--
 
How to buy a classic motorcycle in SA?

'There are a few things you need to consider,’ writes bike guru Dries Van der Walt.

Top family cars in SA

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has gone from a 'SpeedQueen' to a supermom. Check out her list of top family cars.

Bianchi family to sue FIA and Marussia over Jules' death

2016-05-26 11:41

LEGAL ACTION: Jules Bianchi's family are planning to sue the FIA, Marussia and the Formula 1 Group due to their involvement in the driver's horrific crash in 2014. Image: Instagram

Monaco - The family of late Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi are planning legal action against the FIA, the Marussia team and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula 1 Group, according to a statement published by the family's lawyers.

Bianchi died in July 2015 at the age of 25, nine months after being placed in a medically induced coma following a horror crash at the 2014 Japanese GP.

Bianchi's accident at Suzuka occurred at the end of the race in rainy, gloomy conditions, when his Marussia car slid off track and hit a crane picking up the Sauber of German driver Adrian Sutil, who had crashed at the same spot one lap earlier.

Legal action

The statement released by Stewarts Law read: "The family of F1 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 GP 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."

'Death was avoidable'

Stewarts Law partner Julian Chamberlayne, who is representing Bianchi's family said: "Jules Bianchi's death was avoidable. The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in F1 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."

'Unanswered questions'

Jules' father, Philippe Bianchi, said in the statement: "We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son's crash at the Japanese GP 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."

'FIA are indeed liable'

In August 2015, Wheels24 reported that ex-F1 doctor Gary Harstein said there should have been "no racing" occurring at Japanese track Suzuka at the time of Bianchi's crash as the helicopter was grounded and the estimated evacuation time to hospital was more than 30 minutes.

Hartstein said at the time that the FIA could even be held liable for Bianchi's death.

"I expect that the Bianchis have been told that. I believe they (the FIA) are indeed liable."

Hartstein continued: "And his (Piette's) total lack of knowledge or experience in trauma care places them at risk every time they're out" on track."

French driver Romain Grosjean, who drives for the Haas team, is wearing a special helmet featuring graphics of Bianchi during this weekend's (May 29) race.

Grosjean said: "I remember him fondly, I want Jules to always be with us, and to be a part of our big family."


Inside Wheels24

F1's fate will be determined by billion-dollar deal

American media mogul John Malone is poised to become Formula 1's new owner.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.