23 September 2015
F1 Japanese Grand Prix: Manor braces for emotional Suzuka return
The late Jules Bianchi won't be far from the minds of those in the F1 paddock in Suzuka, with Manor saying it will honour its former driver privately.
Manor team principal John Booth says the late Jules Bianchi won't be far from the team's thoughts throughout the Japanese Grand Prix, a year on from the accident that claimed his life.
Bianchi suffered serious head injuries when his Marussia slid off track in wet conditions and struck a recovery vehicle during last year's Suzuka event. Leaving him in a coma for nine months, he eventually succumbed to his injuries on July 17 2015.
With all teams and drivers expressing their thoughts towards the late Frenchman as they return to Suzuka for the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix, Manor boss Booth admits it will be a difficult weekend for the entire team and will duly honour his memory in a 'very private way'.
“After the high of a positive Singapore Grand Prix, we head to Japan hopeful of a similarly strong performance this weekend. There will, however, be a rather more challenging backdrop for our team in Suzuka, after Jules' devastating accident here last season. There is no escaping the fact that this will be an extremely emotional week for us.
“Many of the team members who were with us in 2014 are back with us this year, including our colleagues at Scuderia Ferrari and of course Will and Alexander, both of whom were in Suzuka last year in their roles as Reserve Drivers. It will also be a different emotional experience again from Monaco, a place full of so many special memories for our team, and Hungary, where we all had to say a very difficult goodbye to a greatly-loved friend and colleague.
“We think of Jules every single day; he will forever be a huge part of our team. Without doubt, our memories are overwhelmingly happy ones, celebrating his incredible achievements in our race cars and the enjoyable times we shared along the way.
“Jules' funeral reminded us that he was a special gift to so many people, not least of all the magnificent Bianchi family, who are always in our thoughts and prayers. We were Jules' team, and with that in mind I would ask everyone to understand and respect that, this weekend, we wish to deal with the experience of returning to Suzuka in a very private way.
“Our commitments will reflect this. It is my job to provide the team with the right environment in which to be able to do their job in spite of very difficult circumstances. This will be my primary focus. Jules has not only been constantly in our thoughts since that terrible day in 2014, but his name has also been on our car at every single race.
“That tribute, our incredibly fond memories of Jules and the camaraderie we have within our team are all we need to race on in his honour in Suzuka this weekend.”
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