Jules Bianchi’s former team principal at Marussia, John Booth, has paid tribute to the 25-year-old Frenchman who passed away on Friday night following a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi famously scored Marussia’s first points in Formula 1 when he secured ninth at the Monaco Grand Prix, and thanks to the prize money which came with that result, the team still exists despite collapsing at the end of last season.
In a statement, Booth paid tribute to a “shining talent” who was “destined for great things”, but ultimately taken away too young.
“Words cannot describe the enormous sadness within our team this morning, as we come to terms with losing Jules. He has left an indelible mark on all our lives, and will forever be part of everything we have achieved, and everything we will strive for going forward.
“Jules was a shining talent. He was destined for great things in our sport; success he so richly deserved. He was also a magnificent human being, making a lasting impression on countless people all over the world. They recognised, as did we, that at the same time as being a fiercely motivated racer, he was also an extremely warm, humble and intensely likeable person, who lit up our garage and our lives,” he said.
“We are incredibly grateful that we were able to provide Jules with the opportunity to show the world what he could do in a Formula 1 car. We knew we had a very special driver on our hands from the first time he drove our car in pre-season testing in 2013. It has been an honour to be able to consider him our race driver, our team-mate, and of course our friend.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the wonderful Bianchi family, who have remained so strong for Jules throughout the past nine months. In turn, Jules was an absolute credit to them.
“Finally, we would like to thank everyone who has supported Jules since his accident in Japan last October. Your kindness has been such a source of comfort to his family and to us, his team. We will rely on your continued support over the coming days and months as we race on for Jules.”