It has been confirmed this afternoon by the FIA that they will be retiring the number 17 in Formula One as a mark of respect to Jules Bianchi who tragically passed away nine months after his horrific accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.
The FIA confirmed the decision as follows in a statement to the media this afternoon:-
‘As F1 car numbers are now personally chosen by each driver, the FIA believes it to be an appropriate gesture to retire Jules Bianchi’s number 17.
‘As a result, this number can no longer be used for a car competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship.’
With the announcement from the Bianchi family that his funeral will be taking place tomorrow at 10am at the Sainte Reparate Cathedral in Nice where everyone can say their final farewells and their respects to him, this is a nice gesture from the FIA and shows just how much he was thought of by the sport that he loved so dearly and who also loved him back just as much.
Bianchi competed in 34 races during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He was the first driver to die of injuries sustained in an F1 race since three-time world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.