Bianchi family to sue Formula One

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However, racing figureheads in Monaco for Sunday’s showpiece grand prix, led by Sir Jackie Stewart, criticised the lawsuit for going against the spirit of motor racing.

As well as suing Ecclestone, the Bianchis have named the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, and Jules’ former team Marussia in their multi-million-pound claim.

The action comes despite the FIA’s 396-page report into the accident at a rain-soaked Suzuka finding that Bianchi was at fault for travelling at 212km/h despite double yellow warning flags telling him to slow down to a speed where he could stop immediately.

Stewart, a triple world champion and pioneering safety campaigner for half a century, said: “It is very sad for his family and one can only feel great sympathy. But taking legal action is not the right path. Their distress will only be drawn out.

“All drivers know there are risks. This is not ping-pong. Motor racing is dangerous. There is always the chance of a freak accident. That has to be accepted.

“I really don’t want to be unsympathetic at all, but had he abided by the double yellow flags he would still be alive.”

Former McLaren star John Watson, who lost contemporaries during his career, said: “The guy lost his life. Sad, awful. But I don’t think this serves any purpose.”

Big money at stake

There is potentially a great deal of money at stake. The only known similar litigation followed the death of American driver Mark Donohue, whose tyre burst in practice for the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix. The Superior Court in Rhode Island awarded his family £6.5 million 11 years later, though that was appealed against and an undisclosed out-of-court settlement reached.

Bianchi lost control of his Marussia at 212km/h before crashing into a recovery tractor - which was at the side of the track to take away Adrian Sutil’s crashed Sauber - at a speed of 126km/h just 2.61 seconds later. He suffered a peak impact of 254G - the equivalent of dropping the car to the ground from 48 metres.

Bianchi died last July, having been in a coma for nine months, becoming the first Formula One driver to die of racing injuries since Ayrton Senna in 1994.

The family have employed Stewarts Law to fight the case and Julian Chamberlayne, a partner at the London law firm, said: “Jules Bianchi’s death was avoidable. The FIA report into this accident made recommendations to improve safety 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, while noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules. The Bianchi family are determined this legal process requires those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings.”

The Bianchis may question how long it took the FIA to take Bianchi to hospital, whether the truck presented an obvious danger and why the race continued as light faded.

Daily Mail

Motoring.co.za

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Original source: Bianchi family to sue Formula One

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