Formula One: Jules Bianchi's family still hoping for miracle as driver fights for life

MONACO (REUTERS) - Jules Bianchi is still fighting for his life and his family have not given up hope of a miracle, his father Philippe said as Formula One returned to the scene of the stricken French driver's greatest moment on Thursday.

The 25-year-old remains in a coma in a hospital in nearby Nice after suffering brain injuries in a horrific crash in Japan last October.

Before that accident, he had secured the first and only points ever scored by his struggling Marussia team when he finished ninth in his home race.

Those points secured tens of millions of prize money for the team, effectively ensuring its survival after going into administration.

"Jules is here...he's still here and he's fighting. I think all of these people thinking about him gives Jules strength," Philippe told Canal Plus television.

"I think he can feel it and it's beautiful, we're very touched by it."

Manor Marussia team members are wearing wristbands for Sunday's race with Bianchi's initials and racing number as well as P8 - the position he finished in before a penalty was applied.

Bianchi senior recognised however that the family had to be prepared ultimately for the worst.

"The first thing is that Jules is alive, that's the most important thing for us," he said.

"He's fighting with the weapons that he has. In neurological terms I'm not sure he is able to do much now.

"Seeing him fighting gives a lot of hope to his loved ones and it's important for us. While there is life, there is hope, even though after a while you are hoping for a miracle. Every day is difficult," he added.

"The situation is stagnant...when we get up every morning, we think of Jules' life but we think also of his death. We have to think about death because we are in a situation where we know a lot of things can happen."

Bianchi's father said the Oct 5 accident at Suzuka, when Bianchi's car hit a recovery tractor in fading light and wet conditions, had been a day when "we all stopped living".

"It was Jules's dream to score points in Formula One, and he did it with Marussia," said the father, recalling the scenes of joy in Monaco.

"It's not what Jules wants, being in a hospital bed. It's not his life, it's not what we want either. But we have to keep hope," he said.