Formula 1

Jules Bianchi critical but breathing unaided after horror Suzuka smash

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Jules Bianchi is reportedly breathing unaided but remains in critical condition after a horrific crash during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Frenchman was victim to a freak accident as he hit a tractor that was recovering Adrian Sutil's Sauber, after the German aquaplaning off the track during a rain-hit race at Suzuka.

Following the incident, Bianchi was sent by ambulance to hospital after being knocked unconscious and underwent emergency surgery for a severe head trauma.

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The crash caused the abandonment of a race that had been disrupted by the arrival of Typhoon Phanfone in the south of Japan and at the moment of Bianchi's accident the rain had begun to soak a track that had been drying out thanks to a drier interlude.

The response to the news was immediate as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel conducted muted podium celebrations and reports say every driver has since been to the hospital where Bianchi is being treated.

The outpouring was just as big on social media as the hash tags #PrayForJules and #ForzaJules have trended for much of the day.

Too wet?

While much of the focus quite rightly remains solely on the well being of Bianchi, there has also been a lot of reaction to the circumstances that led to his incident.

The race had begun behind the safety car after heavy morning rain but the conditions steadily improved to allow for a normal wet race to take place.

In the laps prior, however, and with most drivers including Bianchi on worn intermediate tyres, heavy rain had returned quite quickly soaking the circuit.

Some has opted to pit while others battled on, however, despite Felipe Massa's claims that he "screamed" down the radio calling the conditions too dangerous, there does remain the fact drivers were only old tyres with less of a tread an there remained the option of switching to the full wet Pirelli Cincurato.

Safety car call mistimed?

Instead if there is any factor that could have been different, it was the timing of the Safety car being called back out onto the track.

Adrian Sutil had slid off into the barriers in a place where, in the worsening conditions, there was always the possibility of another car having the same crash.

For some memories of the monsoon that caused multiple cars to crash at turn one at the Nurburgring in 2007 returned, however, this was different as it was seemingly decided that it was safe enough for marshals to recover the stricken Sauber without the need to neutralise the race.

Of course under double waved yellow flags, as would have been the case, drivers are expecting to slow down, but in the constantly changing conditions the potential for a car to slide off at any speed remained.

Focus on Bianchi

No doubt there will be much discussion into how F1 can learn from this unprecedented and most horrific incidents in recent memory, but for now the focus must be on Jules Bianchi, the man most expect to be a future Ferrari driver and possible world champion.

He is currently in intensive care and being monitored with the next 24 hours being described as "crucial", his Marussia team will undoubtedly have to consider who will replace Bianchi for the remainder of the season but for now everyone is wishing the best for one of the most likeable men on the F1 grid.

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