Jules Bianchi continues to “fight with force” as his father Philippe gives new interview

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“Our universe collapsed on October 5, 2014.”

It was on that date Jules Bianchi went off track in treacherous conditions at the Japanese Grand Prix, crashed into a recovery vehicle and sustained severe head injuries that left him requiring emergency surgery. The Marussia driver was fighting for his life.

Over six months later, Bianchi remains in a coma, but has since returned to his native France where he continues to be cared for and monitored.

The last official update from the Bianchi family came in December, but his father, Philippe, has recently given an interview to nice-matin.com that gives further information on Jules’ condition and recovery.

“The only thing we can assure is that he fights with force, as he has always fought before and after the accident,” Philippe Bianchi explained. “Every day, Jules is running a marathon.

“From a medical point of view, his condition is stable. It is fairly autonomous. No physical problems. All of his organs are working without assistance.

“But for now, he remains unconscious in a coma.”

Philippe revealed that Jules has already made far more progress than was initially predicted by the medical staff that operated on him in Japan, who did not think he would leave the hospital for a year.

“For this kind of trauma, as we know, progress is very slow,” Philippe said. “Compared to what the Japanese professor who was immediately operated in Yokkaichi said, it is already the day and night.

“There, when we arrived with Jules’ mother, there was no hope. The prognosis was alarming. There was talk of irreversible damage and a one year period at least before the transfer – it was finally done after seven weeks, as he quickly could breathe again on his own.”

In order to try and stimulate Bianchi and offer support, his family remains by his side every day, talking to him and be with him.

“[It’s important] to stimulate Jules, and that he feels a constant presence at his side,” Philippe said. “That’s why we take turns every day: his mother, his sister, his brother and me; also Gina, the German girlfriend Jules, who lives here now.

“From time to time, at his bedside, we see that things are happening. At times, he is more ‘active’, he moves more, his hand shakes ours… But are they merely reflex reactions or real? Hard to know.”

Philippe was quick to thank the Formula 1 community and fanbase for its support over the past six months, and promised to offer updates on Jules’ condition whenever possible.

“Those people who think of him and praying for him, it is a fabulous motivator,” Philippe said. “I’m sure Jules hears!

“Today I want to again thank them all. And tell them that we will give news, whether it be good or bad.”

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

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Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.