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.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.