In a very heartfelt and emotional press conference on Friday in Russia, Marussia president and sporting director Graeme Lowdon has thanked the Formula 1 community for its support in the wake of Jules Bianchi’s accident at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
During the final few laps of the race at Suzuka, Bianchi crashed into a recovery vehicle being used to remove another car, leaving him with severe head injuries. He remains in a critical but stable condition in Mie General Hospital.
Marussia took the decision to only run with one car in Russia this weekend, leaving Bianchi’s #17 car ready to race on the other side of the garage in support of the Frenchman.
Speaking to the media for the first time since last weekend’s race, Lowdon was quick to thank the F1 paddock for its support and love over the past few days.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult week for Formula 1 but it’s been an incredibly difficult week for our team,” Lowdon said. “As you know, Jules Bianchi had a terrible accident in Suzuka. He’s in hospital there. He’s in a critical condition and the thoughts of everybody in the team, and I know much wider than that, are with Jules at this moment and also with his family.
“I’d like to personally thanks [Ferrari team principal] Marco Mattiacci for his support and kindness, not just in his role at Ferrari, but personally as well. He was at the hospital immediately afterwards and I know provided an awful lot of comfort to those that were there.
“Jules is an exceptional Formula 1 driver but he’s also an exceptional human being. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like him.
“You wouldn’t wish that accident on anybody, but I think certainly Jules has so many friends that it’s really hit home very hard for a lot of people.
“Our priority from this point onwards is obviously to Jules and his family and we want to provide them with the maximum amount of support at what is really a very difficult time.”
Although this weekend’s race in Russia was expected to herald much fanfare as a new event, it has instead been a very subdued affair so far as thoughts up and down the paddock lie with Bianchi.
The on-track action resumes at Sochi tomorrow with FP3, live on Live Extra from 4am ET.