Jules Bianchi’s father admits he still cannot bring himself to watch Formula One almost a year after the Frenchman’s fatal crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Marussia driver smashed into a recovery vehicle in rain and fading light last October, suffering severe head injuries. He died in July after nine months in a coma.
“Perhaps in a few months, a few years, I can see a grand prix,” Philippe Bianchi told the BBC from his home in the south of France. “But for the moment it is too difficult.
His son became the first Formula One driver to die from injuries sustained in a grand prix weekend since Ayrton Senna in 1994.
“It’s a difficult moment because it marks one year now that Jules had his crash,” said Bianchi’s grief-stricken father, who has also been unable to watch replays of the collision.
“This week is not a good week for the Bianchi family. Jules is missed a lot by all his family, all the fans, all his friends, it is very difficult.”
Flowers and cards were placed by a pitlane wall near the Marussia garage at Suzuka on Thursday, with more visible at the corner where he crashed along with several banners in the stands paying tribute to Bianchi.
An investigation into the tragedy by Formula One’s governing FIA found that there was no single cause but concluded that Bianchi “did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control” under double yellow flags.
Bianchi, 25, skidded off the track and into a recovery crane lifting Adrian Sutil’s wrecked Sauber.
Asked if speed had been a contributing factor, Philippe said: “Perhaps. For me it is strange when some people say he goes too fast, because he is a Formula One driver.
“I don’t know what happened because for the moment I don’t want to see the video of the incident,” he added. “I can’t see pictures of the crash of Jules. It’s not possible for me to say something about the crash because it’s too difficult for me to look at the video.”
Formula One introduced several new safety regulations following the crash, including a virtual safety car and bringing race starts forward to avoid drivers having to race in poor light.
A proposed closed-cockpit, however, was shelved.
“To close the cockpit, for me, is a very good thing,” said Philippe Bianchi. “But for Jules’s incident, it’s not the same, because as a doctor explained to me, it’s not that he took (a bang) on the head, the deceleration was too big and a closed cockpit wouldn’t have changed anything.
“I have a lot of people who continue to see the grands prix and who tell me: ‘If you look at the grands prix now, it has changed a lot, a lot of things have changed.’ And I say: ‘Okay, but I don’t want to look’, because it’s too difficult.”