Jules Bianchi

Farewell Jules, and thank you. I will always remember you.

I wrote the following message on our Facebook page, it seems appropriate to post it here as well...

The family of Jules Bianchi have delivered the news that we were all afraid of by announcing the passing of Jules Bianchi. 

When Jules had his accident in Japan last year, Zach and I were both terribly busy right after the race and eventually managed to record the podcast but it was very tough to control the emotions were both feeling. In one sense, we were probably avoiding dealing with it for as long as possible.

Writing a column about the accident gave me a chance to take comfort in Formula One's excellent safety record - no driver fatalities during races since Ayrton Senna, 20 years earlier - but in reality things were very different.

Two years ago at the Canadian Grand Prix a marshal died after being struck by a crane on the track. Later that year Maria De Villota passed away from injuries she sustained from a very serious crash during an F1 testing session. 

This year at the Albert Park Grand Prix the Australian fans were denied the opportunity to see Fernando Alonso race as he was still recovering from an incident during testing in Jerez where he mysteriously veered off-track and needed to be placed in a coma to stabilise his condition. 

Jules was a young driver with a promising future, the composure of an F1 star with the talent to back it up. There was something different about him as if he transcended the common label of a "pay-driver". In a sport that doesn't always reward talent with the fastest cars, we somehow took for granted that the sport would nurture and protect him. 

His accident led to a review of Formula 1 safety standards, and I understand there are people working tirelessly to make the sport safer, but there is still a long road ahead and plenty of work to do. Despite their best efforts, in reality the safety record that the sport prides itself on is not much more than luck, a commodity that has now seemingly run out completely.

Using tags like ‪#‎ForzaJules‬ no longer seem appropriate or in any way adequate to describe how we're all feeling.

We all want change in the sport, but more accurately we want improvements. I can only add my voice to the growing number in our circle who are disgusted at the thought of actually making it more dangerous. Moments like this highlight just how ludicrous that proposition actually is.

It's common for personalities who follow sports to say that their thoughts and feelings go out the grieving family, and naturally this applies to us as well. Perhaps more value though, our thoughts go out to our followers and all F1 fans.

We know how you are feeling because we feel the same way. If anyone needs anything you know how to reach us and encourage you to do so if you feel it will help you deal with this tragic event.

Farewell Jules, and thank you. I will always remember you.

^ Rodney