FIA retires number 17 as tribute to late driver Bianchi
Jules Bianchi’s No. 17 is being retired from Formula One in honour of the French driver, whose funeral takes place on Tuesday.
Bianchi drove with this car number for 15 races in 2014, when drivers were first given the choice of which number they preferred. Jean Todt, president of auto sports’ governing body, announced the decision Monday. The FIA said it was “an appropriate gesture.”
Bianchi, 25, died on Friday from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix. He had been in a coma since the Oct. 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car.
Bianchi’s funeral is in his home town of Nice at the Sainte Reparate Cathedral. Executives from the Manor-Marussia F1 team are expected to attend, as well as Todt and his son Nicolas, Bianchi’s
manager in F1.
Tributes are also expected at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, including one by Ferrari which helped secure Bianchi’s F1 debut. The driver was being lined up as an eventual replacement for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.