Jules Bianchi crash update: Family release statement to confirm Bianchi suffered a 'diffuse axonal injury' in Japanese Grand Prix crash

Marussia driver suffered a heavy impact to the head when he collided with a recovery vehicle towards the end of Sunday's race at Suzuka

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Jules Bianchi’s family have issued a statement explaining the severe head injury that the Marussia driver suffered in a horrifying collision with a recovery vehicle during the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

Bianchi has undergone a successful three-hour operation on his brain to alleviate a subdural haematoma at the Mie General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi. His parents, Philippe and Christine, are by his side are flying to Japan from their home in France, and the Bianchi family have released a statement to thank those who have sent their support to the 25-year-old driver.

The statement explains that Bianchi has suffered a “diffuse axonal injury” and confirms that he remains in a “critical but stable condition”, which FIA medical delegate Matteo Bonacini announced on Monday evening.

"This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation," the statement read.

"Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition. The medical professionals at the hospital are providing the very best treatment and care and we are grateful for everything they have done for Jules since his accident.

"We are also grateful for the presence of 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. They arrived at the hospital today and met with the medical personnel responsible for Jules’ treatment, in order to be fully informed of his clinical status so that they are able to advise the family. Professors Saillant and Frati acknowledge the excellent care being provided by the Mie General Medical Center and would like to thank their Japanese colleagues.

"The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate."

The statement comes on the same day that amateur footage captured from the grandstands at Suzuka revealed the impact of the crash.

A recovery truck was already tending to the scene of Adrian Sutil’s crash after the Sauber driver lost control of his car in the increasingly difficult conditions. As the truck reversed to pull Sutil’s car off the track, Bianchi’s car careered into the back of it at high speed, diving underneath it and cause Bianchi’s helmet to take the full brunt of the force of the horrifying collision.

Race officials had been criticised for their delay in deploying the safety car as well as not moving the race start time forward by four hours in order to avoid the worst of Sunday’s weather conditions. Typhoon Phanfone was known to be closing in on Suzuka, and the race had to start behind safety car conditions before being red flagged after a lap-and-a-half such was the ferocity of the rain.

Jules Bianchi collides with the recovery vehicle

Despite this, a track spokesman has claimed that the incident was down to “bad luck” rather than poor judgement from race officials.

“Officials raised ‘double yellow flags’ after the accident by Sutil, which means drivers had to slow down to the speed that they can immediately stop, but unfortunately Bianchi’s car aquaplaned right at the time and ran into the accident site, which was bad luck,” the Suzuka Circuit spokesman Masamichi Miyazaki said.

“Admittedly, rain was coming and the road was wet, but not heavy enough to halt the race, and I believe the race officials made the same judgment.”

A number of the F1 grid sent their support immediately after the race to Bianchi, with Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg among those to wish the Frenchman all the best in his recovery.

Marussia issued their own statement on Monday to thank fans for the outpouring of support, with #ForzaJules trending on Twitter worldwide since the accident.

They also asked for “patience and understanding” regarding Bianchi’s condition.