What started out as an intriguing weekend for Motorsport—the Japanese F1 Grand Prix was the only event of note—turned into one which is unlikely ever to be forgotten by F1 fans.
On Saturday, things started to look very interesting in Japan as Nico Rosberg took pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton as the battle between two teammates for the FIA World Drivers’ Championship continued to intensify. However, during the race proper on Sunday, Hamilton, having crashed in the dry on Saturday, was on the way to a stunning win in the wet as his sensational (and incredibly brave) overtaking manoeuvre around the outside of his teammate on the same corner at which he crashed the day before saw him cruising towards the chequered flag and a ten point lead in the Championship.
A Difficult Weekend for Motorsport—LWOS F1 Editorial
However, things took a sudden turn for the worse when Adrian Sutil crashed into the tyre barriers on lap 43, as the terrible conditions caused his car to “aquaplane.” Fortunately, the Sauber driver remained unhurt. Alas, that was not the end of the crashing as afterwards something truly tragic happened.
Twenty-five year old Marussia driver Jules Bianchi—who has certainly started to make a name for himself in Motorsport’s ultimate stratum—crashed into the recovery vehicle concentrating on Adrian Sutil’s car; the collision caused the race to be red-flagged and results were counted from the end of Lap 44.
Undoubtedly, the crash looked bad at the time, and some of people’s worst fears were confirmed as it was revealed that Bianchi had suffered serious head injuries. The ambulance vehicle was brought out and the Frenchman was rushed off to hospital, though not as quickly as was liked seeing that he couldn’t be flown there due to the weather conditions.
Rumours have been flying around social media, news websites and everywhere else on the internet, but Bianchi’s father revealed on French TV on Sunday night that his son was being treated in intensive care. We at lastwordonsports F1 would prefer not to speculate as to the goings on further, and will only be bringing you further news on the Marussia driver once we have been able to lay out the concrete facts.
Bianchi first came to my attention when he made his debut season for Marussia in 2013. He did not score any points that year, but it was clear that this young driver had something, considering some of the impressive results he put in in the incredibly weak Marussia car; he certainly was the better of their two drivers. In 2014 came the greatest moment of his short F1 career; his stunning ninth place in Monaco, and with it both his own and Marussia’s first points in F1. At that point, I really started to take an interest in the young Frenchman; as the occasional rumour of a future move to Ferrari came about, I started to visualise him as a future F1 great. Recently, when it was still at the rumour stage regarding Fernando Alonso’s move to McLaren, I began to voice my hope that Jules would be given a chance as his replacement. Now, all Motorsport fans can do is hope that firstly, he lives on; secondly, he lives on in good condition and finally, he can race again.
Formula 1 has seen many head injuries in the past: Stirling Moss infamously was in a coma for a month after crashing his Lotus at Goodwood in 1962; Michael Schumacher is still recovering head injuries sustained whilst skiing; Felipe Massa was in a life-threatening condition after having a spring from Rubens Barrichello’s car struck his helmet. Moss and Massa both raced again, and we can only hope that Bianchi will be able to continue his rise to the top in F1 once he recovers.
To add to the pain, it was revealed on Sunday evening that former F1 stalwart Andrea De Cesaris, who started 208 races in his fourteen year F1 career, has died in a motorbike accident in Rome aged 55. The McLaren F1 team, for whom De Cesaris drove for a year, have sent their condolences to his family, and all Motorsport fans are in mourning.
This weekend has been a very tough one for the sport of Formula 1 and all its fans. As the Championship moves onto the Russian Grand Prix it is unlikely that Bianchi will be present and it is certain that he will be in all the drivers’, teams’, officials’ and fans’ thoughts as the season goes on.
Forza Jules Bianchi and RIP Andrea De Cesaris.
For the latest in sports injury news, check out our friends at Sports Injury Alert.
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