I’ve been staring at my computer screen for three hours now. The clock ticks relentlessly, the marking of time with the movement of hands clunking louder and heavier and seemingly slower every second. The electrical whirr of the fridge freezer behind me, a low monotonous mechanical dirge. The creaks of the walls. The twisting of pipes as the boiler flickers on and the flame ignites. A roar in the corner. And all the while, the endless swirling of white noise in your mind, and the deep rhythmic thud of your heartbeat.
Silence isn’t really silent at all.
Focus blurs and vision glistens. The warm emotional relief as tears flow, punctuating the numbness if only for a moment.
I have tried, and failed, to put into words what and who Jules Bianchi was. While part of me made peace with this eventuality some time ago, it is only today as I sit here trying to explain why his loss is being felt so keenly, that I realise I’m only now coming to terms with what happened nine months ago and the incredible man we lost.
I could try and recall and recount the many wonderful displays in GP2 and GP2 Asia that I had the pleasure of commentating. The doubts I had over his temperament, not to mention peripheral vision, after numerous start accidents. I could tell you about the way he matured so brilliantly in World Series, and the deep feeling of injustice he felt at the culmination of that championship year. I could go back over an interview we conducted with him in Force India overalls at testing in early 2013 in case he got the nod, and how warmly he laughed at the silliness of having to pretend that he’d been given a seat he hadn’t and ultimately wouldn’t get. His embarrassment later that year when, now as a Marussia driver, I told him in an interview he was being compared to Fernando Alonso, so impressive were his performances for a backmarker team.
How by chance I ended up being paired with him in a kart race last year and for a few glorious laps ran in his wheeltracks. I could tell you how incredible he was on a squash court, his physical and mental agility proving an unbeatable combination. And how, for the past nine months, I always held out hope of a final rematch.
How he’d always stop and talk in the paddock. How he would always make time. How he’d always invite you over for a drink at a party, put his arm around you and smile that infectious smile.
I wanted to write something long form and expansive and detailed. But I can’t right now because the silence is deafening and this hurts more than I ever realised it would.
So instead, I hope you will forgive me for uploading something of which I was incredibly proud at the time. And am even more so today. And I hope it will give some insight into not just the talented racing driver, but the wonderful person that Jules Bianchi was and the life he led with “no regrets…”
I admired you so much. Sleep well my friend.