Remembering #JB17 - Jules Bianchi, always in our hearts

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team. 08.07.2014.

It was on this day in 2015 that Jules Bianchi succumbed to the injuries he had sustained in a crash while competing in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. The 25-year-old had been one of the rising stars of Formula 1.

Having been champion in the French Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3 Euro Series, the Ferrari Driver Academy graduate subsequently raced in the GP2 Series and was runner-up in the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

The following year he moved into Formula 1 with the Marussia F1 Team. Despite their back row status, Bianchi managed to score the team's first (and only) two championship points in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix.

Later that season, Bianchi was taking part in a very wet race at Suzuka on October 5 when he lost control and spun off. He hit the back of a tractor that was on the side of the track removing another car. The impact resulted in severe head injuries from which he never regained consciousness.

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03 on the grid. 21.09.2014.

Bianchi was the first driver to die as a result of injuries sustained in an accident in a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 21 years, since Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994. The investigation into Bianchi's accident sparked a number of safety improvements such as the introduction of the Virtual Safety Car, and also contributed to the introduction of the Halo cockpit protection system.

Bianchi's death came on the 20th anniversary of the passing of five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio in 1995. The Argentine had taken part in 51 races between 1951 and 1957 with Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes and Ferrari before retiring from the sport. Fangio is remembered today as possibly the greatest of all Formula 1 drivers and was 84 when he passed away.

By comparison we lost Jules Bianchi far too soon. He had competed in just 34 races by the time of his accident. It was certainly long before he was able to prove what levels of achievement he would have been able to reach in his motor racing career.

However, like Fangio he will never be forgotten and his car number, 17, has been permanently retired in his honour. To mark today's tragic anniversary, Ferrari tweeted a picture of Bianchi, labelled simply: "Always in our hearts. #CiaoJules #JB17"

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.

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