under the truck [mobile crane]’ that was winching Sutil’s stranded car off the circuit. That does not sound good…
09:02: There are reports that Marussia’s Jules Bianchi was the second car in the crash, and has been taken to the medical centre, while his team awaits further news. It is believed that his engineers were unable to get a response from the Frenchman over the radio after his accident.
09:01: The FIA declares the race result at the conclusion of the 44th lap, while word trickles in that a second car arrived on the scene at Adrian Sutil’s accident.
Headline image via XPB Images