BUDAPEST – Formula One
drivers mourned French driver Jules Bianchi on Thursday but made clear his untimely death would not change the way they go racing or their willingness to take risks.
The popular Bianchi died in hospital last Friday nine months after his Marussia car slammed into a recovery tractor at the Japan
ese Grand Prix.
He was 25 and the first Formula One driver since Brazil
ian triple world champion Ayrton Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger in 1994 to die from injuries sustained during a race weekend.
Brazilian Felipe Massa, who suffered a near-fatal head injury in Hungary in 2009, told reporters at the Hungaroring ahead of Sunday's race that he would drive as hard as ever.
"When you close your visor, you want the best, you want to finish in front...the way you drive, your thinking, I don't think it will change," said the Williams driver, who was with Ferrari at the time of his accident.
"You just think about your job, your work. I don't think that will change. But now, I have Jules all the time on my mind."
Massa shared a manager with Bianchi, spent time with him away from the racetrack and remembered his friend as "a fantastic boy, very nice, very humble and an amazing driver."
Others shared that opinion, hailing his shining talent in go-karts and junior series, but they also said the Frenchman would have wanted them to carry on as normal doing what they loved.
"We all know it could have been ourselves in that car," said Force India's Mexican Sergio Perez, who was with Bianchi at the Ferrari young driver academy. "But it doesn't really change anything.
"We want to succeed, we want to take every tenth out of the car. So we just give it all. I don't think it will change, We all have to make Jules very proud."
Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who helped carry Bianchi's coffin at Tuesday's funeral in Nice cathedral, agreed.
"It's in our nature to take risk," said the Lotus driver. "You need to be 100 percent in the car and not thinking about what could happen, if and if. We know it's a dangerous sport but I think that was a hard way to remember that.
"But when the helmet is on and the visor is closed, it's racing 100 percent. That's what we've always been doing and that's what racing drivers will always do." –Reuters