Jules Bianchi update: Driver out of artificial coma and has been moved back to France but still unconscious and in 'critical' condition

Bianchi suffered an axonal diffuse head injury during the Japanese Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Jules Bianchi is out of the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after his accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in October.

The Marussia driver, however, remains unconscious and in a 'critical' condition, according to a statement released by the family.

The improvement in his condition has also seen the 25-year-old repatriated to France, after being aeromedically flown from Japan to Nice on Tuesday night.

Bianchi suffered a diffuse axonal injury when he crashed, in wet conditions, into a recovery vehicle in Japan.

The statement, released by his parents Philippe and Christine, read:

"Almost seven weeks after Jules' accident at Suzuka Circuit, and following a challenging period of neurological intesive care, we are able to announce that Jules has made an important step.

"Jules is no longer in the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after the accident, however he is still unconscious. He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as 'critical'. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function.

"Jules' neurological condition remains stable. Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France. We are relieved, therefore, to confirm that Jules was transferred aeromedically last night from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi, Japan, to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), where he arrived just a short time ago. Jules is now in the intensive care unit of Professors Raucoules and Ichai, where his care well also be monitored by Professor Paquis, Head of Neurosurgery Service.

"We are thankful that the next phase of Jules' treatment can continue close to home, where he ca nbe surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends. We have nothing but praise for the outstanding care provided by the Mie Prefectural General Medical Centre since the accident.

"We owe the medical staff there an enormous debt of gratitude for everything they have done for Jules, and also for our family, during what is a very difficult time for us. In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Doctors Kamie and Yamamichi, and also to Mr Ogura, all part of the team of personnel caring for Jules in Japan."