F1’s Bianchi remains in intensive care, parents traveling to Japan

Jules Bianchi remains in critical condition after a crash Sunday in the Japanese Grand Prix. 

TOKYO — The parents of Formula One driver Jules Bianchi are traveling to Japan to see their son, who is in intensive care with a severe head injury after a crash during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old Bianchi is in critical condition at Mie General Medical Center after undergoing emergency surgery following Sunday’s crash into a trackside recovery crane.

Hospital officials declined to comment on Bianchi’s condition Monday and the Marussia team released a statement saying it will ”respect, and be guided by, the wishes of the Bianchi family” with regard to the release of information.

It is unclear when Bianchi’s parents, Philippe and Christine, are due to arrive in Japan.

Bianchi crashed on the 44th lap in Sunday’s rain-shortened race at the Suzuka circuit. His car went off at Turn 7, where Sauber driver Adrian Sutil had crashed two laps earlier.

According to a report issued by FIA, Bianchi lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor that was being used to remove Sutil’s car.

Bianchi was unconscious when he was taken from Suzuka to the hospital.

Sunday’s race started at 3 p.m. local time. An approaching typhoon led to suggestions that the race would be pushed up to an earlier start, but it wasn’t.

At the time of the crash, rain was falling steadily and it was getting dark. Several drivers complained of not being able to see properly.

Bianchi underwent surgery on Sunday and was breathing on his own following it, according to a BBC report. 

The first nine laps of Sunday’s race were run behind a safety car and it started to rain heavily again near the end of the race.

FIA issued a statement on the crash, which read: ”On lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tire barrier on the outside of Turn 7. The marshals displayed double-waved yellow flags before the corner to warn the drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was dispatched 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, traveled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.”

The FIA went on to say once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were dispatched and the safety car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and ambulance.

Bianchi was then removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical center before being transferred by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the race, beating teammate Nico Rosberg, but said of the victory: "It is obviously a real anti-climax to hear one of our colleagues is seriously injured. That is the main worry."

In his second second of driving in Formula One, Bianchi was born into a family of racing drivers.

His grandfather Mauro was a three-times champion in the GT category while his great uncle Lucien competed in 19 grands prix from 1959-1968 and also won the 1968 Le Mans 24 Hour Race.

He scored a career-best ninth-place finish in Monaco this year, giving the back-of-the grid Marussia team its first points since the team’s debut in 2010.