FIA retires number 17 as tribute to late driver Bianchi

Paris, July 20 (IANS) Motorsports’ world governing body FIA on Monday decided to retire the number 17 for Formula One cars as an “appropriate gesture” for late driver Jules Bianchi.

Bianchi, 25, died on Friday night, nine months after suffering severe head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. His funeral will be held on Tuesday.

Bianchi had been in coma since October after his Marussia car collided with a recovery vehicle in wet conditions during the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix.

FIA president Jean Todt announced the decision of retiring the car number.

“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,” FIA said in a statement on Monday.

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