Jules Bianchi's family to sue Marussia, FIA and Formula 1 over his death after claiming it was 'avoidable'

Bianchi suffered fatal head injuries at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix and died after nine months in a coma

Jack de Menezes
Thursday 26 May 2016 14:37
In May 2014 he became the first driver to score points for the Marussia team, securing 9th place at the Monaco Grand Prix
In May 2014 he became the first driver to score points for the Marussia team, securing 9th place at the Monaco Grand Prix

The family of the late Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi are taking legal action against Marussia, the FIA and Formula 1 following his death in July last year after suffering serious head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Bianchi, 25, suffered fatal head injuries after sliding off-track in heavy rain and colliding with a recovery vehicle at high speed. The Frenchman spent nine months in a coma, and passed away on 17 July 2015, becoming the first driver to suffer a fatal accident in Formula 1 since Ayrton Senna’s death in 1994.

British law firm Stewarts Law are acting for the Bianchi family, and have confirmed that they plan to sue his team, Marussia, as well as the FIA and the Formula One Group, owned by Bernie Ecclestone.

It’s claimed that errors in the "planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race" contributed to Bianchi’s death, with the Suzuka race taking place in “dangerous conditions during the typhoon season in Japan", according to lawyer Julian Chamberlayne.

He added: “Jules Bianchi's death was avoidable.”

His father Philippe Bianchi, who gave updates to the media during Bianchi’s time in a coma, said that the case was in order to find the “truth” about why the talented driver lost his life due to the accident.

"We seek justice for Jules and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son's crash,” said Philippe Bianchi.

"We have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules' accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made."

Chamberlayne also explained that the Bianchi family do not accept that their son was responsible for the accident, and claim that a series of errors led to the Ferrari Driver Academy product suffering the crash which proved to be fatal.

"The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula One but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules' death,” said Chamberlayne.

"It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules.

Bianchi lost control of his car and hit the rear of a tractor crane 

"The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings.

"This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first.

"If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today."

Bianchi (L) and his father pose together in 2006 

Bianchi was competing for Marussia – now Manor F1 – at Suzuka in the Japanese Grand Prix when he went off the track in extreme weather conditions. After Adrian Sutil went off at the same corner, a recovery crane had driven onto the edge of the track to drag the stricken Sauber to safety, but Bianchi was seen to lose control of his car and hit the underside of the vehicle at high speed, having left the track at 132mph despite the double-waved yellow flags, according to the FIA report.

The report adds that Bianchi hit the 6.8 tonne vehicle at 78 mph, suffering a peak impact of 254G with the brunt of the force being taken by Biacnhi’s helmet.

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