Formula One: Jules Bianchi still unconscious, begins therapy

An Oct 2, 2014 picture shows Marussia driver Jules Bianchi of France smiling after a press conference for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, at which he was severely injured. -- PHOTO: AFP
An Oct 2, 2014 picture shows Marussia driver Jules Bianchi of France smiling after a press conference for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, at which he was severely injured. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi remains unconscious but has begun a programme of rehabilitation therapy, his family said in a statement on Tuesday.

Bianchi, who suffered the most serious F1 race injury since Ayrton Senna died in 1994 when he crashed into a recovery tractor in the wet at the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct 5, was transferred to a hospital in Nice last month.

"It was a significant and very comforting step for us to be able to bring Jules home to France last month, to continue his rehabilitation surrounded by his family and friends. This is very important for Jules and also for us," the statement said.

Bianchi has been treated in the Intensive Care Unit of Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU) and is now at the CHU's rehabilitation centre.

"Jules' neurological status remains unchanged; he is unconscious but able to breathe unaided," the family added.

"Whilst there is no significant information to report, we take a great deal of comfort from the fact that Jules continues to fight, as we knew he would."

An International Automobile Federation report said this month that Bianchi did not slow sufficiently under warning flags before crashing.

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