• Ferrari

Bianchi signs long-term contract with Ferrari

ESPNF1 Staff
December 2, 2009 « Soucek eyes F1 seat but not at Campos | »
Jules Bianchi got the position having tested for the team in Jerez © Sutton Images

Jules Bianchi has signed a long-term contract with Ferrari on the back of his debut test with the team at Jerez.

Bianchi has been given an undefined role at the team but it is believed to be similar to the one that saw Felipe Massa progress at Ferrari in the mid 2000s. The team has been criticised in the past for not bringing new talent to the sport and this year had to replace the injured Massa with 38-year-old test driver Luca Badoer.

Bianchi will continue his own development, racing in GP2 next season with his manager Nicloas Todt's team, ART Grand Prix. Todt also manages Massa and has close links with Ferrari, stretching back to when his father, FIA President Jean Todt, ran the team.

"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 One," said Bianchi.

Bianchi won the F3 Euroseries this year, helping to secure his place with the team at the young driver test in Spain. He was fifth quickest on his first day and received positive feedback from the team.

He is the nephew of Lucien Bianchi who competed in 19 grand prix in the 1960s and won Le Mans and grandson of Mauro Bianchi, a GT world champion.