Formula One racer Jules Bianchi has undergone surgery for what is being called a “severe head injury” following a crash during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Emergency personnel carted away an unconscious Bianchi and drove him to Mie General Hospital, where he underwent surgery.
Bianchi slammed into a recovery vehicle on the track to clear up an accident on the previous lap, when racer Adrian Sutil slid into a barrier.
The race had been hampered by rain all day due to a typhoon which hammered Japan, leading to poor visibility and slick conditions.
F1 in its early years had been plagued with severe accidents and racing deaths. There has not been a death in F1 since 1994, when Ayrton Senna was killed in Imola (Roland Ratzenberger died a day earlier at the same track). Ironically, Senna was a leader in creating standards for driver safety.
Bianchi is in just his second year as an F1 driver for the Marussia team, which formed in 2010.
The official statement by F1’s governing body said:
On lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of Turn 7. The marshals displayed double waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was dispatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guard rail. While this was being done the driver of car 17, Jules Bianchi, lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.
Once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were dispatched and the safety car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and an ambulance. The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital.
The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.
The race, won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, was called following the accident.