Jules Bianchi died on Friday 19th July 2015. The French Formula 1 driver was 25 years old.
He had been in a coma since crashing in to a recovery vehicle at Suzuka during the Japanese Grand Prix, in 2014.
This was the first death in Formula 1 since the death of Ayrton Senna.
Ayrton Senna has been heralded for decades as one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time. He died in a crash during the San Moreno Grand Prix at Imola, Italy on 1st July 1994. Roland Ratzenberger died in a crash during the qualifying round the day before.
I assume any table would show Senna’s name above Vettel.
With the way that Senna’s career had influenced the sport equaling his record of wins is likely to always be an emotional time. However this was more poignant following the funeral of Jules Bianchi on the 21st of July.
Jules Bianchi was sponsored by Ferrari in their Young Drivers program. He had been predicted to join their Formula 1 team in the near future. Vettel referenced this in has radio message during his cool down lap today after victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Jules started his driving career at 3 in karting, his father owned the track. He was the reigning French Karting Champion when he moved in to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2007, in which he was Champion in his first season with 11 podium finishes out of 13 races,
Tipped as a star of the future Jules, in 2008 he won the Masters of Formula 3 and was placed third in the Formula 3 Euro Series. He continued to drive competitively in Formula 3 Euro Series, GP2 and Formula Renault 3.0 & 3.5 until 2012.
Jules’ Formula 1 career started in 2009 when he tested for Ferrari in December of that year. In 2011 he became Test Drive for Ferrari and the following year was named as their Reserve Driver. In 2012 he became the Test Driver and Reserve Driver for Force India while still under contract with Ferrari.
2013 saw Jules join the top drivers when he became the Second Driver for Marussia, he finished 13th in his first outing at the Malaysian Grand Prix in a car many considered to be uncompetative. In 2014 Jules finished 9th at the Monaco Grand Prix winning his first Championship Points and the team’s first Constructor’s points.
Sadly his rising career was ended with that fatal crash at Susuka, Japan. There had been concerns expressed by many, including Felipe Massa who reported the track was dangerous before the Safety Car was used during Lap 9. Adrian Sutil aquaplaned off the track in Lap 40. During Lap 41 Jules Bianchi slipped on the flooded track hitting the rescue car that was attending the earlier accident.
Jules suffered a fractured skull, underwent life-saving operation later that day but never regained consciousness.
There are two videos below. The first the dedication of the race to Jules Bianchi, including members of his family joining the race drivers on the track. The second is footage of Sebastian Vettel during his cool down lap where the dedication of the win was given to Jules.