Jules Bianchi is out of his artificial coma and has been transferred back to his hometown of Nice in France, his family revealed in a statement.
The Frenchman remains in a critical but stable condition, however, is now breathing unaided nearly seven weeks after his horrific crash at the Japanese Grand Prix where the Marussia driver aquaplaned into a recovery tractor in worsening conditions at Suzuka.
The statement continued that while Bianchi remains unconscious, his neurological state in stable and the decision was made that he was able to make the trip from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center where he was being treated back to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Nice on Tuesday night.
The news comes as a welcome first step in the right direction ahead of the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi this weekend but obviously the 25-year-old still has a long way to go in his recovery.
Indeed, now he has back in France, Bianchi's family said the treatment moved into a different stage while admitting their own personal relief to be back in familiar surroundings. "His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function," the statement read.
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“Jules’ neurological condition remains stable. Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France.
“We are thankful that the next phase of Jules’ treatment can continue close to home, where he can be surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends," his parents added.
Speaking of the treatment Jules received in Japan, Philippe and Christine Bianchi had nothing but praise for the doctors who helped him through those initial few weeks.
"We have nothing but praise for the outstanding care provided by the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center since the accident," they said.
“We owe the medical staff there an enormous debt of gratitude for everything they have done for Jules, and also for our family, during what is a very difficult time for us. In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Doctors Kamei and Yamamichi, and also to Mr Ogura, all part of the team of personnel caring for Jules in Japan.”