Formula 1 is safe despite Jules Bianchi's death, says Bernie Ecclestone
"He was very talented, so it’s a great loss," says Ecclestone in tribute to Jules Bianchi
Last Updated: 20/07/15 7:22am
Bernie Ecclestone has told Sky Sports News HQ Formula 1 is safe - and that he will press ahead with plans to make cars faster and more challenging - despite Jules Bianchi's death.
The Formula 1 supremo says Bianchi was a great talent lost to the sport but he believes the Frenchman would have wanted the sport to continue to evolve.
Bianchi, 25, died in hospital in Nice on Friday after nine months in a coma following his horrific accident at the Japanese Grand Prix last October. His funeral will be held in the southern French city, Bianchi's hometown, on Tuesday.
“First he was a very, very, very nice person,” Ecclestone told Sky Sports News HQ.
“Secondly, he was very talented, so it’s a great loss, a loss to the sport and obviously a big loss to his parents.”
The Marussia driver, popular and tipped for a stellar future after coming through the Ferrari academy, skidded off the track in wet conditions and fading light while yellow warning flags were being waved to tell drivers to slow down.
He smashed into a recovery tractor that was removing the crashed Sauber of Adrian Sutil.
“The vehicle that he hit shouldn’t have been there,” said Ecclestone.
“If that hadn't have been in the place that it was, he would have been in the same position as the other guy who went off and hit the tyre barrier.”
Bianchi was the first Formula 1 driver to die of injuries received in a race since Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994.
“Formula 1 is safe now, the cars are super safe, the circuit is safe, everything is good, as I say, if that truck hadn't have been there it wouldn’t have happened," Ecclestone said.
A number of safety measures have been introduced since the crash at Suzuka but drivers, teams and fans still want faster cars and Ecclestone sees no reason why plans to decrease laptimes by up to six seconds in 2017 shouldn't go ahead.
“That’s what they’ve been complaining about recently that perhaps we’ve got too safe and too clinical," he said.
Ecclestone also believes Bianchi would want the sport to remain as challenging as possible.
“Yes, exactly, he wouldn’t be complaining, no, no, no,” added the 84-year-old.
“We make it as safe as it is possible but obviously these guys driving as quick as they are… it’s safe but not safe.”
Ecclestone, who started out in Formula 1 in the 1950s and witnessed the sport at its deadliest over the next two decades, does not believe Bianchi’s death will have any effect on drivers when they return to the track for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“No, I think not, I think people forget these things. Whenever these things happen, you always believe it couldn’t happen to me, so I don’t think that is going to make any difference," he added.
“Everyone knows there is a danger and they live with it.”