Update: Jules Bianchi’s parents say his “neurological status remains unchanged”

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In their latest update, Philippe and Christine Bianchi – parents of stricken Formula One racer Jules Bianchi – have said that Jules’ “neurological status remains unchanged” and that he is unconscious but still able to breathe unaided.

Mr. and Mrs. Bianchi also noted that doctors have started a rehabilitation therapy program for their son, who sustained severe head injuries in a devastating crash during October’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Following intensive treatment at the Mie General Hospital in Japan, Jules was transferred to a hospital in his home country of France last month.

Today’s full statement from Mr. and Mrs. Bianchi reads as follows:

“As we reach the conclusion of a difficult year for our family, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide a further update regarding Jules’ medical situation, per our pledge to communicate continued information, when appropriate, to his many fans.

“It was a significant and very comforting step for us to be able to bring Jules home to France last month, to continue his rehabilitation surrounded by his family and friends. This is very important for Jules and also for us.

“Since that time, Jules has received the very best treatment in the Intensive Care Unit of Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU) and now at the CHU’s rehabilitation centre for this kind of trauma.

“Jules’ neurological status remains unchanged; he is unconscious but able to breathe unaided. Whilst there is no significant information to report, we take a great deal of comfort from the fact that Jules continues to fight, as we knew he would, and this has enabled the medical professionals caring for him to commence the planned, but very painstaking, programme of rehabilitation therapy.

“As we reflect on the events of the past few months, we would like to acknowledge once again the overwhelming warmth and affection shown towards our son. These continue to be challenging times for our family, but the knowledge that he has touched the lives of so many people all around the world has helped us through.

“We would also like to acknowledge the respect and support shown by the media towards our family during this time, for which we are extremely grateful.

“We will continue to provide information when it is possible to do so and our sincere appreciation to everyone who continues to pray for Jules.”

Our thoughts remain with Jules, his family, and his friends.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.