Jules Bianchi family to launch legal action against FIA, Marussia and FOM
By Paul Vinnell
Last Updated: 26/05/16 5:26pm
The family of Jules Bianchi is launching a legal action against the sport's world governing body the FIA, Marussia and Formula One Management following his fatal crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi died on July 17 last year, nine months after he crashed into a recovery vehicle at the rain-soaked Suzuka race. He was the first F1 driver to die as a result of injuries sustained at a race weekend in more than 20 years.
The statement released by Stewarts Law read: "The family of Formula One racing driver, Jules Bianchi, has today announced they plan to take legal action in England relating to the fatal head injuries Jules Bianchi sustained in a violent collision with a mobile crane at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, 2014.
"The letters (to the FIA, Marussia and Formula One Group) explain why the Bianchi family feel the actions of one or more of those parties, amongst others, may have contributed to Jules' fatal accident and invite them to accept that errors were made in the planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race which took place in dangerous conditions during the typhoon season in Japan."
An FIA investigation into the crash determined that a number of factors - the tricky conditions, Bianchi's speed, and the presence of a crane - all contributed to the accident.
Stewarts Law partner Julian Chamberlayne, who is representing the Bianchi family, said: "Jules Bianchi's death was avoidable. The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula One but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules' death.
"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."
Philippe Bianchi, father of Jules, 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.
"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."