Manor Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon has paid tribute to Jules Bianchi following his death at the age of 25 on Friday.
Bianchi raced under Lowdon for the entirety of his Formula 1 career, leading Marussia to its only points finish at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix with a remarkable performance. The two are pictured together following the race.
After sustaining severe head injuries in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in October, Bianchi remained in a coma for nine months before passing away late on Friday.
Following the statement issued by Manor team boss John Booth on Saturday, Lowdon took to Twitter to express his sorrow and pay tribute to Bianchi both on and off the track.
“Totally and utterly devastated,” Lowdon wrote. “Jules was an exceptional driver and an exceptional person. All my thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Before joining Marussia in 2013, Bianchi spent one season working as Force India’s third and reserve driver, and was in the running to race for the team alongside Paul di Resta.
“We came to know an outstanding young man and a tremendous talent who was destined for great things in F1,” team owner Vijay Mallya said.
“The world has lost a true racer and we have all lost a friend.”