- August 03, 1989
- July 17, 2015
- Not Active
Jules Bianchi was a racing driver from France who died on July 17, 2015, after injuries sustained during Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix nine months earlier. He's the last fatal victim in Formula One World Championship.
The season 2014 was his second full season in Formula One as a driver of Marussia F1 Team. Before an unfortunate accident in Japan, he recorded 34 F1 starts and scored two points.
Before stepping in to Formula One, he spent six season in lower formula competitions, always being among the front-runners. He was French Formula Renault champion and Formula 3 Euro Series champion, and also finished in top 3 in GP2 Series and Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
The grandson of Le Mans winner
Jules Lucien Andre Bianchi was born in Nice on August 3, 1989. He was a grandson of Mauro Bianchi, the winner of 1968 Le Mans 24 hours. His uncle Lucien was a Formula One driver, so it wasn’t a surprise when Jules became interested in autosport very early.
When he was an only three-year-old boy, Bianchi started to drive karting. Actually, it was very logical because Jules’ father was the owner of a kart track.
Bianchi progressed through the ranks of karting and when he was 18 years old, he switched to the French Formula Renault. Interestingly, his manager became Nicolas Todt, co-owner of GP2 Series and the son of Jean Todt, then one of the most important persons in Ferrari and later the president of FIA. Jules’ first season in the new competition was a perfect one after he won the title, winning five out of 13 races and having a total of 11 podiums.
Formula 3 Euro Series champion
His talent turned the attention of big guns and for the 2008 campaign, Bianchi signed with ART Grand Prix, the French team which is known as the perfect place for progress. He has competed in Formula 3 Euro Series and finished 3rd after he has won two races and other five podium finishes. The same year Bianchi won the title in the Masters of Formula 3, beating some well-known names like Nico Hulkenberg, Brendon Hartley, Sam Bird and Daniel Ricciardo.
The following year was even better. Jules Bianchi became the Formula 3 Euro Series champion. He won nine out of 20 races, had other three podiums and with 114 points claimed a trophy, finishing ahead of Christian Vietoris and Valtteri Bottas. The same year Bianchi appeared as a guest in the British Formula 3 Championship and Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
GP2 Series debut
He stayed with ART Grand Prix team in 2010, but this time driving in GP2 Series. In his first season in the series, Jules couldn’t take a win in any of 20 races but still was very good. He was 3rd in the Drivers’ championship, finishing behind Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez. After fine displays, Ferrari decided to secure Bianchi’s services for the following year and he became Scuderia’s test and reserve driver-
In 2011 GP2 Series, Bianchi repeated his result from the previous campaign, but this time, he managed to win one race, at Silverstone. The Frenchman at the end of the season finished only one point behind runner-up Luca Filippi while champion Romain Grosjean was more than 30 points ahead.
Ferrari sent Bianchi on loan
Ferrari opted to send Bianchi on loan to Force India team in 2012 and the talented driver appeared in nine Friday practices that year. In parallel, Bianchi had to keep his racing form so has competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. As a driver of Tech 1 Racing team, he scored three wins and eight podiums in 17 races and finished the season as a vice-champion, only four points behind a champion Robin Frijns.
F1 debut with Marussia
Finally, Jules Bianchi got a chance to test himself in Formula 1 racing in 2013 with Marussia. He arrived as a substitute for Luiz Razia. Driving an uncompetitive car, he couldn’t score points but still proved to be a reliable driver after he has finished 16 out of 19 races. He stayed with a Marussia for the following year and scored his first points, finishing 9th in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Later in the season, Bianchi struggled but still was faster than his teammate Max Chilton. By many, he was already seen as a Ferrari driver in 2015 after it was announced that Fernando Alonso will leave the most popular Formula 1 team. The future was looking bright for the Frenchman but something horrible had happened.
Hard crash in 2014 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka
During the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, under heavy rain and poor visibility, Bianchi crashed on lap 43. Jules collided with a tractor crane which was removing Adrian Sutil’s car. He was treated at the track and quickly was transferred to a nearby hospital. He was unconscious and in critical condition with severe head injuries. The following day it was confirmed that Bianchi suffered a diffuse axonal injury while his condition was described as a critical but stable.
Video - Jules Bianchi crash, 2014 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka
Following Bianchi's accident, the FIA began an investigation and also considered appropriate changes to safety procedures. The investigation report found that there was no single cause of Bianchi's accident. Instead, the contributing factors were found to include track conditions, car speed and the presence of a recovery vehicle on the circuit.
Jules lost the battle
Sadly, over the weeks Bianchi’s condition hasn’t improved. His family, colleagues, and fans were hoping but the doctors weren’t optimistic at all. In November, Jules was taken out of an artificial coma and was relocated to University hospital in his birth town of Nice. He still was unconscious and in a critical condition and sadly, on 17th of July 2015, Jules Bianchi left this world.He was the first Formula 1 driver killed by injuries sustained during a Grand Prix since Ayrton Senna in 1994.
His death Jules Bianchi was buried in Nice, on 21st of July. In the spring of 2016, his family announced a plan to take legal action against the FIA, Marussia team and Formula 1 Group led by Bernie Ecclestone.