Jules Bianchi Marussia

Jules Bianchi

Driver Details

  • Nationality: FRA
  • Current standing: 17th
  • Points: 2
  • Last Race: RET
  • Best Finish: 9th (x1)

That Jules Bianchi emerged from 2013 bearing more than one 'Rookie of the Year' bauble is testament enough to a fine, and important, maiden Formula 1 season.

Despite a late - about as late as a driver can be - entry into the fray at Marussia, the Frenchman immediately appeared assured behind the wheel and delivered straightaway too.

The importance of his 13th-place finish in the Malaysian GP, the second race of the season, was that it allowed the backmarker team to finish tenth in the constructors' standings, beating rivals Caterham for the first time and also offering the potential of much more lucrative paydays to come.

Having graduated from karting in 2007, Bianchi immediately won his national Formula Renault title, before moving to the Formula 3 Euroseries with ART the following season. He finished third in the standings and also took victory in the prestigious Masters event at Zolder.

Bianchi dominated F3 in 2009, taking nine victories from 20 starts (trouncing fellow 2013 rookies Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez along the way) and his performances didn't go unnoticed. Briefly linked with a Ferrari race seat after Felipe Massa's accident at the Hungaroring, he was instead signed by the Scuderia to their young driver academy and commenced testing duties when possible.

Moving up to GP2 in 2010, Bianchi finished third and did the same the following year, when Ferrari also named him their reserve driver. He moved to the World Series by Renault in 2012 and combined that with another test driver role at Force India - which also saw him take part in nine practice sessions throughout the season.

Bianchi narrowly missed out on the Formula Renault 3.5 title but three wins and five podiums underlined his pace and expectations were high that he would graduate to a race seat at Force India in place of Nico Hulkenberg.

It seemed Bianchi's plans would have to be put on hold when they instead opted for Adrian Sutil but when a seat at Marussia suddenly became available at the final pre-season test, he jumped at the chance.

More than that: Bianchi grabbed it with both hands. He was particularly impressive early on in the season when Marussia held an advantage over Caterham and although the latter outfit turned the tables, Bianchi's 13th place at Sepang was never surpassed.

Team-mate Max Chilton was comprehensively outperformed as well and while talk of a move up the grid came to nought - Sauber were mentioned - Marussia (who have also secured a Ferrari powertrain deal for 2014) were quick to retain Bianchi's services for second season.