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Jules Bianchi

DRIVER PAGE
31/12/2014

PORTRAIT

STATISTICS (PRIOR TO 2015)

Seasons in Formula 1:
Races contested:
Total number of championships:
Total number of wins:
Total number of pole positions:
Total number of fastest laps:
Total number of points:
2014 - number of wins:
2014 - number of poles:
2014 - number of fastest laps:
2014 - points:
2014 - championship position:

2
34
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
2
17

DETAILS

Jules Bianchi

DOB:
Age:
Height:
Weight:
Status:
Born:
Lives:

03/08/1989
25
1.79m
68kg
Single
Nice, France
Milan, Italy

Official website:
www.jules-bianchi.com

BIOGRAPHY

Jules can certainly claim to have motor racing in his DNA, what with his grandfather being a three-time World Champion in GT racing and his granduncle having won the Le Mans 24 Hours and contested nineteen F1 Grands Prix between 1959 and 1968.

After a successful career in karts, which included winning the 2005 Asia-Pacific Championship (Formula A) and the 2006 French Championship (Formula A 100 cc), not to mention finishing runner up in World Cup and third in the Italian Championship, Jules made the switch to single-seaters in 2007, winning the French Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at the first attempt.

That same season, the Nice born driver also contested three rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Europcup, scoring one pole and one fastest lap.

The following season he moved up to the Formula Three Euroseries with ART Grand Prix, ultimately finishing third in the championship courtesy of two wins and seven podiums. That same year, the French youngster finished 9th in Macau but won the prestigious F3 Masters event at Zolder.

He remained in the Formula Three Euroseries in 2009, this time securing the title with nine wins and twelve podiums. Finishing tenth in Macau he also scored a fourth in the F3 Masters event at Zandvoort.

The youngster rounded of a perfect year with a test with Ferrari at Jerez, his performance good enough to secure him a place with the Ferrari Driver Academy. Indeed, earlier in the year, following Felipe Massa's accident at the Hungaroring, young Jules was mentioned as a possible replacement for the Brazilian, a role subsequently filled by Luca Badoer and then Giancarlo Fisichella.

For 2010 he made the obvious move up to GP2, remaining with ART Grand Prix, the team founded by the man who now managed him, Nicolas Todt.

Having got the season underway by contesting three rounds of the GP2 Asia series, Jules was one of the hot favourites for the main series. While there were no wins, there were podium finishes in Monaco, Valencia and Silverstone. However, a first lap crash in Hungary looked to have brought his season to an early end, the French youngster sustaining a fractured second lumbar vertebra.

Thankfully, Jules was fully recovered in time for the next race almost a month later, with a strong weekend in Monza helping him secure third place in the championship.

In November 2010, Jules was officially confirmed as Ferrari's test and reserve driver for 2011. He subsequently took part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, finishing fifth quickest over the course of the two days.

For 2011 he remained in GP2 with ART where he was partnered by 2010 GP3 Series champion Esteban Gutierrez.

In the decimated GP2 Asia series, though he starred in the Feature Race of the opening round of the GP2 Asia Series at Yas Marina, he lost his fourth place in the Sprint Race when the stewards ruled he had not "respected yellow flags" during the event. Still looking good for the title, his hopes ended when he was the innocent victim of a mistake by Fairuz Fauzy at the start of the Sprint Race at Imola, consequently he finished runner-up.

In the main series, following a difficult start to the season when he only scored points in two of first eight races, a string of good results, beginning with a win in the Feature Race at Silverstone, saw Jules finish third behind Romain Grosjean and Luca Filippi.

In September 2011, Jules tested for Ferrari as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy along with fellow academy member and Sauber driver Sergio Perez. He also drove all three days of the Young Driver Test at Yas Marina for Ferrari, posting the second best time overall, albeit 1.362s off Jean-Eric Vergne's best.

While it was widely expected that he would be retained by Ferrari for 2012, on 27 January it was revealed that Jules would be joining Force India as its reserve driver.

Along with his Force India duties, which saw him take part in nine Friday practice sessions over the course of the year, and the F1 test at Mugello (Force India) and Young Driver Test in Magny Cours (Ferrari), Jules opted to switch to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for 2012, following his one-off appearance in the category in 2009.

Signed by Tech 1 Racing, Jules finished runner-up (to Robin Frijns) his three wins and five other podium visits leaving him just four points adrift of the Dutchman.

In the final race of the season (Barcelona), Jules was involved in a collision with Frijns. The Frenchman passed his Dutch rival at the start of lap 21, and Frijns was soon under more pressure from Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen made an attempt to pass Frijns at the Repsol corner, but the Dutch youngster moved to block him. The move forced Jules wide, and he skirted across the gravel trap and into the wall and retirement. Frijns went on to finish the race in seventh place, but the race stewards decided he had caused an avoidable collision and subsequently added twenty-five seconds to his race time, thereby demoting him to fourteenth.

As Jules, who was 4 points adrift of the Dutchman, failed to score, and fellow title rival Sam Bird had failed to score enough points, Frijns title remained intact. In the days following the event, Jules accused the Dutch racer of intentionally running him off the road, a charge Frijns steadfastly denied.

Linked with the full race seat with Force India for 2013, along with Adrian Sutil, on 28 February, halfway through the first day of the final official pre-season test, the German was confirmed as the Silverstone outfit's second driver, seemingly condemning Jules to the sidelines once again. However, later the very next day the French youngster was confirmed at Marussia the Russian outfit having had to let Luiz Razia go after the Brazilian was unable to meet his financial agreement with the team.

It was widely believed the deal was being underwritten by Ferrari, not only in terms of getting the youngster into a seat but with an eye also on the new formula for 2014 when Marussia would need a new engine supplier to replace Cosworth.

The team spent 2013, much like previous seasons, locked in its own little world championship with Caterham, occasionally snapping at the heels of those losing ground to the midfield but more often than not squabbling over the scraps that nobody else wanted.

The MR02's extraordinary reliability paid dividends when Jules finished 13th in Malaysia, the second race of the season, for this was enough to give the Russian team the edge over Caterham in terms of the Constructors' Championship at season end and the substantial FOM prize money that came with it.

The Frenchman usually had the edge in qualifying, but in all honesty the equipment at their disposal meant that neither driver was ever really able to show what he was truly capable of.

Having qualified 19th for the Australian Grand Prix, Jules overtook Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap and eventually finished 15th, while Belgium was the scene of his best qualifying performance of the year, putting the red and black car 15th on the grid.

With the team opting to retain both drivers for 2014, as widely predicted, it confirmed that it would Ferrari engines, a move forced on the team after Cosworth elected not to build a power unit for the new formula.

Missing the first two days of the Jerez test, Marussia was finally on track (sort of) for the final two days. We say 'sort of' because Chilton only completed 5 laps on his day of running and Jules just 25 next day.

However, whilst the first test in Bahrain was equally disappointing, things picked up at the second test, the duo out-pacing the Caterham and Lotus duos, not to mention Sebastian Vettel.

From the outset, battle with Caterham was resumed, with Sauber and Lotus now slipping into the rear-of-the field struggle. Q2 continued to be an elusive dream whilst race pace was also disappointing.

In Monaco however, it all came good. Jules, courtesy of a strong drive, and the over enthusiasm of others, brought the red, white and black car home in ninth to score his, and his team's, first ever championship points. It was a fantastic, much deserved, morale booster for the team, now in its fifth season, and a result that nobody in the paddock begrudged.

As is the nature of things, at the next race (Canada) both drivers were eliminated on the first lap, bringing to an end Chilton's perfect record of finishing every race he had started. Such is the nature of F1.

From the outside, the Monaco success gave the team some much needed respite for if it were to maintain tenth in the standings - ninth should Sauber fail to score any points - it would add as much as £40m to the team's coffers as well as making it more attractive to potential sponsors.

As if to reinforce the team's improving form, at Silverstone Jules made it through to Q2, putting the car 12th on the grid, with further appearances in Q2 in Hungary and Belgium.

Days after the British Grand Prix, Jules drove the much maligned Ferrari F14T during testing, completing 89 laps on his way to posting the fastest time of the day, the third best time of the entire test.

All in all, his stock was clearly rising, and amidst continued talk of three car teams in 2015 or 2016, Jules was widely linked to move up the grid to a front running team, most likely Ferrari.

At Suzuka however, the dream finally ended. On another dark day for the sport, Jules crashed into a recovery vehicle that was attempting to remove Adrian Sutil's car from the side of the track. Subsequent video footage showed the full horror of the accident, and a sport, already praying for Michael Schumacher, now found itself grieving for another one of its sons.

As the world awaited news of his condition, Marussia headed to Russia where, out of respect to the Frenchman, only one car was entered (Chilton), whilst Jules' chassis was left silent in the other garage.

In a move suggested by countryman Jean-Eric Vergne, in Russia (and beyond) cars and drivers sported decals supporting Jules whilst the lone Marussia (and all the crew) wore #JB17 logos.

As Jules continued to fight for his life, now back in hospital in France, his team was going under, and in just a matter of weeks was put in administration. Though included in the FIA's provisional entry lists, the team folded on 7 November.

Shortly after, in the wake of an investigation into the Suzuka accident, the FIA's Accident Panel found that there was no single cause for the accident but that it was the result of an unfortunate set of circumstances, including the difficult conditions, the speed he was going and the presence of a recovery vehicle on track.

In late December most of the team's assets were sold at auction, with Haas F1, due to enter the sport in 2016, said to be one of the keenest bidders.

The day after the first anniversary of Michael Schumacher's skiing accident, Jules family revealed that the French youngster's condition remains unchanged; he is unconscious but able to breathe unaided

They are both in our prayers as they continue their long, difficult path to some sort of recovery.

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