More to this story

Formula One is as safe as it has ever been but danger will always be part of the sport, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said after the death of French driver Jules Bianchi.

Bianchi, 25, died in hospital in Nice, southern France, on Friday after nine months in a coma following his horrific accident at the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

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

The Marussia driver, popular and tipped for a stellar future after coming through the Ferrari academy, skidded off the track in wet conditions and fading light while yellow warning flags were being waved to tell drivers to slow down.

He smashed into a recovery tractor that was removing another crashed car.


Featured: Rationalising risks inside the cockpit


"If you were to choose to have an accident today in anything, you'd choose a Formula One [car] because it's probably the safest it's ever been," the 84-year-old Briton told BBC radio.

"What actually happened to Jules was just very, very, very unfortunate.

"Of course it's dangerous. They have 20 races a year, so you see how many accidents there are. We do our best, or always have done our best, for driver safety."

Ecclestone added that the accident was a tragic waste of talent and must never happen again.

Formula One's governing body has introduced a number of safety measures after the crash at Suzuka, including the use of a 'virtual safety car' and making the area around the cockpit stronger.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) said Bianchi's death was a reminder that more could always be done, however.

Source: Reuters