Jules Bianchi races during the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix, the race at which his fatal accident occurred. Mark Thompson / Getty Images
Jules Bianchi races during the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix, the race at which his fatal accident occurred. Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Family of Jules Bianchi plan legal action over ‘mistakes’ leading to F1 driver’s death



The family of the late French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi are planning legal action against the sport’s governing body, his former Marussia team and Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Group, they said in a statement on Thursday.

“We seek justice for Jules, and want to establish the truth about the decisions that led to our son’s crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014,” his father Philippe said in the statement issued by British firm Stewarts Law.

“As a family, we have so many unanswered questions and feel that Jules’ accident and death could have been avoided if a series of mistakes had not been made.”

Bianchi, 25, died in hospital in his hometown of Nice last July after suffering serious head injuries when he crashed into a recovery crane at Suzuka during the October 2014 race.

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He was the first Formula One driver to die of injuries sustained during a race since Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna in 1994.

Stewarts Law, representing the family in the English legal system, said formal pre-action letters of claim had been sent this week ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The recipients were the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), the defunct Marussia team who are racing under new ownership as Manor, and the Formula One Group.

Stewarts said errors were made in the planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race and the family felt the actions of one or more of the named parties may have contributed to the fatal accident.

“The Bianchi family are determined that this legal process should require those involved to provide answers and to take responsibility for any failings,” Stewarts partner Julian Chamberlayne said.

“This is important if current and future drivers are to have confidence that safety in the sport will be put first. If this had been the case in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi would most likely still be alive and competing in the sport he loved today.”

There was no immediate response from the FIA, whose report into the accident said that the Frenchman had not slowed sufficiently under warning flags before crashing.

The report found Bianchi’s car hit the tractor at 126 kph and said medical services were not at fault in their handling of the aftermath.

Chamberlayne said it had been “surprising and distressing to the Bianchi family that the FIA panel in its conclusions, while noting a number of contributing factors, blamed Jules.”

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RACE CARD

6.30pm: Baniyas Group 2 (PA) Dh 97,500 (Dirt) 1,400m.

7.05pm Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 1,200m

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10pm Handicap (TB) Dh 85,000 (D) 2,000m

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
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7. UAE
8. Taiwan
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Anxiety and work stress major factors

Anxiety, work stress and social isolation are all factors in the recogised rise in mental health problems.

A study UAE Ministry of Health researchers published in the summer also cited struggles with weight and illnesses as major contributors.

Its authors analysed a dozen separate UAE studies between 2007 and 2017. Prevalence was often higher in university students, women and in people on low incomes.

One showed 28 per cent of female students at a Dubai university reported symptoms linked to depression. Another in Al Ain found 22.2 per cent of students had depressive symptoms - five times the global average.

It said the country has made strides to address mental health problems but said: “Our review highlights the overall prevalence of depressive symptoms and depression, which may long have been overlooked."

Prof Samir Al Adawi, of the department of behavioural medicine at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, who was not involved in the study but is a recognised expert in the Gulf, said how mental health is discussed varies significantly between cultures and nationalities.

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“Someone will say that I have physical complaints rather than emotional complaints. This is the major problem with any discussion around depression."

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Rating: 4/5

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Stars: Robert De Niro, Sebastian Maniscalco, Kim Cattrall

Rating: 2/5

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Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
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Jurassic Park

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What is a virtual bank?

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority defines it as a bank that delivers services through the internet or other electronic channels instead of physical branches. That means not only facilitating payments but accepting deposits and making loans, just like traditional ones. Other terms used interchangeably include digital or digital-only banks or neobanks. By contrast, so-called digital wallets or e-wallets such as Apple Pay, PayPal or Google Pay usually serve as intermediaries between a consumer’s traditional account or credit card and a merchant, usually via a smartphone or computer.

What’s the draw in Asia?

Hundreds of millions of people under-served by traditional institutions, for one thing. In China, India and elsewhere, digital wallets such as Alipay, WeChat Pay and Paytm have already become ubiquitous, offering millions of people an easy way to store and spend their money via mobile phone. Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also among the world’s biggest under-banked countries; together they have almost half a billion people.

Is Hong Kong short of banks?

No, but the city is among the most cash-reliant major economies, leaving room for newcomers to disrupt the entrenched industry. Ant Financial, an Alibaba Group Holding affiliate that runs Alipay and MYBank, and Tencent Holdings, the company behind WeBank and WeChat Pay, are among the owners of the eight ventures licensed to create virtual banks in Hong Kong, with operations expected to start as early as the end of the year. 

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Roll of Honour

Who has won what so far in the West Asia rugby season?

 

Western Clubs Champions League

Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners up: Bahrain

 

Dubai Rugby Sevens

Winners: Dubai Exiles

Runners up: Jebel Ali Dragons

 

West Asia Premiership

Winners: Jebel Ali Dragons

Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

 

UAE Premiership Cup

Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners up: Dubai Exiles

 

Fixtures

Friday

West Asia Cup final

5pm, Bahrain (6pm UAE time), Bahrain v Dubai Exiles

 

West Asia Trophy final

3pm, The Sevens, Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Sports City Eagles

 

Friday, April 13

UAE Premiership final

5pm, Al Ain, Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Syria squad

Goalkeepers: Ibrahim Alma, Mahmoud Al Youssef, Ahmad Madania.
Defenders: Ahmad Al Salih, Moayad Ajan, Jehad Al Baour, Omar Midani, Amro Jenyat, Hussein Jwayed, Nadim Sabagh, Abdul Malek Anezan.
Midfielders: Mahmoud Al Mawas, Mohammed Osman, Osama Omari, Tamer Haj Mohamad, Ahmad Ashkar, Youssef Kalfa, Zaher Midani, Khaled Al Mobayed, Fahd Youssef.
Forwards: Omar Khribin, Omar Al Somah, Mardik Mardikian.

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Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

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Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)

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Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

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Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
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Industry: Sustainability & Environment
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If you go...

Etihad Airways flies from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, from about Dh3,600. Air Asia currently flies from Kuala Lumpur to Terengganu, with Berjaya Hotels & Resorts planning to launch direct chartered flights to Redang Island in the near future. Rooms at The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort start from 680RM (Dh597).

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Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

MATCH INFO

Syria v Australia
2018 World Cup qualifying: Asia fourth round play-off first leg
Venue: Hang Jebat Stadium, Malayisa
Kick-off: Thursday, 4.30pm (UAE)
Watch: beIN Sports HD

* Second leg in Australia on October 10

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Position: Senior lab superintendent at Emirates Global Aluminium

Education: Bachelor of science in chemical engineering, post graduate degree in light metal reduction technology

Favourite part of job: The challenge, because it is challenging

Favourite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandi

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