Nice (France), July 18:
Formula One driver Jules Bianchi, 25, has died here in his hometown, nine months after suffering severe head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
The Frenchman, who was in a coma since crashing his Marussia car into a recovery vehicle in wet conditions in Suzuka on October 5 last year, died on Friday, BBC reported on Saturday.
His family said: “Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end.”
Marussia, now known as Manor, said the team was “devastated”.
Bianchi is the first F1 driver to die from injuries sustained in a Grand Prix since Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at Italy’s Imola circuit in 1994.
His family said: “We thank Jules’s colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times.
“Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.”
Bianchi made his F1 debut with Marussia in 2013 and was also a member of the Ferrari young driver academy after previously working as a test driver for the team.
The Manor team tweeted: “We are devastated to lose Jules after such a hard-fought battle. It was a privilege to have him race for our team.”
The accident happened when Bianchi’s car slid off the track and into a crane picking up German driver Adrian Sutil, who had crashed at the same spot one lap earlier. (IANS)