•Formula One team deny telling Bianchi to ignore flags
• ‘At no point did the team urge Jules to drive faster’
• Bianchi in ‘critical but stable’ condition in hospital
• Father Philippe: ‘He will not give up, I’m sure of that’
Marussia have angrily rejected media reports suggesting that the team contributed to Jules Bianchi’s life-threatening crash at the Japanese Grand Prix by telling him to ignore yellow caution flags.
The 25-year-old driver remains in hospital having suffered a diffuse axonal injury when he crashed into a recovery vehicle during the race. Bianchi’s condition is described as “critical but stable”, while his father, Philippe, said on Tuesday: “His doctors have told us this is already a miracle, no one has ever survived such a serious accident. But Jules won’t give up.”
Reacting to what it called “isolated media reports” that the team had urged Bianchi to go faster during the caution period in order to keep ahead of Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson, Marussia said: “We are shocked and angered by these allegations.
“At a time when its driver is critically ill in hospital, and the team has made clear that its highest priority is consideration for Jules and his family, it is distressed to have to respond to deeply upsetting rumours and inaccuracies in respect of the circumstances of Jules’ accident. However, given that these allegations are entirely false, the team has no alternative but to address these.
“Jules did slow down under the double waved yellow flags. That is an irrefutable fact, as proven by the telemetry data, which the team has provided to the FIA. In the FIA press conference which took place in Sochi on Friday 10 October, Charlie Whiting, the FIA’s Race Director, confirmed that the team had provided such data, that he himself had examined this data and that Jules did slow.
“It is quite clear from the radio transmission and the transcript that at no point during the period leading up to Jules’ accident did the team urge Jules to drive faster, or make any comments suggesting that he should do so.
“The team sincerely hopes that, having clarified these facts, it can now avoid any further distractions to its primary focus at this time, which is providing support for Jules and his family.”