Two months ago Philipe Bianchi made the announcement that the family will be suing the Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Group, the FIA, and the Marussia team for the death of his son Jules Bianchi.This will be the first racing family to take legal action against a governing body such as the FIA, and they are the first family to launch a suit against a racing team since the death of Mark Donohue in 1975, who died after a crash during the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix. If won, this law suit could possibly cost the industry millions. The Donohue family settled out court for $9.6 million when they launched their suit against Goodyear and Penske in 1986. The family will be represented by the British law firm Stewarts Law and will be represented by one of the firm’s partners Julian Chamberlayne.
In May, the family sent pre-action letters to the parties being sued explaining how the decisions of one or more of those parties could have be a factor to the accident that took Jules Bianchi’s life. They also want to clear Jules Bianchi’s name.
When the FIA conducted their investigation of Bianchi’s accident, they concluded that Bianchi was driving too fast under the double yellow flags. He lost control coming around the curve at 132 mph going around the curve of the circuit, tried to slow down while veering off and colliding with a recovery crane from behind at 78 mph.
However, the family feels that the accident could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made.
- The race was still held regardless of heavy rain and dimming light.
- The recovery vehicle was working on the circuit, and endangerment to any driver.
- Transporting Bianchi by ambulance instead of helicopter took at least 35 minutes longer.
Julian Chamberlayne, the family’s representative stated that stated that:“Jules Bianchi’s death as avoidable. 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 that 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.”
Through this troubling time the family has had much support from Jules’s fellow drivers and loving fans. The death of Jules Bianchi has touched a lot of hearts. The family hopes that the law suit will bring awareness and action, so that safety procedures may be analyzed and improved, drivers and their families will not have to go through the same experience, and Jules’s death will not be in vain.
Currently the family is setting up a charitable organization in Jules’s memory to support young and aspiring motorsport drivers. Hopefully the Bianchi family, fans, fellow drivers, and other parties can find closure in this situation.
To read more about Jules Bianchi, continue to check out articles on our site. If you want to stay up to date on the latest Bianchi and motorsport news, please subscribe.