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Jules Bianchi's family takes legal action against FIA, FOM and Marussia F1 team

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Jules Bianchi's family takes legal action against FIA, FOM and Marussia F1 team
May 26, 2016, 11:37 AM

In a dramatic development during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, the family of Jules Bianchi has started legal action against the FIA, Formula One M...

In a dramatic development during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, the family of Jules Bianchi has started legal action against the FIA, Formula One Management and the now defunct Marussia team over his death, following his crash in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

The family wants answers about the decisions that were made that day, from the decision to go ahead with the race despite discussions about postponement, to the decisions around the operation of a mobile crane operating at the side of the track.

Bianchi died in July 2015, nine months after the accident at Suzuka, which occurred when he collided with a mobile crane that had been attempting to recover the stricken Sauber of Adrian Sutil.

 Jules Bianchi

An official 396-page FIA report, produced by the governing body’s accident panel, came to a number of conclusions, one of which was that Bianchi had failed to slow sufficiently in the wet conditions as he approached the corner where marshals were attempting to move Sutil’s car under double waved yellow flags.

But the Frenchman’s family does not agree that he was to blame for the crash and has decided to pursue their case through the British courts.

Echoing language used by Hillsborough campaigners, who recently were given justice after 27 years for the 96 fans who died at the football ground, Bianchi's father Philippe said: “We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son’s crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.

 Jules Bianchi

“As a family, we have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules’ accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made.”

Julian Chamberlayne, a partner at Stewarts Law, who is representing the Bianchi family, gave further reasons for why they have decided to take action.

He said: “Jules Bianchi’s death was avoidable. The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula 1 but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules’ death.

 Jules Bianchi

“It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules. The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings.

"This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first. If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today.”

Bianchi suffered a diffuse axonal injury in the crash and after being extricated from the car, he was taken to hospital in Japan before he was eventually transferred to France, but he died shortly before last season’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

 Jules Bianchi

The Marussia driver was 25 years old at the time of his death and had achieved a best F1 result of ninth, which came at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix. He had won regularly in the junior categories, including the French Formula Renault 2.0 championship title in 2007 and the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2009.

He went on to win races in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 and was part of the Ferrari young driver programme as he raced in F1 with Marussia.

What do you make of the Bianchi family’s legal action? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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