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Leclerc marks tenth anniversary of Bianchi accident with tribute F1 helmet

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Bianchi suffered a critical accident in closing laps of the moist 2014 Japanese GP, and handed away in July the next yr from his accidents.

He had acted as a mentor determine for Leclerc, with the Monegasque concerning Bianchi as a “sport changer” in his profession. Their households had been and stay shut.

Though the 2014 Suzuka occasion was held in October quite than April, the 2024 race marks the tenth anniversary of the Frenchman’s accident.

Leclerc has based mostly his tribute helmet on the design utilized by Bianchi at Marussia in 2014, and it consists of the latter’s quantity 17, which was retired from use by the FIA.

“In fact it is a very particular place, and every time I get right here I’ve someplace in my thoughts Jules,” mentioned Leclerc when requested by Autosport in regards to the anniversary.

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“I clearly take into consideration Jules fairly often, as a result of he is been the individual that helped me to get there.

“Again in 2010 already he has spoken to Nicolas [Todt], my supervisor, to ensure that me to be supported to get to F1. And he is been the sport changer in my profession.

“And earlier than that, we now have all the time been extraordinarily, extraordinarily shut, and each of our households are nonetheless all the time very shut.

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Group MR03.

Picture by: Andre Vor / Sutton Photographs

“So it is a very particular place to be right here. I will be having a helmet for him this weekend, and naturally, as all the time, he is all the time in my coronary heart, and it should be essential to do effectively this weekend.”

The 2 French drivers on the present grid additionally paid tribute to Bianchi at Suzuka on Thursday, with Esteban Ocon suggesting that he was a possible world champion.

“A tragic day,” mentioned Ocon when requested for his reminiscences. “I feel what has occurred to Jules is one thing we’re all unhappy about.

“Jules represented for us the hope of French motorsport.

“He was the younger man coming, and he was for positive going to achieve success, and likely champion at some stage. That is the way in which we had been seeing him coming.

“And much more than that, for me having pushed in Brignoles [kart circuit] loads, seeing him driving, being with Charles after we had been youthful, it’s clearly unhappy to return right here and remembering him.

“However we clearly have to go on racing, that is what he would have completed, and that is what we are going to do.”

Ocon’s team-mate Pierre Gasly recalled Bianchi as somebody who impressed younger French drivers.

Jules Bianchi, Marussia MR03 Ferrari.

Jules Bianchi, Marussia MR03 Ferrari.

Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“Positively Jules will all the time be remembered for who he was I feel,” mentioned Gasly. “Clearly as a driver, but in addition simply as a human being, he was extraordinarily type.

“He was an instance for lots of drivers, however particularly in France.

“I bear in mind when had been within the French group, like all younger drivers, with Anthoine [Hubert], Esteban and lots of different younger children, we clearly appeared as much as him as the subsequent huge factor in F1, as a result of everybody I feel agrees that he would finally make it to Ferrari.

“It is undoubtedly very, very unhappy to recollect what occurred. He undoubtedly left his mark in F1, and in addition past it, and I’ll undoubtedly be all the time remembering him.”

Watch: F1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix Preview – All the things You Want To Know

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