Driver Jules Bianchi underwent surgery after suffering what Formula 1 racing officials said was a “severe head injury” Sunday in a crash in the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, Japan.
The Marussia driver, a 25-year-old from France, was airlifted to a hospital after he crashed into a tractor that was preparing to remove the car of Adrian Sutil, who had just spun off moments before on a track that was wet from Typhoon Phanfone. Not long after Bianchi crashed, the race was called. F1A issued a statement on Bianchi, saying:
On lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of Turn 7. The marshals displayed double waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was despatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guardrail. While this was being done the driver of car 17, Jules Bianchi, lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.
Once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were despatched and the Safety Car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and an ambulance.
The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital.
The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.
Mie General Hospital will issue an update as soon as further information becomes available.
Fellow drivers were stunned by the news about Bianchi:
Some drivers, the Telegraph.com correspondent reported, questioned why the safety car was not brought out with a tractor next to the circuit and whether, with daylight fading and the typhoon, the race should have been stopped. Daniel Johnson writes:
Sutil said: “It was quite difficult. In the end we got more rain and it was dark, so visibility was getting less and less and this corner was a tricky one the whole way through. In the end, when it got dark, you couldn’t see where the wet patches were and that is why I lost the car and it really surprised me.
“In respect of this corner everyone knows it is one of the trickiest one when it is getting late and the rain increases. If you have an accident there you should think about a safety car. It got a little bit dark in the end and maybe we should have stopped the race earlier.”
[Williams driver Felipe] Massa said: “We need to understand what has happened with Jules. I’m very worried. They finished too late the race. I was already screaming on the radio five laps before the safety car that there was too much water on the track.” Massa’s team manager, Rob Smedley, added they were the darkest conditions he had since in 15 years of being involved in Formula One.