Ferrari helping Bianchi’s F1 bid

2013 F1 season

Jules Bianchi, Force India, Hungaroring, 2012Ferrari are trying to help development driver Jules Bianchi find a place on the grid for 2013, the team has confirmed.

“We are currently trying to find him a role in Formula One and when we have some news, we will let you know,” said team principal Stefano Domenicali.

Bianchi, who finished as runner-up in Formula Renault 3.5 last year, has been part of Ferrari’s Driver Academy since 2009 and tested for the team on several occasions.

Last year he made nine appearance during practice sessions for Force India. They are one of two teams yet to announce their driver line-up for 2013.

Paul di Resta is expected to retain his place at the team and Bianchi is believed to be in the running for the second seat.

The only other vacancy in the 2013 driver line-up is alongside Charles Pic at Caterham.

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26 comments on Ferrari helping Bianchi’s F1 bid

  1. Adam Blocker (@blockwall2) said on 16th January 2013, 12:06

    Why not give him Massa seat then?

  2. So it is likely then that we will see Bianchi paired with Di Resta. Not the most exciting of line-ups but it will be very interesting to see if Bianchi can get the better of Di Resta as they season progresses: if Ferrari are interested in him we can assume they must know he is pretty quick.

    • mhop (@mhop) said on 16th January 2013, 20:51

      Ferrari’s protege vs. Mercedes’ protege. I’d say that’s pretty exciting!

      Not sure what this cynicism about Bianchi is all about. He’s obviously a talent and has excellent pedigree in the lower series. Better than the bulk of the current F1 field I would wager?

      • @mhop – it is all relative: I don’t disagree with you that Bianchi is a very good driver but I feel there are more exciting drivers out there. For sure though Bianchi is a much more promising driver than Gutierrez for example!

  3. OllieJ (@olliej) said on 16th January 2013, 12:22

    If both Bianchi and van der Garde gets F1 seats next year I think it will be a sad reflection on the state of the sport. I’m struggling to think of another driver who’s been less impressive in the lower formulae when compared to expectations. Except perhaps Esteban Gutierrez!

    • Don’t worry, we might get Felix Da Costa next season (or even halfway through this season if one of the current Toro Rosso drivers severly underperforms)! I rate Bianchi much more highly than Gutierrez though, Bianchi appears to be a good driver whereas I have a feeling Gutierrez is just a pay driver i.e. lacks any sort of real talent and will probably be trounced by Hulkenberg, although I shall reserve final judgement until at least a few races have passed.

      One current upshot for the sport appears to be Valterri Bottas; he appears to have genuine speed and if he can challenge Maldonado on pure pace (as I do think Maldonado is actually a very fast driver) then I think we can reasonably say that he is worthy of a place in F1.

      • OllieJ (@olliej) said on 16th January 2013, 12:37

        You’ve just cheered me up a lot! Hopefully 2013 is just a blip and next year we’ll see a lot of genuinely exciting talents like da Costa and Frijns get promoted.
        Of the three I mentioned I’m probably being a bit hard on Biachi. If it was just him entering F1 this year it wouldn’t be such a problem, but there’s so many underperforming drivers being promoted because teams need the money, need a specific nationality or have been funding a driver’s career for too long and find it too embarassing to admit they don’t have what it takes.
        Almost makes me miss the manufacturer domination. At least then all the drivers on the grid were there on merit.

      • mhop (@mhop) said on 16th January 2013, 21:24

        @vettel1
        I’d be interested to know why you think Maldonado is a very fast driver. Because he was faster than the totally unproven commodity that is Bruno Senna last year? Genuine question… not baiting.

        • @mhop – of course we don’t know the genuine pace the FW34 had but Maldonado frequently proved in qualifying that he has speed: twice he qualified on the front row last season and twice on the second, whereas Senna, although an unknown entity, failed to make the cut in Q2 frequently. Not to say he is a complete driver though, as absolutely he needs to be ‘tamed’ but the talent and pace is there I believe.

          • mhop (@mhop) said on 16th January 2013, 22:13

            @vettel1
            I guess we’ll get a better idea this year. I don’t really draw any conclusions from Maldonado’s performances in 2012. In 2011, though, he seemed ok in comparison to Barrichello. However, he did make a lot of mistakes that year too.

            Also I’m not 100% sure if I believe in the ‘taming’ metaphor for racing drivers. I think the ability to race and go wheel-to-wheel with a competitor can be just as innate as ‘natural’ pace.

          • @mhop – by “tame” I mean that the aggression needs to be controlled and funnelled, so he doesn’t simply crash into everyone! I think he is just simply reckless and doesn’t effectively control his aggression, so perhaps an ice-cool Finn will help to neutralise the fire in Maldonado? I guess we’ll find out, along with his true pace, this year; roll on March 17th!

        • Fernando Cruz said on 17th January 2013, 11:17

          Maldonado is like Hamilton in raw pace, he’s one of the fastest in qualifying. He didn’t beat only a Bruno Senna that had the massive disadvantage of losing FP1. He also managed to beat proven winners and champions with a Williams that was not particularly strong in qualifying, due to a poor DRS.

          You’d be surprised to see how Paul Di Resta could suffer if Bruno Senna could get the Force India seat. I don’t expect Bruno would do what even Hulkenberg didn’t do at the first half of the year, but I’m sure the underrated Bruno would be a match for the slightly overrated Di Resta. In race pace he is as fast, he is also as consistent as the scot and he could improve a lot in qualifying with 2013 tyres, suiting more his driving style. This would help him maybe even more than having the same amount of track time of his rivals. Also Paul Di Resta is not as fast in a single lap as Maldonado.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th January 2013, 13:49

      @olliej – I wouldn’t go lumping Bianchi into the same bracket as van der Garde like that. Bianchi might have disappointed by failing to fulfil the promise he showed when he dominated Formula 3, but that doesn’t make him a lame duck. He was third in GP2 for two years running, and second in the final season of GP2 Asia and last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship. Compare that to van der Garde, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series title in 2008, only to spend the next four years bouncing between GP2 teams without matching his previous results (even when he was driving for a top team, like Barwa Addax) and getting embroiled in controversies over the status of his contract as a test driver.

  4. Eggry (@eggry) said on 16th January 2013, 12:29

    Special price of 2014 engine would be enough for a seat of Force India. I guess Ferrari want B-team like Toro Rosso. Sauber have had sort of role for years but the seats is not always available and usually only 1 seat has been available for Ferrari’s interest. so I believe Ferrari want to secure another seat from midfield team and they choose Force India. also the rumor that Toro Rosso would abandon Ferrari engine for Renault next year, they need to find another engine customer. The problem is, how FI’s technical partnership with Mclaren would unfold?

    • Asanator (@asanator) said on 16th January 2013, 13:53

      Don’t know about ‘abandoning’ the Ferrari Engine, after the way they handed Vettel their positions in Brazil I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari are withdrawing their engines from Torro Rosso!

      • Mads (@mads) said on 16th January 2013, 15:21

        @asanator
        In a way I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari did, but on the other hand it would at no point stop Torro Rosso from giving up places for the Red Bull drivers.
        Ferrari would simply loose money from not having that engine deal.
        But it would make sense for Torro Rosso to want a Renault engine, as they could then use Red Bull’s gearbox, hydraulics, Kers and Ters (in 2014). That would make sense for Torro Rosso, just to strengthen the partnership between the teams. That could also present an economical benefit as well. Red Bull Racing would also gather more data on those units which could help them catch reliability issues much earlier in 2014 when they all brand new and with very few kilometers on them from testing.
        In the end it would just loose them some cash, without stopping Torro Rosso from helping Red Bull. On that basis I doubt that Ferrari would be the ones to end the partnership.

      • @asanator – isn’t Ferrari’s engine department a separate entity from the F1 team though? Anyway, it isn’t exactly a common occurrence that Vettel has to overtake a Toro Rosso (indeed, we’ve had Brazil & Abu Dhabi…that’s about it really over the past 4 years!) so for Ferrari to withdraw their deal, which undoubtably makes them money to fund their own efforts, isn’t likely. @mads is entirely correct with what he has said: in actual fact I think losing the deal with Toro Rosso would handicap them in that the have lost crucial development money to take the fight to Red Bull.

  5. Dev (@dev) said on 16th January 2013, 13:41

    Sauber have signed up Merc engines for 2014; that makes Force India to go for Bianchi & Ferrari engine… it’s jus a matter of time we hear confirmation…. and Sutil will be at caterham he got sponsors plus experience..

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th January 2013, 13:51

      @dev

      Sauber have signed up Merc engines for 2014; that makes Force India to go for Bianchi & Ferrari engine… it’s jus a matter of time we hear confirmation

      The funny thing about confirmation is that it is the only thing that actually confirms something. Right now, there is speculation that Sauber are seeking a Mercedes engine deal for 2014, and speculation that Force India are looking to get Ferrari engines, but there has been no confirmation of either being true, much less finalised.

    • wsrgo said on 17th January 2013, 11:39

      @dev Sauber have shot down that speculation. So, as of now, there are no leads.

  6. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 16th January 2013, 15:27

    Perhaps a bit of money coming Force India’s way?

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th January 2013, 21:10

    Looks like he’ll go to FI really.

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