Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Dane Hansen
It is with a very heavy heart that I must report the passing of a phenomenal talent, and an even greater human being, Jules Bianchi. With hands that feel like lead, it’s difficult to remain composed while writing this. Where do you begin? How do words make a good compromise for feelings? How do you explain somebody’s life in black and white? This won’t be a piece filled with creative flare. This is a tribute to one of my favourite names in motorsport, Jules Bianchi.
On the 3 August 1989, Jules Bianchi was born in Nice, France. Motorsport was a vital strand in Bianchi’s DNA. His grandfather was a Formula One driver in the fifties and sixties and even won the 24 Heurs du Mans in 1968. As a boy, Bianchi’s talent was quickly realised.
Managed by FIA president’s son Nicolas Todt, Jules was in safe hands to propel himself high into the stratosphere of motorsport — although his talent alone was distinct enough to reach fantastic success. In 2007, the young Frenchman exited Karting to join the French Formula Renault 2.0 where he was made champion with five wins to his name. He soon joined the ART Formula 3 Euro series where he developed his already avid skills as a driver.
His rise up the ranks was steady and quick as he soon joined F1 support series, GP2, and lastly formula Renault 3.5 before joining the pinnacle of motorsport. In 2013, Jules made his race debut for Marussia at the Australian Grand Prix. He out-qualified his then teammate Max Chilton, by almost a whole second. In a car that was by no means quick at all, Jules tore through the field to finish 15th on debut. “Who is this guy?!” the world exclaimed.
A little over a year later he achieved what was thought to be near impossible. With the absence of a French Grand Prix, young Bianchi sought to find success in Monaco (close enough to be a French Grand Prix and a second home for him being so close to Nice). After a tattered race in Monaco, he managed to bring the car home in ninth which awarded his struggling team with two points.
He did this after racing for two hours on what is arguably Formula One’s toughest circuit, Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo. John Booth, team principle of Marussia exclaimed recently that the team was heading for the doldrums. Its lack of success would lead them to demise, yet with Bianchi’s extraordinary efforts, the Frenchman was the key figure to have saved the team with his valuable results.
Just five months later, the Formula One circus traveled to Japan for the 15th round of the 2014 season. The weekend was a recipe for disaster. With a typhoon fast approaching, race day was riddled with sheets of rain, accidents, yellow flags and darkness.
The drivers were no match for this unstoppable force of nature. Under double-waved yellow flags (which requires drivers to slow down considerably and be ready to stop), Jules’s car came off track, possibly aquaplaning and collided with the rear of a tractor that was there to collect Adrian Sutil’s car.
It had gone off at the Dunlop Curve and was the reason for the double-waved yellows.
The young driver suffered a severe head injury, Diffuse Axonal brain injury to be precise. Doctors were befuddled how he even survived an impact of such violence and ferocity. His chance of waking up from his coma was thought to be less than 10%. Recovery even less.
Just days ago, Jules’s parents, Phillipe and Christine, said that prior to their son’s accident, he had spoken of Michael Schumacher’s life changing ski crash. He told his parents that if he were to have such an injury, and that if his only disability were to be that he could never drive or race again, that pain alone would be too great for him to bear. He had also said before, “If I don’t become a world champion, I’d be happy even if I died trying.”
It is something quite magical how once in a while you will either meet or at least know of a person whose passion is entrenched so deeply within them, that they become their passion. Jules was fueled by this. Driven, and completed by it.
I, along with everyone else who still loves and adores him, hope that he had experienced life’s greatest wonders and curiosities of compassion, empathy, wonder, and mostly the warmth of love. As friends, family, fans and now mourners, we cannot forget how overwhelmingly powerful the gift of life and health is. Life, is without question the greatest force of nature, be it with or without breath.
“These things bring you to reality as to how fragile you are; at the same moment you are doing something that nobody else is able to do. The same moment that you are seen as the best, the fastest and somebody that cannot be touched, you are enormously fragile. Because in a split second, it’s gone. These two extremes are feelings that you don’t get every day. These are all things which contribute to -how can I say?- knowing yourself deeper and deeper. These are the things that keep me going” – Ayrton Senna
Au revoir mon ami, Jules.
We love and miss you.
From all your fans and admirers.