The collective world of formula one had a sleepless night after the Japanese grand prix as it worries about critically injured Jules Bianchi.
After the likeable and talented Frenchman had brain surgery in the Mie hospital after his Suzuka collision with a recovery vehicle, specialist media reports claimed his condition was stabilising and he was breathing unaided.
The Marussia driver's father Philippe told French television: "Jules is in a bad state.
"Emergency surgery was performed because of a hematoma in his head. It will take 24 hours until we know more."
But French radio RMC reported that 25-year-old Bianchi's condition subsequently deteriorated after the four-hour surgery, requiring a second operation in the middle of the night to stop bleeding.
The report also claimed Jules Bianchi is now being artificially ventilated.
|Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Japan. (Photo: WRi2)|
Former F1 driver Alex Wurz, the newly-appointed president of the safety-oriented grand prix drivers' association GPDA, told Austrian television ORF he has limited information about Bianchi's condition.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims the impact was so strong it caused the recovery vehicle to drop Sutil's Sauber.
"We have heard he crashed into this towing vehicle and that the roll-bar was destroyed," said Austrian Wurz.
"Very shortly after the collision he was still conscious but then he became unconscious. All the time he was breathing alone and it was not necessary to resuscitate him.
"Whether this is good or bad news, I cannot judge because I'm not an expert," said Wurz.
Gary Hartstein, F1's former doctor and now an outspoken blogger, said that if it is true that Bianchi is breathing unaided, that is "really superb news".
"What is significant in the absence of other specific medical information is that this indicates how confident his surgeons and intensivists are that his neurological status is sufficiently stable to allow him that 'luxury', said Hartstein.
French media report that Bianchi's family has requested that no further official information be issued for the time being.
The L'Equipe daily quoted a French neurosurgeon as saying: "It is impossible at the moment to make a diagnosis. It is too early.
"In the coming days there will be a process of monitoring in order to make a reliable forecast."
Jules Bianchi is under contract to Ferrari's driver 'academy', and a spokesman for the Italian team said at the Mie hospital late on Sunday: "There will be no official statement tonight in order to respect the wishes of the family."
|Jules Bianchi's fans at Suzuka. (Photo: WRi2)|