Jules Bianchi's family say messages of support from leading F1 drivers and MotoGP riders have "touched us very deeply".

Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Japan following his serious accident at Suzuka when he crashed in to a recovery tractor, with his father Philippe Bianchi saying "the situation is desperate". However, Bianchi's father also revealed the number of messages the family has received, with Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez all among those who have been in touch.

Speaking about the tribute from F1 drivers on the grid ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Philippe Bianchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I've never seen anything like that.

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"It touched us very deeply. We thank every one of them. So many of them have been in touch, written to me; Alonso, [Jean-Eric] Vergne, [Felipe] Massa have given strong messages.

"Hamilton wrote me a beautiful email in which he says that if there is anything he can do, he's there. Rossi and Marquez from MotoGP too."

And Philippe also said he has been looking at Michael Schumacher's slow recovery from his own serious head injury as a reference for Bianchi.

"I was very sad when he got hurt. I kept wondering, like everyone else 'Why don't they tell us more about how he is?' But now I'm in the same position I understand. Everyone keeps asking me how Jules is but I can't reply, there is no answer. It's very serious, but he's stable.

"One day he seems a bit better, other days a bit worse. The doctors don't say. The damage from the accident is very bad but we don't know how it will evolve.

"Even with Schumacher it took months to come out of the coma. Jean Todt said he hopes Michael will one day be able to have a normal life. One day I hope we can say the same about Jules."

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I've been a motorsports fan for nearly 60 years and I have to say that I have witnessed some amazing things. From Formula 1 to midgets and sprint cars on a short oval, I can find something of interest whether it is raw driving talent or engineering prowess or clever strategies. But as euphoric as motorsports can be for both participants and spectators, that can change to dire circumstances in a moment. As so it was at Suzuka.

A young racer's career, and maybe even life, has come to an abrupt and tragic end. It is very sad that an uncompromising pursuit of excellence is rewarded in such a way. There are consequences sometimes that are grossly out of proportion to the misdeed. It is cruel, maybe even bordering on insane, but it is the reality under which we live. And it doesn't seem to discriminate. Those of legendary status (Dale Earnhart, Jim Clark, Mark Donohue, Aryton Senna da Silva) are right along side the aspirants (Greg Moore, Tom Pryce, Dave MacDonald, Kevin Gobrecht) as are th