- Title: Street named after Formula One driver Jules Bianchi
- Date: 23rd January 2017
- Summary: PHOTOGRAPHS OF JULES BIANCHI ON DISPLAY/PICTURES OF BIANCHI ON PERIMETER FENCE ALONG THE STREET
- Embargoed: 6th February 2017 19:44
- Keywords: Jules Bianchi Nice
- Location: NICE, FRANCE/FILE
- City: NICE, FRANCE/FILE
- Country: France
- Topics: Motor Racing,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA00260AW18F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The late French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi now has a street named after him following a ceremony in his home city of Nice on Monday (January 27).
Bianchi's father Philippe unveiled a portrait panel of the driver and a street sign at the Rue Jules Bianchi, with the dates 1989-2015 and the words 'Pilote de Formule 1.'
Bianchi, 25, died in hospital in Nice after nine months in a coma following a Japanese Grand Prix crash in October 2014 that left him with severe head injuries.
Tipped as a future Ferrari driver and race winner, Bianchi had been competing for the British-based Marussia team when his car left the track in heavy rain and collided with a mechanical lifter being used to move another car.
After the unveiling, Philippe Bianchi said the naming of a street came as a surprise.
"Were we expecting a tribute? No, it's because the town of Nice is a town Jules was very attached to. He was born there. Sadly, he left us and the kindness of the Nice mayor and Mr. (Christian) Estrosi meant that, it was an initiative they took themselves, we didn't know about it until last week. And it's very touching for us because I think one of the goals we have is for Jules to continue to live a little bit, differently now, and the fact that he has a road in Nice moves us greatly," he said.
The Bianchi family are taking legal action in the courts, as they say Bianchi's death could have been avoided.
"I'm battling, that's the right word," said Philippe Bianchi. "It's quite difficult. I don't have the response for the moment that I would hope for, which is a shame because it's a fight I'm bringing about for Jules and also for other drivers. It's important to know what happened. I think there are things that happened that day that were not normal."
Rue Jules Bianchi runs alongside the city's Allianz Riviera stadium, and links up with the Rue Camille Muffat, named after the Nice-born 2012 Olympic swimming champion who died in a helicopter crash in Argentina in March 2015 at the age of 25.
Making a speech at the presentation was Christian Estrosi, president of the regional council of Metropole Nice-Cote D'Azur. Himself a former motorcycle racer, Estrosi is now working to bring the French Formula One Grand Prix to Le Castellet circuit near Marseille.
"Nice is very attached to one of its great champions, especially when he died in such a tragic way," Estrosi said. "Our town knows how to pay tribute to him, he deserves it, and he is remembered in this road Jules Bianchi at the end of Camille Muffat walkway. They were of the same generation, they were title holders in two very different disciplines, but they are next to each other today and they bring honour to our town. They wore their colours and our colours around the world, they contributed to its national and international standing. The people of Nice were very attached to them, they were very fond of them, and today more than ever they remain with us."
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