World mourns the passing of Formula One driver Jules Bianchi (25)

"The pain we feel is immense and indescribable'
"The pain we feel is immense and indescribable'

The racing world is in mourning after Formula One driver Jules Bianchi died from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix.

The Frenchman's family posted the sad news on Bianchi's official Twitter feed, and it was later confirmed by the Manor F1 team.

Bianchi, 25, had been in a coma since the October 5 accident in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car.

A statement issued by his parents Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Melanie said: ''Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end. The pain we feel is immense and indescribable.''

The Manor team tweeted: ''We are devastated to lose Jules after such a hard-fought battle. It was a privilege to have him race for our team.''

Bianchi's father Philippe had spoken earlier this month about having become ''less optimistic'' of his son's recovery.

''It's impossible,'' he told radio station France Info on July 13.

''You sometimes feel like you are going mad. For me, it is more terrible than if he had died in the accident because we have no power to help him more.

''Generally, progress must be made in the first six months. It has been nine months and Jules has not woken up and there has been no significant progress.

''It is hard to get up in the morning when you are not sure if your son will live and when every day is like that.

''Time passes and I am less optimistic than I was two or three months after the accident, when we could hope for better progress.''

Bianchi died at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in his home town of Nice, where he had been since his emergency treatment in Japan in the days after the accident.

The family statement continued: ''We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice's CHU who looked after him with love and dedication.

''We also thank the staff of the General Medical Centre in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.

''Furthermore, we thank Jules' colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times.''

Bianchi's accident prompted F1 to alter its safety regulations and stop a race faster under caution-flag conditions.

Tributes were flooding in on Saturday for Bianchi, who competed in 34 races over the 2013 and 2014 seasons, scoring the first championship points for Manor - then known as Marussia - by finishing fifth at last year's Monaco Grand Prix.

Mario Andretti, the 1978 F1 world champion, tweeted: ''My heartfelt condolences to the Jules_Bianchi family for this very sad ending of a promising young life. My prayers are with you. RIPJules.''

British driver Max Chilton tweeted: ''No words can describe what his family & the sport have lost. All I can say it was a pleasure knowing & racing you.''

Dario Franchitti, the four-time Indy Car Series champion and three-time Indy 500 winner, tweeted: ''Rest in peace Jules Bianchi. This sport that we love can be very cruel.''