The FIA may have buried for now any considerations over culpability for what happened to Jules Bianchi in Suzuka last year, but the phoenix from the ashes that is the Manor F1 team – will not let Jules be forgotten.
This weekend each member of the race team in Monaco will be wearing a red wrist band embossed with the words, ‘MONACO 2014. P8. #JB17.’
Bianchi’s performance at this race last year ensured the survival of the team due to his classified P8 in the race. The precious two points the Frenchman received for his gallant efforts, placed his team ahead of Caterham and Sauber in the season end constructors’ championship.
This meant that around $60m in performance payments was due to the revived Banbury based racing company from FOM, to be paid between March and November this year.
Investors were then found to finance the remaining budget which will see Manor F1 compete for the full 2015 FIA Formula One Championship.
This weekend in Monaco is likely to be one filled with emotion for John Booth, Graham Lowden and the crew who remain from 2014. It was less than 5 months from Bianchi’s incredible performance in the principality, to the desperate day in Japan; the result of which means the young French racing protégé remains to this day in a coma.
Will Stevens, recruited to drive for Manor this year, today paid tribute to Jules Bianchi. “He’s only just up the road, and if it wasn’t for the job Jules did here last year then the position of the team would be different now.
What he did last year for the team was huge, and we can only thank him for that”.
TJ13 has repeatedly highlighted the areas of potential negligence surrounding the 2014 Japanese GP and the officials culpable for decisions made that day.
But for this weekend, we should remember the utter joy Jules Bianchi expressed at the end of his first points scoring F1 race. It’s hard to think either Lewis or Nico will appreciate their race win on Sunday, to the same extent Bianchi and Manor cherish the P8 in Monaco last year.