PARIS: The funeral of Jules Bianchi, the French Formula One driver who died after spending nine months in a coma following a crash at last season’s Japanese Grand Prix, will be held in his home city of Nice on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
Bianchi, 25, who died on Friday, had been fighting for his life under controlled medical conditions in the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire hospital in Nice, southern France.
He is the first Formula One driver to perish from a racing accident since triple world champion Ayrton Senna in San Marino in 1994.
His funeral will be held at 0900 GMT at the Sainte-Reparate cathedral in the old part of Nice city.
The gifted young driver’s death sparked a flood of tributes from his pit¬lane colleagues and the world of politics.
Bianchi joined Marussia in 2013 and competed in 34 grands prix, notching two world championship points—still the team’s best result.
Bianchi suffered a traumatic brain injury when his car careered off the rain-drenched Suzuka circuit during the Japanese Grand Prix on October 5 and smashed into a recovery truck at around 200 kilometers (125 miles) an hour.
His death ended a promising career that he hoped would see him join the elite ranks of Ferrari, something the young driver said he felt “ready” to do three days before the race in Japan.
Born in Nice in 1989 to Italian parents, Bianchi had racing in his genes. His grandfather Mauro had been a well-known Formula Three and endurance driver in the 1960s.
His father Philippe for years managed a karting track near the Paul Ricard circuit near Marseille, in southern France, where Jules made his debut as a racecar driver.
But his death also recalled another tragic piece of family history: his great-uncle Lucien, who competed in 17 grands prix, was also killed in a crash while racing in 1969 at the age of 34.