BUNCH OF LIES! Marussia team officials have slammed media reports stating that injured driver Jules Bianchi and the team ignored safety messages before his horrific crash. Image: AFP / Toshifumi Kitamura
LONDON, England - The Marussia Formula 1 team has slammed media reports that Jules Bianchi and team officials ignored safety measures before the horrific crash that left the Frenchman fighting for his life in Japan.
The 25-year-old collided with a recovery vehicle during the Japanese F1 GP at Suzuka on October 5 2014.
Marussia issued a statement on Wednesday (Oct 14) vehemently denying that the driver had failed to decelerate when marshals waved "double yellow" flags after Adrian Sutil's Sauber skidded off at the same spot in heavy rain during the previous lap and angrily rejected claims made by Germany's Sport Bild magazine citing "new information" that team officials had ordered Bianchi to accelerate to stay ahead of Caterham's Marcus Ericsson.
The Marussia F1 team is shocked and angered by these allegations," Marussia said in a statement. "At a time when its driver is critically ill in hospital, and the team has made clear that its highest priority is consideration for Jules (Bianchi) and his family, it is distressed to have to respond to deeply upsetting rumours and inaccuracies in respect of the circumstances of his accident."
Bianchi was taken by ambulance to a hospital about 10km from the track and underwent emergency brain surgery. He is now in a 'stable but critical condition', with his family continuing to hold vigil at his bedside.
Marussia added: "These allegations are entirely false. Regarding Point 1, Jules did slow down under the double-waved yellow flags. That is an irrefutable fact, as proven by the telemetry data, which the team has provided to the International Automobile Federation.
"Regarding Point 2, an audio copy of the full radio transmission between Jules and the team, and a written transcript, were provided.
"It is quite clear from the transmission and the transcript that at no point during the period leading up to Jules' accident did the team urge Jules to drive faster or make any comments suggesting that he should do so."
Race director Charlie Whiting has said Bianchi did slow down as required, without specifying by how much. Waved yellow flags mean drivers must slow and be prepared to stop if necessary.
F1 is considering imposing automatic speed limits as a future safety measure to avoid a repeat of Bianchi's crash.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.