Bianchi breathing unaided, moved to French hospital
Formula 1's Jules Bianchi is no longer in an artifical coma and is now breathing unaided, his parents confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.
It's the first update on Bianchi's condition for almost two weeks, and it comes six weeks after his freak accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in early October.
The Marussia driver suffered a diffuse axonal head injury when his car slid off the circuit and contacted a recovery vehicle, with his helmet taking a heavy impact with the rear of the vehicle.
Whilst he is no longer in an induced coma, he remains unconscious and in a critical condition, but encouraging signs means he has now been transferred from Yokkaichi's hospital to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice nearer his home.
"Jules is no longer in the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after the accident, however he is still unconscious," read the statement.
"He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as 'critical'. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function.
"Jules' neurological condition remains stable. Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France.
"We are relieved, therefore, to confirm that Jules was transferred aeromedically last night from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, Japan, to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), where he arrived just a short time ago.
"Jules is now in the intensive care unit of Professors Raucoules and Ichai, where his care will also be monitored by Professor Paquis, Head of Neurosurgery Service."
His family continued to thank the doctors treating Bianchi and expressed their delight in having him continue his treatment in France.
"We are thankful that the next phase of Jules' treatment can continue close to home, where he can be surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends," it added.
"We have nothing but praise for the outstanding care provided by the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center since the accident.
"We owe the medical staff there an enormous debt of gratitude for everything they have done for Jules, and also for our family, during what is a very difficult time for us.
"In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Doctors Kamei and Yamamichi, and also to Mr Ogura, all part of the team of personnel caring for Jules in Japan."