There are moments in the history of sport that show how strong the connection between athletes practicing the same discipline can be, moments in which feelings like respect, solidarity and brotherhood dominate and relegate to a corner competitiveness and ambition, even if only for a few precious moments. This gives the impression that the athletes, even if they are usually opponents in the competition, feel a strong sense of belonging as the one felt by the members of the same family.
The audience of the Hungarian Grand Prix on the 26th of July 2015 witnessed a scene that was as exceptional as emotional for a F1 race: 21 drivers gathered in a circle with linked arms around their helmets on the tarmac, 15 minutes before the start of the competition.
It was the first time that such an emotional ceremony was celebrated so close to the start of a Grand Prix in the history of Formula 1.
The celebration was taken in a poignant remembrance of the French racing driver Jules Bianchi, died 9 days before from the serious head injuries he sustained in the Japanese Grand Prix in October 2014 when he crashed his Marussia car into a safety vehicle. The 25 years old from Nice had been in a coma until his death and he became the first man to die as a result of injuries sustained in a Formula 1 race since Ayrton Senna at Imola in May 1994.
Jules Bianchi’s family joined the drivers in the circle on the grid, all were united by the mutual sense of loss. Tom Bianchi placed his brother’s helmet in the space reserved for it, right at the centre of the helmets; after a minute’s silence each driver picked up his own helmet, until only Bianchi’s remained on the track. Philippe Bianchi, Jules’s father, then picked up his son’s helmet and was then embraced by some of the drivers.
Jules’s family said: “We thank Jules’s colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us to deal with such difficult times”.
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