FIA removes No. 17 from Formula 1 grid to honor Jules Bianchi (Update)
Since the car numbers are personally chosen by drivers in Formula 1, FIA president Jean Todt has announced that in order to honor late Jules Bianchi, his car number 17 will be taken off the grid in the future of the sport.
Meanwhile, the F1 driver’s funeral will be conducted today (July 21) at Nice, France. Many Marussia team members (now called as Manor F1), Jean Todt and his son Nicolas Todt who was also Bianchi’s manager, are expected to pay respect in person.
Original article dated July 18, 2015:
Today is indeed a very sad day for the motorsport fraternity and fans throughout the world as Jules Bianchi, a 25-year old F1 driver who had been battling for life since his Japanese GP crash last October succumbed to his injuries.
Bianchi who lost control of his Marussia under extremely wet conditions at Japanese GP 2014, hit a recovery vehicle which was carrying Adrain Sutil’s Sauber off the track premises. The brutal high speed collision left the budding French driver with severe head injuries due to which he never regained consciousness.
Last night, the driver passed away at a hospital in Nice, France, with his family members near him. In a statement his family said, “Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end”.
It’s to be noted that Jules Bianchi is the first F1 driver to pass away due to an on-track accident after the mighty Aryton Senna’s sad demise at Imola (San Marino GP) on May 1, 1994. The Bianchi mishap had triggered a new round of safety measures regarding deployment of recovery vehicles under yellow flag situations.
Meanwhile, F1 legend Michael Schumacher who suffered a severe head injury due to a skiing accident in French Alps back in December 2013 is currently undergoing recovery at his Switzerland residence. Status of his current health condition is kept highly confidential.