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Russian GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
10/10/2014

Graeme, thanks for standing in for John Booth who is still in Japan. Is there anything you would like to tell us?
Graeme Lowdon: It's been an incredibly difficult week for Formula One but it's been an incredibly difficult week for our team. As you know, my team-mate Jules Bianchi had a terrible accident in Suzuka. He's in hospital there. He's in a critical condition and the thoughts of everybody in the team, and I know much wider than that, are with Jules at this moment and also with his family. It has been a really difficult time for the team, but I have to say we have been helped enormously by the Formula One family. I think it would have been really difficult for us to get through this week without the help of some very key people.

I'd like to personally thanks Marco Mattiacci for his support and kindness, not just in his role at Ferrari, but personally as well. He was at the hospital immediately afterwards and I know provided an awful lot of comfort to those that were there. The Ferrari team also arranged for Professor Alessandro Frati to be present and I know that gave an awful lot of comfort to us, to the people that were there at the hospital and the family. So from our team to the Ferrari team we really want to offer a lot of thanks, it really made a difference. Also at the hospital was Professor Gerard Saillant from the FIA and I think we have to thank Jean Todt for arranging that. I think that was extremely helpful as well and certainly provided support to us. I know Jules is very close with his management team - Alessandro Bravi and Nicolas Todt - and I think they did an exceptional job looking after their driver. It's been a very, very difficult time but it's also been a time that has reminded us of just how much support there is for people within this sport, looking at the wider picture and the fans. Jules is an exceptional Formula One driver but he is also an exceptional human being. I don't know a single person who doesn't like him.

You wouldn't wish that accident on anybody. Certainly Jules has so many friends that it has really hit home very hard to a lot of people. Our priority from this point onwards is obviously to Jules and his family and we want to provide them with the maximum amount of support at what is really a very, very difficult time. From our point of view both myself and John Booth, and as you mentioned John is the team principal and the team principal is the most important person in the team and he has remained in Japan to offer what support he can, None of us are medical people - we can't help in that area - but we can provide another form of support, which we hope helps at a really difficult time. From a team point of view we want to thank everyone who has provided support, especially the fans.

Thank you very much, Graeme, thank you. In fact, I'd like to ask all of you for your feelings and thoughts on last weekend. Marco, as you've obviously been a great support to Graeme and the Marussia team perhaps you would start?
Marco Mattiacci: It has been and it still is an extremely painful week for all of us on Formula One, but specifically for all of us at Ferrari, because Jules is a Ferrari driver, he's part of the Ferrari family and he is one of us. So we are extremely in pain at the moment. We have been trying to stay as close as we can to the family and we will keep doing this. To go to this weekend, we do it with a lot of pain but we are here to race, having Jules in our hearts. That's, at the moment, what I have to say.

Eric?
Eric Boullier: It has been an extremely painful week. Someone from the F1 community got injured and on top of that he's French and I'm French so I have known him for a long time, so I'm very sensitive about what happened and followed it very closely. All in McLaren we are very concerned and we pray for him and I think all our thoughts today are with him and his family, which I think are gathered around him now.

Monisha?
Monisha Kaltenborn: For all of us it's been emotionally a very difficult week. Particular regarding Jules, we've known him also for quite a while. It's simply these kind of tragic incidents that really get you out of balance and you just can't go to business as usual and our thoughts, our prayers are all with him and it'll take a while until you really can realise what's happened. We spoke also to Adrian about the situation and it's also very tough for him - standing right there. So it's not easy.

Franz.
Franz Tost: Yeah, the team is still shocked about everything, because Jules was many times with us, he is a very close friend of Jean-Eric Vergne and of course it's a very difficult time and our thoughts are with Jules and the family and I hope that he recovers.

And Christian.
Christian Horner: Yeah, at times like this everything else becomes unimportant. Even though we are competitors on track when somebody gets injured the immediate priority has to go to the wellbeing of that individual. It was a shocking accident. One could say he was unlucky or not, that's irrelevant at the end of the day. I have to say I know the effect it has had within our team with our drivers. I can only imagine... or I can't even begin to imagine what Graeme and John have had to deal with this week. When you have a team-mate in as serious difficult as Jules appears to be in it's very tough. I think the support that everybody had offered through Marussia, through Ferrari, to the family and close friends and relatives of Jules has been absolutely first rate. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with him and hopefully for there to be some positive news in the coming days.

Graeme it must have been a difficult decision to decide to even run one car here?
GL: It was a difficult decision. The main thing we wanted to do was to do something useful and supportive as much as we can for Jules and for Jules' family - that was our primary objective. Also we're lying ninth in the FIA World Championship at the moment and that's a very important position for us and we're largely in that position because of Jules and therefore... you know he's a racing driver and he would want us to so the best we can. We thought that the right thing to do was to come here, take part in the event but as a mark of support to Jules and as a mark of respect to his mum and dad and to Jules' family we would withdraw the second car. It's fully scrutineered, it's there, it's ready to go, it's in the garage. It's got Jules' race number on it. We found that was something that we could do. Also it's been useful for the people in our team as well. They want to do an expression of support for Jules so I hope people understand what we've done and why we've done it and even if it makes a small difference it makes a difference in the right place. I have to say as well we did seek opinion from a lot of people to ensure we made the right decision. On a personal note I cannot speak to highly of the support that our team and myself have had from Bernie Ecclestone. Right from the accident occurring... in these situations, which are incredibly difficult, it's incredibly reassuring to know that people care and if I could sum up the support we've had from Bernie, it's that he cares. That has been extremely valuable and extremely helpful.

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