DISASTER LOOMS: Marussia driver Jules Bianchi leads Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi during the 2014 Japanese GP. Bianchi crashed soon afterwards and is now on life-support in hospital. Image: AFP / Toru Yamanaka
YOKKAICHI, Japan - French Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi remains "critical" here after sustaining severe head injuries in a crash during the 2014 Japanese F1 GP on Sunday; the sport is praying for him to pull through.
The 25-year-old's Marussia team issued a statement on Monday giving no medical details but acknowledging a "huge outpouring of support and affection for Jules and the team at this very difficult time".
They said any update about his condition would be guided by the wishes of his family but said nothing about him being on life-support.
The British-based team added: "Together with Jules' care, they will remain our highest priority. Therefore, we would ask for patience and understanding with regard to further medical updates."
'PRAYING FOR HIM'
French media said Bianchi remained critical and was under artificial respiration, contrary to reports on Sunday evening that suggested he was breathing unassisted after surgery to remove a haematoma from his skull.
Sky Sports TV reported from the Mie General Hospital in Yokkaichi, near Suzuka, that his family was expected to arrive from France shortly.
Bianchi was injured when he aquaplaned off the wet track and hit a recovery tractor that had been deployed to remove Adrian Sutil's Sauber which had slid off the track at the same spot the previous lap.
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, who leads the Drivers' championship for Mercedes, said he was praying for the Frenchman: "Our first thoughts go to Jules - it overshadows everything else when one of our colleagues is injured and we are praying for him. Next to this, the race result doesn't seem significant at all."
SEVERE HEAD INJURY
The governing International Automobile Federation said the driver had been extracted unconscious from the car and taken to hospital where a scan revealed a severe head injury. He underwent immediate surgery. Earlier reports said he was conscious and talking at that time.
Marussia said senior team officials would stay at the hospital to support the driver, along with Ferrari representatives.
While racing for a struggling tail-end team, for which Bianchi scored first points this season, the Frenchman also has a contract with Ferrari as a test driver. He's highly regarded and a popular figure in the paddock,
The Nice (France)-born driver finished an impressive ninth in Monaco in May 2013 and was tipped as a talent for the future - possibly with Ferrari.
He is managed by Nicolas Todt, son of federation president and former Ferrari team principal Jean, whose other drivers include Felipe Massa and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.