AFTER THE CRASH: With Jules Bianchi in hospital his fellow F1 drivers linked arms in the pits at the following Russian F1 GP to send a message of support to their injured colleague as he fought for life. Image: AP / Valdrin Xhemaj
LONDON, England - Jules Bianchi's
racing number 17 has been retired from use in Formula 1 since the French driver’s
death, the sport's governing body has announced..
The International Automobile
Federation said on its website ojn Monday (July 20 2015): "As F1 car
numbers are now personally chosen by each driver the federation believes it to
be an appropriate gesture to retire Jules Bianchi's No.17.
“This number can no longer be used
for a car competing in the Formula 1 championship."
FUNERAL IN NICE
Bianchi died in hospital nine months
after sustaining severe head injuries in the October 2014 Japanese F1 GP. His
Marussia race car crashed into and under a heavy recovery tractor that was
moving another car away from a tyre wall.
Bianchi’s funeral will be in the
southern French city of Nice on Tuesday (July 21) with F1 then re-grouping in
Hungary for the 10th race of the season on Sunday (July 26).
The 2014 season was the first after
a rule change that allowed drivers to choose their car’s number; 17 was not
Bianchi's first choice. He had preferred 7, 27 or 77 but each was taken by a driver
ranked ahead of him according to the previous year's standings.
Since his crash the #JB17 hashtag
has become familiar on Twitter as an expression of support and affection for
the popular young driver.