Jules Bianchi crash: Formula One driver taken to hospital following tractor collision at Japanese Grand Prix

The Marussia driver was unconscious as he was taken to hospital following the incident

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The Independent Online

Formula One driver Jules Bianchi has undergone surgery after suffering a severe head injury in a crash during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Marussia driver left the track and collided with a recovery vehicle attending the Sauber of Adrian Sutil  who had crashed at the same corner a lap earlier.

The FIA said Bianchi was due to be moved to intensive care following the operation.

The 25-year-old was unconscious as he was driven to hospital following the incident during the rain-soaked race, which was stopped as a result of the crash.

"The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and is currently undergoing surgery," an FIA statement read.

"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."

All three drivers on the podium sent their wishes to Bianchi as everyone awaited an update on his condition, while race winner Lewis Hamilton admitted the weather had caused issues throughout.

Marussia driver Jules Bianchi was taken to hospital unconscious following a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix (PA)

FIA media delegate Matteo Bonciani confirmed Bianchi was rushed to hospital. "The driver is unconscious," Bonciani said.

"He has been sent to hospital by ambulance because the helicopter cannot go in these conditions. Further updates will follow. For the moment, we cannot say anything."

The running of the race had been under threat all week as Typhoon Phanfone approached Japan from the Pacific Ocean and the event had already been red-flagged after just two laps after the race began under safety car conditions.

The race continued after the weather cleared up but the rain began to fall in the closing stages ahead of both Sutil and Bianchi's accidents.

Sutil, who appeared to be unhurt in his accident, questioned why a safety car had not been deployed to slow down drivers as his car was moved by the truck.

"The car came out to rescue my car and then it all happened," he said.

Jules Bianchi and Romain Grosjean battle for position during the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit (Getty Images/AsiaPac)

"With respect to this corner I think everyone knows this is one of the most tricky corners and when it is getting late and the rain increases, let's say when you have an accident there you should probably think about a safety car.

"It was quite difficult. In the end we got more rain and it was dark so visibility was getting less and less and this corner was a tricky one the whole way through.

"In the end, when it got dark, you couldn't see where the wet patches were and that is why I lost the car and it really surprised me. It was the same as what happened to me, he had aquaplaning but just one lap later.

"It hit him hard. That is all I can say. I have no information about how he is but I really hope for him that it is all okay and my thoughts are with him. I was just standing there, we know that it is serious at the moment."

After the race, Hamilton said: "Our first thoughts go to Jules - it overshadows everything else when one of our colleagues is injured and we are praying for him. Next to this, the race result doesn't seem significant at all."

Niki Lauda, who refused to drive in torrential rain at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, effectively handing James Hunt the title in the process, defended the decision to run this year's race.

He did however question why the start time had not been moved in anticipation of poor weather.

"Motor racing is dangerous," the three-time world champion said.

"We get used to it if nothing happens and then suddenly we're all surprised.

"But we always have to be aware that motor racing is very dangerous and this accident today is the coming together of various difficult things. One car goes off, the truck comes out and then the next car goes off. It was very unfortunate.

"In the end the rain was not the real issue of the race. There were safety cars put in and the race was run safe more or less to the end so it could have been run to the end without the accident.

"They started with the safety car and there was nothing wrong, you can't say anything was done wrong. It was started the most sensible way.

"They could have started earlier, there is no question about it. It would have been possible to start the race at one - in the end that would have been better."

Additional reporting by Press Association