Anton Andres / Jules Bianchi Official | July 21, 2015 14:44
Bianchi would have had Ferrari seat as early as 2016
After the death of Jules Bianchi last July 18, former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said Jules Bianchi would have raced for Ferrari in upcoming seasons. "He was the driver we had chosen for the future, once the collaboration with Kimi Raikkonen had finished." said di Montezemolo.
For his performance in the 2014 season, Bianchi had been earmarked to drive for another Ferrari customer team Sauber for the 2015 season. Di Montezemolo added that had Bianchi not had the accident, he could have been chosen to drive for Ferrari as early as 2016. "Jules was one of us; part of the Ferrari family.” said di Montezemolo.
Before entering Formula One, Bianchi has been racing Formula cars since he was 17. He started out in Formula Renault 2.0 and finished the season as series champion with five wins. Bianchi spent the next two and a half years in Formula 3 Euro and ran a dominating season in his sophomore year. In mid-2009, Bianchi applied for the Ferrari Driver Academy program and was an official member of the test team by late 2010. He took over Luca Badaoer as a Ferrari test driver. In 2012, Bianchi was loaned to Force India as a reserve driver.
Bianchi made his Formula One debut in 2013 and has been consistently faster than team mate, Max Chilton. His highest finish in his debut season was 13th and first scored points in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix where he finished 9th. Days before his fatal accident, Bianchi said he was “ready” to step in Ferrari the moment mentor Fernando Alonso leaves for McLaren.
Luca di Montezemolo said, “The Suzuka incident took away from us a first-rate person; reserved, quick, very educated, very close to Ferrari, who knew how to interact with the engineers.”
Source: BBC Sport