Jules Bianchi continues to make slow progress in his recovery from the life threatening injuries he sustained in last year's Japanese Grand Prix, giving his family hope that he may one day emerge from his coma.
Speaking to the local Nice-Matin newspaper, the former Marussia driver's father, Philippe, admitted that seeing his son in hospital is sometimes feels worse than if he had had to cope with a fatality after Bianchi collided with a rescue vehicle in treacherous conditions at Suzuka last October, but he insists that his son continues to show tiny positive signs.
“The only thing we can say is that he fights with force, as he has always fought - before and after the accident,” Bianchi Sr said, “Every day, Jules is doing a marathon. From a medical point of view, his condition is stable, fairly autonomous, with no physical problem. All his organs are working without assistance but, for now, he remains unconscious, in a coma.
“For this kind of trauma, we know evolution is very slow but, compared to what we were told by the Japanese professor who operated [on Bianchi] in Yokkaichi, this is already day and night. There, when we arrived, there was no hope, the prognosis was alarming. There was talk of irreversible damage but… after seven weeks, he could breathe again on his own.
“[Now], from time to time, at his bedside, we see that things are happening. At times, he is more active, he moves more, his hand shakes our... But is it mere reflex reactions or real? It's hard to know. The important thing is that he is cared for by excellent specialists.”
With doctors telling the family that there is nothing more that they can do to aid the recovery, it is a matter of waiting. In order to maintain a physical presence – something the medics have said could provide a positive stimulus – Bianchi's parent's, sister and brother take turns to accompany him, along with his German girlfriend, who has relocated to be closer to the Frenchman.
“Our universe collapsed on 5 October,” Philippe reflects, “Before that, we communicated daily, orally or by text. And then, in a split second, everything collapsed. The questions that nobody can answer replace life projects: Will he make it? If so, will he be disabled or can he live normally? In short, this type of accident, I think it hits harder than a real death. Suffering is relentless, a daily torture.
“However, those people who think of him, pray for him, it is a fabulous motivator. I'm sure Jules hears them and I want to again thank them all.”