Jules Bianchi’s father posts on Instagram after recovery truck incident in Japan

Michelle Foster
Red flag waved by a marshal at Suzuka. FIA F1 Japan October 2022

Red flag waved by a marshal at Suzuka. Japan October 2022

Jules Bianchi’s father Philippe has blasted Formula 1 showing no respect for his son’s memory with Race Control allowing a recovery vehicle onto the track at Suzuka despite poor visibility.

Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix began on a sodden Suzuka circuit as the rain came down leading to a chaotic opening lap.

There were several incidents one of which saw Carlos Sainz aquaplane into the barrier, such was the impact that he ripped off a sheet of advertising boarding.

That fell onto the track, collected by Pierre Gasly who, like the rest of the field, could barely see in front of him.

He pitted to have it removed, rejoining the race which by that time was under Safety Car conditions.

That, Race Control seemed to think, meant it was okay to put a recovery vehicle onto the track to collect Sainz’s crashed Ferrari. Gasly came storming past it, horrified by what he saw.

“What the? What is this tractor? What is this tractor on track? I passed next to it. This is unacceptable! What has happened? Can’t believe this,” he raged.

The incident brought back memories of Jules Bianchi’s crash at the same circuit back in 2014, the Frenchman sliding off the track in the rain and crashing into a recovery vehicle that was collecting Romain Grosjean’s stricken car.

Bianchi died as a result of his injuries.

His father Philippe, watching Sunday’s race, was appalled.

He wrote: “No respect for the life of the driver. No respect for Jules’ memory. Incredible.”

What made Sunday’s incident even more concerning is that the recovery vehicle was on the live track. When Bianchi crashed it was quite some way away, near the rear of the gravel trap. The consequences were still fatal.

While Formula 1 debated who was in the wrong, the FIA announcing that Gasly was under investigation for speeding under Safety Car conditions, the entire situation was a chilling reminder of the Marussia driver’s accident.

Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz said: “Shades of that fateful race in 2014 with Jules Bianchi.

“If this does anything I guess it will give the drivers an opportunity to get out of their cars and talk about the incident Pierre Gasly had on his way back to the pits on his full wet tyres after his pit stop when he encountered that recovery vehicle on track.

“No doubt all the drivers are going to want some serious discussions to be going on, given of course what happened to Jules Bianchi here, as to how that was allowed to happen.”