The Japanese GP at Suzuka is known for so many things. It is the favourite track of multiple world champions, it has decided multiple titles, it has some of the most creative and entertaining fans…but it is also where we most recently lost a driver.
The GP will always be a real racer’s paradise, but it’s also a place of remembrance.
I, as a Formula 1 fan, never really talk about the Japanese Grand Prix any more. Not since 2014.
You see, we all miss Jules today as much as we did when he first went. The pain never numbs, despite his legacy still living on in a number of ways.
His accident was the first I had witnessed on live television when I was old enough to understand what the circumstances meant. The truth is, I shall never forget that moment. The sickening feeling, the panic, the sheer emotion of being helpless.
I know this one horrific event shouldn’t taint the grand prix weekend, but it does. Yes, I do fear that something similar will happen again. And yes, at the same time I realise the risks associated with racing.
But that doesn’t change the pain we feel when watching the action on track at Suzuka.
I have always loved the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka is a sensational track and it features some of the best corners on the F1 calendar.
But now, for me, there is a cloud. And it shall never lift.
Jules Bianchi was a formidable man. Above all else, his smile, along with his racing capability, is remembered.
His grin lit up the paddock. His driving abilities astonished all – who could forget him wrestling his Marussia into the points at the Monaco GP? This was Marussia’s first ever world championship point and the Frenchman had secured it.
We all know that he was destined for big things: the future Ferrari drive, a podium, a race win. For him to reach his full potential.
So while the championship battle enters its closing stages, all of our thoughts will be elsewhere, remembering Bianchi.
Jules we miss you so dearly. You are in our hearts. Forever and always.