Jules Bianchi's death top of F1 drivers' thoughts at Hungarian GP

Jules Bianchi's death will overshadow the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, according to many Formula 1 drivers, with several admitting their first experience of racing tragedy had changed their mindset

Jules Bianchi's death top of F1 drivers' thoughts at Hungarian GP

The 25-year-old died last Friday, nine months after his horrific accident in the Japanese Grand Prix, and a large number of current F1 racers attended his funeral on Tuesday.

Motorsport's tributes to Jules Bianchi

Bianchi was the first F1 driver to die as a result of injuries sustained in a grand prix since Ayrton Senna in 1994, and Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat said it had prompted a period of reflection.

"For 21 years we were away from death and now it has struck," he said.

"Personally, what I feel is that I started to appreciate my life more.

"I always have had a lot of respect for the other drivers but now I think that we have even more respect for one another and for what we do. I also hope that other drivers have this feeling."

OBITUARY - Jules Bianchi: 1989-2015

The Russian's team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, admitted that he had been impatient with older drivers' safety pushes earlier in his career but was now more measured.

"The sport had developed a lot and safety had come a long way. Along with [fatalities] not happening for a long time, you forget about it," he said.

"I remember even when I first got to F1, they talked about safety a lot in the GPDA meetings.

"The older drivers would pick out things around the track, like the angle of a barrier being bad if we punctured a tyre and went off there, and as a younger driver you think 'that would never happen, let's just get on with it and race'.

"At least now we know there's never going to be that situation again, they're never going to let the race go on like that in those conditions with a tractor on the track.

"We just have to keep looking ahead and make sure there's not going to be another obstacle like that."

Jenson Button added that the atmosphere between the drivers at Bianchi's funeral showed their relationship was stronger than it might seem.

"As drivers these days, it's very different to the seventies or eighties or even nineties where they used to hang out a lot more," he said.

"Now from the outside we don't show as much emotion between drivers but Tuesday showed that there is a lot of emotion between drivers, not just respect - but we are a band of brothers doing a crazy sport."

DRIVERS' REFLECTIONS ON BIANCHI

F1 drivers shared more of their personal memories of Bianchi during the Hungarian GP build-up on Thursday. Below is a selection.

FERNANDO ALONSO

"We all know that he had a bright future, even the Ferrari seat maybe was a strong possibility.

"Outside the track I spent time with him a lot in Maranello for three years. I spent one week in Lanzarote training camp with Ferrari in 2012 and we were room-mates on the training camp so a lot of time together.

"It's the first loss in my whole career. We shared the track together and now he is not here anymore so this will always be in my heart."

PASTOR MALDONADO

"It's very sad. We were quite close, we shared managers, we shared many things together, good moments, wonderful moments together. It's shocking.

"But it's life. We need to be focused on the weekend now and do our best to get a wonderful result in his memory. We miss him and we will miss him forever."

Bianchi's career milestones in pictures

SERGIO PEREZ

"We see each other every 15 days, so we spend a lot of time together. Not to see him ever again, it really shocks you. It's very hard for all of us. It could be your family [mourning].

"It is difficult for his family but his family is our family now, we want to support them as much as we can.

"I spent the most time with him when we both did the Ferrari Academy. You could see he was a very special driver, a special person who everyone seemed to like.

"He was humble and left a big impact on the world.

"Jules was a very special driver who didn't have the opportunity to show what he could do in F1."

FELIPE NASR

"I was always a few years behind him, but you could see he had all the ingredients to be a very good driver and to fight for something bigger in the future.

"You could see the guy was special, not only as a person - he had a good heart inside of him - but all his [successes] in all the junior categories. He was a real reference for us. I have a lot of respect for him even though I didn't know him so well."

ROMAIN GROSJEAN

"He was a much better driver in a go-kart than I was. He won everywhere.

"This week, all our thoughts are with him. I will never forget."

FELIPE MASSA

"Jules was a great friend. When I met him, he was still racing go-karts.

"A fantastic boy, very nice, very humble and an amazing driver.

"Unfortunately, in F1 he didn't have an opportunity to race a competitive car and show his style.

"Finishing in the points in Monaco, with car he was driving, was an amazing thing.

"He was the best go-kart driver I saw. It was amazing the way he drove them."

ROBERTO MERHI

"The first time I met Jules was in 2002 in a karting race. After that, I followed him closely as we used to race together. He was always the reference as he was always the quickest.

"He was the biggest talent I saw in motorsport. He won the [2009 Formula 3 Euro Series] title with so many good drivers on track and he won it easily. It shows how good he was."

NICO HULKENBERG

"He was my team-mate twice and I remember in 2008, I was in my second year in F3, I was supposed to win the championship and he came in as a rookie.

"In Mugello, I started from pole, he was second or third. After the first corner, I'm leading, him second and seeing him pushing hard showed how competitive he was. He was so hungry for success.

"Outside the track, he was a great guy, a lot of fun, we had some great moments together."

LEWIS HAMILTON

"I couldn't say that I was really a friend of Jules, I didn't really know him that well.

"I was just stood outside [the funeral] and every camera crew asks about it and it feels awkward to talk about it, because we are here today and we are healthy, and a great, gifted, young, talented individual is not with us."

shares
comments
Hamilton open to closed cockpits in Formula 1 after Bianchi's death

Previous article

Hamilton open to closed cockpits in Formula 1 after Bianchi's death

Next article

Raikkonen hasn't lost it, says Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Vettel

Raikkonen hasn't lost it, says Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Vettel
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021