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Biography

SEASON INFORMATION
15/08/2013

 

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 time 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.

Thought to be part of a deal which will see Marussia use Ferrari powerplants in 2014, Jules will face a baptism of fine in 2013, especially as the team is fielding two rookies.

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