Young hopefuls make Ferrari debut Maranello, 30 November 2009 -- Tomorrow will be a special day for Jules Bianchi. At Jerez de la Frontera, the young French driver will make his debut at the wheel of a Formula 1 car, driving a Ferrari F60. This...
Young hopefuls make Ferrari debut
Maranello, 30 November 2009 -- Tomorrow will be a special day for Jules Bianchi. At Jerez de la Frontera, the young French driver will make his debut at the wheel of a Formula 1 car, driving a Ferrari F60. This will also mark his track debut as a Scuderia driver, as Jules is tied to the Maranello squad with a multi-year contract, confirming Ferrari's commitment to young talent, a policy of which Felipe Massa is a prime example. Further and more far reaching initiatives will be established in the near future.
Jules is just twenty years old, but his track record is already pretty impressive: French Formula A karting champion in 2006, winner of the national Formula Renault title in 2007, third in the 2008 Formula 3 Euroseries and first in the Masters category at Zolder, winner of the Drivers' and Teams' championship with ART Grand Prix in this year's Formula Euroseries. Racing is very much in the blood of the Bianchi family: his grandfather Mauro was a three time winner of the world title in the GT category, his great-uncle Lucien had several successes, including winning Le Mans in 1969 in a Ford and the 1962 12 Hours of Sebring with Ferrari, as well as competing in 19 Formula 1 Grands Prix.
We met up with Jules, when he was in Maranello recently to be briefed by his engineers ahead of the Jerez test.
How do you feel going into this test?
"I am more than happy! It is difficult for me to explain how I feel, but it is something special. I know this is the first step on a journey that could turn out very nicely, but I'm equally aware that there is still a long way to go to get to Formula 1. In fact, next year, I'm competing in GP2 with ART Grand Prix and that will be the series in which I have to prove my worth."
What were your first impressions of Maranello?
"Before coming to the Gestione Sportiva, I had not yet realised just what this meant. I have to say it was an absolutely fantastic feeling, getting into the F60 cockpit to prepare for the Jerez test. I also had a go on the simulator to get my confidence up with the steering wheel and all its buttons and switches. It will be important for me to go well on track, to get to know the car and, step by step, to grow as a driver, thanks to the support of the team. Lap times definitely won't count for much..."
Where do you see yourself in a year's time?
"I hope to finish in the top three in GP2 and to have shown my talent so that I can move up still further. If things didn't go that well, then it would be further motivation to do well the following year. One thing's for sure, I'm not the sort to let adversity get me down."
Jules will drive the F60 for two days, before making way for three very young colleagues. As in 2008, Ferrari, in collaboration with the CSAI, will give the top three finishers in the Italian Formula 3 Championship -- Italians Daniel Zampieri and Marco Zipoli and the Mexican, Pablo Sanchez Lopez -- the opportunity over the course of the day, to take turns at the wheel of the car that competed in this year's Formula 1 world championship.