May 21 (GMM/Inautonews.com) The entire world of F1 is thinking of Jules Bianchi this weekend.
Just 30 minutes from the glitz and glamour of the world’s most famous street race, the Frenchman lies in a coma in Nice.
But one year ago, the then 24-year-old defied the odds by scoring points for the backmarker Marussia, which went on to became Manor and race into 2015 thanks to the subsequent millions in official F1 prize-money.
“When you sit in a car that is not competitive and you do that,” friend Fernando Alonso recalled on Wednesday, “it’s almost a miracle.
“Coming back here and not having him here with us is very sad,” the McLaren driver added.
“We think about him each race weekend,” Alonso said. “But here, it is a bit harder to understand what happened.”
A year after Bianchi’s Monaco feat, Manor has marked the occasion with red wristbands bearing ‘JB17’.
Half an hour away, Bianchi is still fighting.
“I see Jules regularly,” his grandfather Mauro Bianchi, a former Formula 2 driver, told RMC. “We are waiting and hoping. The doctors do not comment.
“But in such cases, the families see the little things — the movements he makes. Sometimes we are told they are reflexes that do not mean much. We know that injuries like the one he suffered require considerable time.
“This is the problem,” Mr Bianchi added. “Is he coming back? How will he be? That is what hurts us the most.”
One of Bianchi’s very best friends, the GP2 driver Norman Nato, said: “All this support, I find it great.
“We must continue to support him and not forget, as I remain convinced that, even if it takes time, I will see him again one day, even if it is not in competition.
“He will remain my best friend and I will see him again, I hope soon.”