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F1 drivers to attend Bianchi’s funeral

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F1 drivers to attend Bianchi's funeralA number of current F1 drivers will travel to Nice on Tuesday for the funeral of their fallen rival Jules Bianchi.

Germany’s Sport Bild claims that Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg will be among the late 25-year-old’s closest friends and family as they farewell the former Marussia driver.

The entire grid, meanwhile, will reportedly pause for a minute’s silence ahead of what will be a sombre Hungarian grand prix this weekend.

And FIA president Jean Todt, whose son Nicholas was close to Bianchi, has announced that the driver’s personal race number 17 will be permanently retired from F1.

“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,” a statement confirmed.

It is also believed the former Marussia team, Manor, will carry Jules’ name on the sidepods of Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens’ cars this weekend in Hungary.

The backmarker team, having entered administration at the end of last year, only survived to tackle the 2015 season because of the millions in official prize money secured with Bianchi’s against-the-odds points in Monaco.

Russian tycoon Andrei Cheglakov has told The Independent newspaper that he decided to quit F1 as a direct result of the Bianchi crash in Japan last October.

“After what happened in Japan I was so deeply depressed because you have a responsibility for people working for you,” he told business journalist Christian Sylt and Aaron Rook. (Gmm)

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