HOLDING THUMBS: The Mie General Hospital in Japan where Jules Bianchi is fighting for his life after sustaining serious head injuries during the 2014 Suzuka GP on Sunday. Image: AFP / Josep Lagos
SUZUKA, Japan - The collective world of Formula 1 had a sleepless night after the 2014 Japanese Formula 1 GP on Sunday as it worries about critically injured Jules Bianchi.
After the likeable and talented Frenchman had brain surgery in the Mie hospital after his Suzuka crash into a recovery tractor, specialist media reports claimed his condition was stabilising and he was breathing unaided.
The Marussia driver's father Philippe, en route to his son's bedside, told French TV: "Jules is in a bad state, Emergency surgery was performed because of a haematoma in his head. It will take 24 hours until we know more."
NEWSFLASH: Contrary to earlier information, Bianchi is NOT breathing naturally. He is in fact on artificial respiration. Further updates will, news media were told, come only from the family.
But French radio RMC reported that 25-year-old Bianchi's condition subsequently deteriorated after the four-hour surgery, requiring a second operation in the middle of the night to stop bleeding. The report also claimed Bianchi is now being artificially ventilated.
Former F1 driver Alex Wurz, new president of the safety-orienatted GP Drivers' association, told Austrian television he had little information about Bianchi's condition but Germany's Auto Motor and Sport claimed the impact was so strong it caused the recovery vehicle to drop Sutil's Sauber.
Wurz added: "We've heard he crashed into this towing vehicle and that the roll-bar was destroyed. Very shortly after the collision he was still conscious but then he became unconscious. All the time he was breathing alone and it was not necessary to resuscitate him.
"Whether this is good or bad news, I cannot judge - I'm not an expert."
Mfundo Molefe said: The whole issue of the safety car as to when it comes out or doesn't has been politicised in my opinion. I remember a few races ago when Lewis asked why it had not come out as there were stewards that had to run across the road after an accident. He made an example of a steward that died at Kyalami and said one day someone will be seriously injured. Yesterday was that day. I am really shocked at the decisions of the FIA nowadays.
Gary Hartstein, F1's former doctor and now an outspoken blogger, said that if it was true that Bianchi was breathing unaided, it was "really superb news".
Hartstein said: "What is significant in the absence of other specific medical information is that this indicates how confident his surgeons and intensivists are that his neurological status is sufficiently stable to allow him that 'luxury'."
'IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE A DIAGNOSIS'
French media report that Bianchi's family has requested that no further official information be issued for the time being.
The L'Equipe daily quoted a French neurosurgeon as saying: "It is impossible at the moment to make a diagnosis. It is too early. In the coming days there will be a process of monitoring in order to make a reliable forecast."
Bianchi is under contract to Ferrari's driver 'academy' and a spokesman for the Italian team said at the Mie Hospital late on Sunday: "There will be no official statement tonight in order to respect the wishes of the family."Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.