Jules Bianchi: Late F1 driver's family sue over 'avoidable' death

Bianchi parents want 'justice for Jules'

The family of the late Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi are taking legal action following his death last year.

The Frenchman, 25, suffered fatal head injuries when his car collided with a mobile crane at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in October 2014.

British firm Stewarts Law, acting for the Bianchi family, are planning to sue the FIA, Bianchi's Marussia team and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Group.

"Jules Bianchi's death was avoidable," said lawyer Julian Chamberlayne.

The Bianchi family believe the actions of one or more of the three parties may have contributed to the crash.

They claim errors were made in the "planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race", which they argue "took place in dangerous conditions during the typhoon season in Japan".

Following the accident, an FIA accident panel charged with investigating the crash produced a 396-page report.

It concluded that Bianchi "did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control" and collided with a mobile crane while marshals were recovering Adrian Sutil's Sauber.

In a statement, Philippe added: "We seek justice for Jules and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son's crash.

"We have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules' accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made."

Bianchi died on 17 July 2015, nine months after he crashed into the recovery vehicle at Suzuka in what was his 34th F1 race.

He was the first F1 driver to die as a result of injuries sustained at a race weekend since Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola in 1994.

Chamberlayne added: "The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula One but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules' death.

"It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules.

"The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings.

"This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first.

"If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today."

The FIA has declined to comment.

Former Formula 1 driver John Watson told BBC Radio 5 live: "There is a liability on the driver and as it was established in the report the accident was the consequence of Bianchi going through that yellow flag zone in very wet conditions… and he lost control.

"The other aspect is the recovery vehicle was in the trajectory which resulted in Bianchi colliding with it. At the time that was the protocols that were in place."

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