Formula One: Bianchi family in Hungary for silent tribute ahead of race

F1 supporters hold a banner in memoriam of former French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi during the first practice session of the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit, near Budapest, Hungary on July 24, 2015.
F1 supporters hold a banner in memoriam of former French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi during the first practice session of the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit, near Budapest, Hungary on July 24, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

BUDAPEST (REUTERS) - Jules Bianchi's family arrived at the Hungarian Grand Prix circuit on Sunday, as Formula One prepared for a silent tribute to the late French driver.

Formula One sources said eight members of the family - including Bianchi's mother, father, brother and sister - were attending the race after the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone sent a plane to take them from Nice.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) and organisers said a minute's silence would be held on the grid 15 minutes before the start.

Bianchi's funeral was held in Nice on Tuesday, with drivers including Formula One champions past and present attending, after he died of injuries sustained in last October's Japanese Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old had been in a coma since he suffered severe head injuries when his Marussia car skidded off the track at Suzuka and hit a recovery tractor.

He was the first Formula One driver to die of injuries suffered over a race weekend since Brazilian Ayrton Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger were killed in separate crashes at Imola in 1994.

The Formula One teams and drivers have been paying tribute to him in Hungary, the last race before the August break, with "Ciao Jules", #JB17 and "Jules Forever" stickers on cars and helmets.

The FIA has also announced that Bianchi's racing number, 17, has been retired from the championship and will not be available to any other driver.

"Jules was universally liked in the paddock and the support of everybody to the team has been fantastic," Manor Marussia chief executive Graeme Lowdon said on Friday.

"It's touched an awful lot of people and I think Jules' family have really carried themselves in an incredible way, really incredible, in a situation that I couldn't really comprehend."