Formula One: Father 'less optimistic' about Jules Bianchi recovering

Jules Bianchi suffered severe head injuries in a Japanese Grand Prix crash last October.
Jules Bianchi suffered severe head injuries in a Japanese Grand Prix crash last October. PHOTO: AFP

NICE (Reuters) - The father of French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi says he is "less optimistic" that his son will recover from the severe head injuries he suffered in a Japanese Grand Prix crash last October.

Bianchi, 25, has been in a coma since the accident at Suzuka and is now in hospital in Nice, near his parents' home in the south of France.

"In general, progress needs to be made in the first six months," Philippe Bianchi told France Info radio on Monday. "And now it's been nine months and Jules has still not woken up and there is no significant progress.

"As time goes by, it makes me less optimistic than I might have been two or three months after the accident when one might have hoped for a better outcome," he added.


Bianchi, who crashed his Marussia into a recovery tractor in wet conditions and fading light, suffered the most serious F1 race injury since Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna died at Imola in 1994.

An International Automobile Federation (FIA) report said in December the Frenchman, who had scored the team's first points in Monaco earlier in the year, had not slowed sufficiently under warning flags before crashing.

The report found that Bianchi's car hit the tractor at 126 kph and said medical services were not at fault in their handling of the aftermath.

Bianchi's father said in May the family had not given up hope of a miracle but recognised they had to be prepared for the worst. "It's hard to get up in the morning while telling yourself that you're not sure whether your son is going to live and every day is like that," said Philippe Bianchi.

He said the two had spoken after Michael Schumacher's accident at the end of 2013 about what they would want in a similar situation.

"If he were to have severe handicaps, we are convinced that is not at all what Jules would want," said his father.

"We talked about it. He told us that if one day he had an accident like Michael Schumacher's, even if his only handicap was not being able to drive, he would have a lot of difficulty living with it. Because it was his life."