“Jules Bianchi’s death is a tragic reminder that motorsport is dangerous. Always has been; always will be.”
I need no reminding of this for, as a child, I used to accompany my parents to the notoriously demanding TT motorcycle races on the Isle of Man, where I regarded the stars who stayed with us at the Castle Mona Hotel as my uncles.
It was not unknown for one of them to come down to breakfast in his leathers, and then fail to return from that day’s racing. More than 200 riders have lost their lives at the TT since it began 108 years ago and, according to my research, at least 50 drivers have perished in Formula 1 since the world championship began at Silverstone in 1950. Over the course of his racing career, Sir Jackie Stewart lost many of his racing friends and colleagues, including two of the greatest world champions, Jim Clark and Jochen Rindt, and Stewart’s Tyrrell team-mate, the charismatic Frenchman François Cevert. How can anyone cope with that? Why do they so enthusiastically compete in a sport that can have such severe consequences? Why do they even return after suffering serious injuries? The simple answer is that they are a very special breed, quite unlike the rest of us. They are ultra-