The family of Jules Bianchi has begun legal action against the FIA, the Formula 1 Group and Marussia F1 Team over the Frenchman’s death from injuries sustained during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi suffered a diffuse axonal injury after crashing into a recovery vehicle at high-speed during the race at Suzuka in wet conditions.
The Frenchman died last July at the age of 25, nine months after the accident.
An investigation into the accident deemed that Bianchi had been driving too quickly under yellow flags, and cleared the event organizers and race officials of any blame.
However, Bianchi’s family today announced via British law firm Stewarts Law that it would be challenging these claims by launching legal action against the FIA, Formula One Group and the Marussia team.
“The family of Formula One racing driver, Jules Bianchi, has today announced they plan to take legal action in England relating to the fatal head injuries Jules Bianchi sustained in a violent collision with a mobile crane at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, 2014,” a statement read.
“Stewarts Law, the country’s largest litigation-only law firm, have this week sent formal pre-action letters of claim to:
- the World Governing Body of Formula One, the FIA;
- Team Marussia, who Jules was driving for at the time; and
- the Formula One Group of companies, who control the TV and media rights for the sport.
“The letters explain why the Bianchi family feel the actions of one or more of those parties, amongst others, may have contributed to Jules’ fatal accident and invite them to accept that errors were made in the planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race which took place in dangerous conditions during the typhoon season in Japan.
“The recipients of the letters of claim will be expected to respond in due course, to explain their actions in connection with the race and to indicate if they dispute the claim.”
“Jules Bianchi’s death was avoidable,” Stewarts Law partner Julian Chamberlayne added. “The FIA Panel Inquiry Report into this accident made numerous recommendations to improve safety in Formula One but failed to identify where errors had been made which led to Jules’ death.
“It was surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, whilst noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules.
“The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings. This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first.
“If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today.”
Jules’ father, Philippe Bianchi, explained the decision to launch legal action.
“We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son’s crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014,” Bianchi Sr. said.
“As a family, we have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules’ accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made.”