F1 driver Bianchi critical after crash

French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi is in a critical condition after crashing at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Marussia Formula One driver Jules Bianchi is in a critical condition after crashing at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Frenchman was unconscious when he was taken to a nearby hospital following a crash during Sunday's rain-shortened race and was undergoing emergency surgery after a scan revealed a severe head injury.

According to FIA officials, the 25-year-old Bianchi will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored after the surgery.

The race was red-flagged with nine laps to go after Bianchi went off at Turn 7, where Sauber's Adrian Sutil had crashed earlier.

The Sauber was being recovered by a crane when Bianchi went off.

Sutil indicated Bianchi's car had hit the crane.

"I aquaplaned," Sutil said. "The rain got more and more. One lap later with waved yellow flags, Jules came around and had the same spin there and that was it. It was the same crash but the outcome was different. The car came out to rescue my car and it all happened."

Sunday's race started at 3pm local time. An approaching typhoon led to suggestions that the race would be pushed up to an earlier start.

At the time of the crash, rain was falling steadily and it was getting dark. Several drivers complained of not being able to see properly.

The first nine laps were run behind a safety car and it started to rain heavily again near the end of the race.

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