French president Francois Hollande has paid tribute to Jules Bianchi following the French racing driver’s death at the age of 25 on Friday night.
Bianchi’s family confirmed in the early hours of Saturday morning that he had passed away following a nine-month fight, having suffered a diffuse axonal injury in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in October 2014.
In a short statement issued by the Élysée Palace, President Hollande paid tribute to Bianchi, whom he called one of French motor racing’s “greatest hopes”.
“It is with great emotion that I learned of the death of Jules Bianchi,” Hollande said.
“After a terrible accident in Japan, and despite nine months of hard fighting, he died with his family last night at the age of 25.
“French motor racing has lost one of its greatest hopes. My thoughts are with his parents, his family and friends.”
The Formula 1 and motorsport world has been in mourning on Saturday, as tributes to Bianchi have poured in from all over the world.
FIA president Jean Todt offered his condolences to the Bianchi family in the wake of the news, whilst Bianchi’s manager, Nicolas Todt, paid tribute to “the little brother I had always dreamed to have”.