Jules Bianchi is no longer in an induced coma and is breathing unaided, according to a new statement released by his family, though he remains unconscious and in a critical condition having been moved to a hospital in his native France.

The Marussia F1 driver was placed in an artificial coma after suffering serious head injuries in an accident during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in September, but almost two months on his family has now issued a statement describing his condition as having taken 'an important step'.

"The parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, would like to provide the following information regarding Jules' medical care, by way of an update to the media and his fans.

"Almost seven weeks after Jules' accident at Suzuka Circuit, and following a challenging period of neurological intensive care, we are able to announce that Jules has made an important step.

"Jules is no longer in the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after the accident, however he is still unconscious. He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as 'critical'. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function."

Related Articles

The family also confirmed that Bianchi has now been successfully transferred from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi, where he has been since the accident, to the Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice in France.

"Jules' neurological condition remains stable. Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France. We are relieved, therefore, to confirm that Jules was transferred aeromedically last night from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, Japan, to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), where he arrived just a short time ago. Jules is now in the intensive care unit of Professors Raucoules and Ichai, where his care will also be monitored by Professor Paquis, Head of Neurosurgery Service.

"We are thankful that the next phase of Jules' treatment can continue close to home, where he can be surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends.

"We have nothing but praise for the outstanding care provided by the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center since the accident. We owe the medical staff there an enormous debt of gratitude for everything they have done for Jules, and also for our family, during what is a very difficult time for us. In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Doctors Kamei and Yamamichi, and also to Mr Ogura, all part of the team of personnel caring for Jules in Japan."