The Formula One family come together to say goodbye to Jules Bianchi
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News July 21, 2015
Two Large posters of Bianchi were draped outside the cathedral entrance, as the Formula One community mounted for the French driver, who died Friday after a nine month coma following the crash during last year's Japanese Grand Prix.
"He was so natural, humble. F1 is a complicated profession, often you can lose touch with reality - he always knew how to remain humble, nice with everybody and that made him different from the others," said his manager, Nicolas Todt, the son of FIA President Jean Todt.
A number of Formula 1 colleagues travelled to Nice to pay their respects on Tuesday.
Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion, and F1 Lotus driver and fellow Frenchman Romain Grosjean helped carry Bianchi's coffin after the service.
The Eagles' 1970s anthem Hotel California played in the background as the proceedings got under way earlier in Nice, according to AFP news agency.
Bianchi competed in 34 races over the 2013 and 2014 seasons, scoring the first ever championship points for Marussia — now known as Manor — by finishing ninth at last year's Monaco Grand Prix. Bianchi had been in a coma since the Oct. 5 from an accident, in which he collided at high speed with a recovery vehicle.
Bianchi's family had already lost a member in a crash. In 1969, his great-uncle Lucien died in an accident during testing at the Le Mans race track when he crashed his Alfa Romeo into a post, a year after winning the prestigious endurance race. Bianchi's grandfather, Mauro, also raced.
Mourners follow Bianchi's coffin into the cathedral
"He wrote the history of F1," French driver Jean-Eric Vergne said outside the funeral.
Applause resonated as the family took the casket inside Sainte Reparate Cathedral, then church bells sounded.
Bianchi was the first driver to die of injuries sustained in an F1 race since Ayrton Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, his car number, 17, is being retired from F1 in his honor.
Tributes are expected to be paid at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.
Contributing: AFP news agency
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