Bianchi remains “critical but stable” but continues to fight, says family

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The family of Jules Bianchi has issued its latest statement confirming that the Frenchman remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Japan, almost four weeks on from his accident at Suzuka.

Bianchi crashed into a recovery vehicle being used to collect Adrian Sutil’s Sauber towards the end of the Japanese Grand Prix, suffering a severe head injury that has been diagnosed as a diffuse axonal traumatic brain injury.

Here is the full update issued by the Bianchi family:

“It will be four weeks this coming Sunday since Jules’ accident and he remains in the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. His condition continues to be classified by the medical professionals here as critical but stable.

“Although we have no new information to give, we recognise that there are a huge number of people all around the world who are supporting Jules and willing him on in his fight.

“We owe it to his many fans to acknowledge the continued outpouring of messages, and to provide some information, however brief it may be.

“Jules does indeed continue to fight. Although there have been some reports suggestive of plans for Jules’ treatment, at this time his fight will continue here in Yokkaichi. We are taking things step by step.

“Once again, we would like to offer our sincere appreciation for the patience and understanding being shown towards our family at this very difficult time. We also continue to be comforted by the knowledge that Jules is receiving the best possible care at the Mie General Medical Center, with the doctors here remaining in constant contact with the neurosurgeons at the University La Sapienza of Rome, and Professor Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission.

“We will provide a further update when it is appropriate to do so. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who continues to keep Jules in their thoughts and prayers.”

The Formula 1 community has sent all of its love and support to the Bianchi family over the past few weeks, and will continue to do so in Austin at the United States Grand Prix this weekend.

Marussia chose not to race Bianchi’s car at the last grand prix in Russia, leaving it ready to run in the garage, waiting for its driver. The team has since entered administration, and will not be racing in the USA this weekend.

Penske won’t discuss if Castroneves returns to Indy in 2020

Bruce Martin Photo
Bruce Martin Photo
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INDIANAPOLIS – NBC Sports.com asked Indianapolis 500 winning team owner Roger Penske if three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves would return to the team in 2020?

Penske immediately brushed off the question.

“We’re not going to talk about that right now,” Penske told NBC Sports.com. “I’m just not going to talk about it. We’re going to have a meeting about it before we decide, but I’m not going to talk about that right now.

“Simon won the race and that is what I’m focused on right now.”

Simon Pagenaud, gave Penske a record-extending 18thIndy 500 win on Sunday. Penske confirmed that Pagenaud will be back with the team in 2020 after he scored his first win in Sunday’s 103rdIndianapolis 500.

Castroneves was an NTT IndyCar Series regular at Team Penske from 2000 until the 2017 season. After that, Castroneves was shifted over to the team’s Acura IMSA Sports Car program, but the three-time Indy 500 winner was given a ride at both races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the past two years.

The popular driver from Brazil is trying to join AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time Indy 500 winners.

But the whispers in Gasoline Alley indicate his future with Team Penske at Indy remain uncertain.

“I’ve heard the rumors, too,” Castroneves told NBC Sports.com on pit lane after his disappointing finish in the Indy 500. “I will definitely give it a good, hard think about coming back in 2020. I want to be the rest of the season, here.”

But, will Castroneves run the Indy 500 again?

“Who knows?” Castroneves told NBC Sports.com. “Let’s see what happens.”

Castroneves’s bid for a fourth Indianapolis 500 was derailed in a pit road incident after his first pit stop when he ran into James Davison’s Chevrolet on the team’s first pit stop on Lap 30.

The front wing of Castroneves’s Chevrolet was damaged and INDYCAR officials gave him a “Drive Through” penalty for “Avoidable Contact.” Castroneves would ultimate drop three laps down but finished one lap down in 18thplace.

Castroneves explained what happened to him earlier in the race and how it affected the rest of his Indy 500.

“The accident that happened in the pits hurt us for sure,” Castroneves explained. “We had a problem with the fuel mapping, and I couldn’t go over 200 miles an hour for four or five laps. We lost 35 seconds. There was a bug in the system.

“Then, we went back out and that was it. I wasn’t able to recoup after that. I was excited. The car was very, very good entering the race.”

Castroneves spoke with second-place finisher Alexander Rossi, who was furious with the driver from Brazil earlier in the race for not moving out of the way, even though he was three laps down at the time.

The two drivers hugged, and Castroneves walked back up pit lane.

“I did what the team told me to do, and they told me to go as fast as I could,” Castroneves explained after talking to Rossi. “It’s racing and everybody is upset they didn’t win.”

Castroneves hopes his walk up pit lane is not the final time as an Indy 500 competitor.

But it could be.

“I hope I can come back next year,” Castroneves said. “I’m really upset as a competitor, but extremely happy for Team Penske and for Simon Pagenaud for winning the race.

“The good news is I go back to the Acura sports car, but I will be dreaming about coming back here again.”