Among those reported to have been in attendance were Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Pastor Maldonado, Marcus Ericsson, Roberto Merhi, and his former Marussia teammate Max Chilton, who dedicated his Indy Lights win this past weekend in Iowa to his fallen comrade. FIA president Jean Todt was also there, along with fellow Frenchman and four-time world champion Alain Prost, and senior figures from the Manor/Marussia team.
A talented racing driver rising up through the ranks, Bianchi was driving for Marussia when he crashed into a recovery vehicle at Suzuka during the Japanese Grand Prix there last year. He suffered critical head injuries, from which he struggled – and ultimately failed – to recover. After a nine-month fight for his life, Jules died this past weekend. He was only 25 years old, and had a promising career ahead of him – including a possible drive at Ferrari, which had already selected him as its next racing driver to replace Kimi Raikkonen sooner or later.
Sadly, this was not the first time the Bianchi family lost one of its own in a racing accident. His great uncle Lucien (Luciano) Bianchi died at age 34 in a testing accident in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1969, twenty years before Jules was born. Lucien's brother Mauro (Jules' grandfather) was also a formula and sports car racing driver, but retired after his brother's death. In a permanent memorial to Jules, the FIA announced that it would retire his number 17 from the world championship forever.