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New Jules Bianchi Column: “Voyage to the centre of Formula 1”
Jules Bianchi
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2014   |  8:27 pm GMT  |  110 comments

Starting today, Jules Bianchi will guide the readers of JA on F1 on a unique journey of discovery of Formula 1, as seen through the eyes of one of the best young driving talents on the world motorsport scene.

Jules has been a driver with the Marussia F1 Team for a year and a half, fulfilling one of his boyhood dreams, to drive at the pinnacle of the sport.

He has another dream to fulfill, one with a red tone to it; to drive for the famous Scuderia Ferrari. Since 2009 Jules has been part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and a few weeks ago he was called in to an official test at Silverstone for the Maranello team.

Jules Bianchi in a Ferrari

Jules Bianchi writes: “Realizing your dreams is one of the most beautiful things that can happen to a person and I am happy to have fulfilled the biggest dream, which is to drive in F1. I have been dreaming of it since I was a kid but only when I started racing single seaters did I realize that my hopes could become a reality. If you had told me this would happen, when I was 13 years old, I would not have believed you.

But I’ve done it and I’m half way through my second season in the top category and I want to try to take all of you behind the scenes and show you my life and my journey, to show you what it means to be part of this special world, which seems so remote and unattainable.

Let’s start by saying that to race in Formula 1 is something that gives me a lot of excitement: this is the first word that comes to mind. The second is professionalism: if you want to excel you have to be professional in every little detail and that is true for us drivers as much as for all those who work in the various roles. It ‘s something that I realized immediately; right from the first time I was able to see up close how Ferrari operates. Even at Marussia, although the scale of the operation is certainly different from the Scuderia, the level of professionalism is really high.

Ours is a very tough sport, where if you do not always give 100%, whatever the circumstances, you risk falling behind straight away. This means that you always need the utmost concentration, both when working on the track and when you are free from specific commitments, because you can never back off. This is why ‘ if I have to choose a third word to associate with Formula 1 I would say tiredness: not only physical – to drive these cars is not exactly a breeze and to do this job you have to work a lot on athletic training, even during the race weekend – but, more important, mental tiredness.

I never get bored by the routine; it ‘s true that the Grand Prix weekend is a bit like a theatre show, which you repeat in exactly he same format every time, in nineteen different venues. But I don’t mind this repetition at all.


The two-week summer break comes at just the right time. We’ve been on the go, travelling the world, pretty much since the end of January, when I started driving in the winter tests. But now we can kick back a little and try to recharge the batteries for the second half of the season.

In the last few races I could really see our guys in the pit garages beginning to feel fatigued and I too cannot wait to get a rest. I’m not planning anything special, not even to celebrate my 25th birthday on August 3; a few days at home in Geneva with the family and then a little sunshine with friends at the beach somewhere, but not to some far distant place with more time zone changes – I’ve had plenty of that already and more lies in wait for me from late August to late November.

When I have some free time I like to play sports with my friends. I always try to organize a small competition, either karts or playing squash or football: this is what I will be up to before restarting the engines at Spa, where we’ll race in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Of course I have some time now to think about what has happened in this first part of the season because it is not that you can completely clear Formula 1 out of your head, even on vacation.

Jules Bianchi

I’m happy with how things have gone so far: we have made a big step forward compared to last year and you can begin to see the results. The points finish in Monte Carlo, with ninth place was definitely the best moment and it was important to be able to get into Q2 twice (the second part of qualifying for the top 16 cars) in Silverstone and a few days ago at the Hungaroring: it means that we are approaching the core group even though the distance is still quite wide.


The worst day? That’s an easy one – Sunday in Montreal where I was unable to complete even the first lap, boy what a shame ..

Another beautiful moment was the Silverstone test with Ferrari. Putting on those scarlet overalls with the Prancing Horse on the chest is always an unbelievable feeling, as is climbing into the cockpit. I’ve done it before but the emotion is very powerful, very beautiful.

Jules Bianchi, Ferrari

For me Ferrari is like a second family and to drive full time with that Prancing Horse remains my goal, my ultimate dream.

Will I ever get to realize that dream? I don’t know. But given that I have fulfilled my first goal of driving in F1, why not aspire to fulfilling the even bigger dream?

Until next time..



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politics is the other area where underperforming employees get to retire early with a nice lump sum and indexed pension.


YouWho is correct – if Ferrari built the F14T the way it is because Alonso demanded less horsepower and less downforce than his rivals, then he really must be let go! What a joke!


Im really perplexed by the so called experts. When Jules was testing with Force India and subsequently got the call to Marussia I knew this guy was a great talent. I had no issue with him going to Ferrari even this year when people were saying “too soon” “too soon”.. Yet even before half season and a rotten F14T people are calling for Raikkonens head and “get Bianci in”.. All of a sudden Alonsos public bagging of the team last year is totally forgotten and his continuous ability to “flog a dead horse ” is turning heads away from the the very problems that make him the worlds best 2nd rate driver- his inability to get a car to drive properly.2 years at Lotus with 1/3 budget and both years the cars got better & better with Raikkonen.

Ferrrari have far deeper issues to worry about and Im affraid Alonso is at the heart of all those issues. He is the lead driver- all the cars have been built around him- all the cars have failed and have been 2/3/4 best cars- Felipe after nine years was let go- yet most people arent giving Raikkonen 5 months!! Felipe has no issues with car handling at Williams – immediately quick winthin the team..

Ferrari are a one driver pony and the whiole world is blaming the other driver. Ferrari need to fix the rot & its not just the car Im afraid…

FERNANDO ALONSO MUST LEAVE FERRARI.. His tenure has proved fruitless despite his driving so the team cannot keep building things around him because it will always be 2nd at best or worst. If people want to continue to blame the team fine – let him find another team and I bet I know what will happen..


I hope the next piece really shows a bit more into the daily driver stuff into F1. Very good initiative on adding his column.

I was chatting to Bianchi during the German GP (just a humble track marshall here), the ferrari drive, etc. Very nice, approachable, polite, down to earth guy. Very fast too. Only little issue for him to benchmark his performance I think, and I hope not to hurt the British because they already have a great raw talented driver in the field, is the very weak team mate he has.

Having said that, a couple of weeks ago, de la Rosa at spanish TV, said that when at HRT and Ricciardo was there, he asked about him. He’s engineer told him something like “ahh, he’s ok but nothing special”…..very hard to judge driver performance on such poor quality cars I guess.


He could improve his John Hancock a bit. As a future champion he will need a more complex autograph. 😉


That’s an Americanism for signature, isn’t it? I’m sure I’ve heard it on The Simpsons

I suspect now Lewis has taken up with Nicole he probably refers to his autograph as a “John Hancock!” Mind you, I hope Lewis doesn’t use that term when he’s in the UK or Western Europe otherwise people will look at him blank!

Anyway, yes, he could do a better scribble – but have you seen Mr Vettel’s? Not much better!

We’ve got lots of slang here in the UK – and the English speaking Commonwealth nations as well – but I can’t use them as their a bit rude and would be modded, but I’m sure anyone reading this in the likes of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa know the sort of amusing terminology I’m thinking of…………..I’m pretty sure it’s what Danny Boy was thinking when he won last weekend!!!!!


Thanks, and you should refer a few of the other drivers to your English teacher.


What i would like to know is, how did Jules get a Ferrari helmet and overalls so quick? Do teams have there own printing service or a good contract with a company? Two days after it was decided to have him drive, he clims into the car with full team kit. Was it a pair of Kimi’s overalls? or did they get them made and sent from Italy that quick? Also it was his helmet design with Ferrari branding, He surly doesn’t carry a spare helmet around with him just in case? Or are they just stickers so he pulled of Murrisa ones and stuck on Ferrari ones?


Nice intro column.

I’d be really interested to see a piece from Bianchi about the two cars he’s driven this season. There must be some dramatic differences between the cars. It would be cool to hear his perspective about them, as it’s a rare thing that a driver gets to drive more than one team’s car in the same season. A comparison between the cars, the teams, etc., from a backmarker and a front (mid? ;-)) runner could be really cool.

Thanks Jules (and James).


Thanks for the feedback. Jules will be responsive to readers areas of interest

He wants to she’d light on what it’s like to be an F1 driver in as many aspects as possible


This is fantastic, James.

And to really blow the fans’ minds and set the Internetz abuzz, genuine Jules replying to some reader’s comment here would be epic. An easily-accomplished task, but don’t underestimate the value of small gestures in establishing deep allegiances and fan-adoration! lol cheers.


You will see something along those lines


James, I know that sounds like a daft or eccentric question, but any chance Jules can shed any light on his fitness regime and diet in the few days leading upto race weekend?

You are what you eat – its a cliche, but true! And seeing as the human digestive system takes a full two days to full absorb, and, er, expel what you eat, I would imagine a racing driver has to be incredibly disciplined in terms of their meal and drink intake leading upto race weekend.

A racing drivers diet/fluid intake has to be totally maximised and optimised not just on a race weekend, but leading upto a race weekend, so he retains his concentration, strength and above all stamina during an energy sapping race, particularly in hot weather.

The other factor with food is eating something that doesn’t make a driver feel bloated, windy or feeling empty. Just like a Formula 1 car, it’s a delicate balancing act!

I do believe Jackie Stewart was the first driver to micro analyse his food and fluid intake to maximise his performance during race weekend – as I said, you are what you eat!


Really hope this guy gets a good car next year. I also hope he doesn’t go to Ferrari as Alonso’s teammate. I don’t see that being good for his head. Alonso is a great driver, but probably not the best teammate for a young driver.


Thank you to Jules Bianchi for taking the time to be part of this insight into the world of an F1 driver.

James – fantastic idea to do this so thank you to you too.

In an article a few weeks ago I wrote about F1 being more open and using different media platforms to get us the “arm chair punters” closer to the world of F1. This is an example of binging us closer to F1.



A nice addition to your team James. Being French I of course would enjoy a French driver competing at the top like Romain last year. Jules has impressed many with his F1 showing to date and hopefully it will lead to better things for Jules. The way I see how things are done in Ferrari, I can’t see Jules there for a few more years though. What are his prospects in the near future?

I am looking forward to Jules insight into F1 and hope as James does, that he will find the time to reply/comment on some of the posters’ reactions.

I like others it would seem, thought that Jules’ signature was the layout of a track while scrolling down. If that is not a sign:)

Finally, merci Jules pour ta participation au meilleur site F1et de partager ton expérience avec nous les Fanas d’ F1, or, thank you Jules for participating in the best F1 blog & to share your experience with us the Fans of F1.

Great first insight by the way. Looking forward to read your insights again. Marc


Good little article and great title! I didn’t get the joke straight away.

I appreciate he will not be able to write about it at the moment but if the rumours of him heading to Ferrari are true I would very much like an insight into the negotiation process that is involved. How much input he has, how much is down to the manager, what demands they make of him, if he makes any demands and what scope he has for negotiating. I fear that my curiosity will not be fully satisfied as there are all sorts of non-disclosure agreements in place and he won’t want to give to much away about what he does or doesn’t have that his team mate does… I do find this part really interesting since we don’t ever really see what’s going on!


Hi Ben, well you’re right, these things usually are very confidential.. But I will keep in mind your suggestion and maybe this could a topic of one of the next columns. Let me talk about it with my manager…


Dear Jules –

You’ve become my favorite driver since coming on James Allen’s website and sharing your F1 experiences and interacting with the fans. I was devastated when I saw you crash during the race today, and I hope beyond all hope that you will be OK and can make a full recovery.



Whilst we’re talking about (future) Ferrari drivers, I have a theory that Alonso might be unintentionally hindering Ferrari’s development programme. It’s a little counter-intuitive, so hear me out…

It’s been well documented that Alonso is simply awesome at dragging broken and underperforming cars around a lap – pretty much all of the column inches that are written about Fernando speak of results that he’s achieved despite the machinery at his disposal instead of because of it.

On the opposite side of the garage we’ve had Felipe and now Kimi. Since Felipe came back from his accident his performances relative to Fernando have caused quite a few people to question whether or not he’s recovered fully to his pre-accident levels of performance; despite his race engineers saying that the data they’re seeing suggests he’s exactly the same as he ever was. His performances so far at Williams also suggest to me that he’s still got all of the speed he had in 2008.

With Kimi we now have another ‘known’ quantity to compare against. He’s certainly no slouch, his performances at Lotus last year showed he’s lost none of his ability, and yet he’s struggling to get the same performance out of the car as Fernando.

Now how do I go from the fact that these two drivers are/were struggling with their cars, to concluding that Alonso is hindering development? It’s simple: if your ‘reference’ driver is a genius at working around car limitations, how do you identify and prioritise the areas to fix? No matter how much the engineers try to focus on treating the problems reported by both drivers, there will always be a nagging doubt that maybe the poor performance on one side of the garage is down to that driver underachieving, rather than the other driver overachieving.

Maybe with two equally matched drivers who aren’t quite so super-human at dealing with flawed cars would be more help for Ferrari’s development engineers to find the right directions to find performance.


Its not as silly as you may think. JA mentioned that Fernando likes pullrod front suspension from his Minardi days and Ferrari have persisted with it. Yet most teams abandoned it in 2010. Another poster constantly mentioned Fernando is brilliant at driving an average car better than others but a well balanced car like the Lotus and Mclaren Mp4-20 showed daylight to the field in the hands of Raikkonen. Might be true!

Its also been said that Felipe adjusted to the Williams immediately (even aside of the obvious speed advantage) – the handling is basically far better which tells you it is the basic handling characteristics that are constantly limited at Ferrari. Obviously every car since 2010 has been designed to Fernandos specification I would say the problem is very obvious despite his ability to driver a poor car brilliantly.

Perhaps the answer is to have Bianci & Raikkonen. Raikkonen 2007, Massa 7sec 2008. Fernando +anyone despite his unconditional status -0 ????? Who knows maybe fernando will take his troubles elsewhere



These views are derided here, where for now FA is the greatest driver ever.

But I am laughing myself silly because before this season is out your opinion will surely prevail. Who knows? KR might actually get the first win for Ferrari. If they give him what he needs…….


it’s a good point, McLaren had Prost AND Senna, and they’ve developed a hell of a car between them. But also, you need two super-drivers with some similarities because, if you don’t: wich way are you going to go?


great driver, weird signature, I thought it was a drawing.


Ha! I’m not the only one. I thought it was a track layout at first glance.


so did I 🙂


He does come across as a nice guy and this article reads like that’s true. I hope he’s not too nice though, for his own good. There needs to be a big competitive animal in there too, if he ever really want’s a WDC, there are more animals in the history of champions, than nice guys!

I hope they don’t part company with Kimi this year. I think he’s starting to get to grips with the car now and think we’d see him properly back on form next year. I’d love to see a real Kimi vs Alonso battle, Alsonso’s mind games would never work on Kimi. Plus I think another year battling in the pack would be good training for Jules and make him a sharper driver to slot into the hot seat.


I think this year we are watching a proper competition between Nando and Kimi. The fact that Fernando is utterly destroying Kimi, -as JA well anticipated in this very same website-, doesn’t mean that this is not a “real battle”, as some Kimi fans like to believe. Maybe Alonso “mind games” doesn’t work on the Iceman, but the fact is the sheer speed of the Spaniard have been more than enough to comfortable settle the dispute, so political skills hasn’t been necessary.

I just can’t stand that notion spread among some Kimi fans that “Kimi is losing so this is not a real competition”.


*Please delete reply was replication to above*


Also people somehow forgot his fastest laps, pole positions, and race wins for Mclaren which he all but won 2 WDC. Several legends voted him the fastest driver on the planet.Somehow I dont think Ferrari retired MS for no reason and gave Kimi a contract because of how sociable he was….

Very easy to put a cost on Raikkonens 2009 salary and excuse his 2007 salary. Funny how people put a price on Raikkonen but not the car. Yet Alonsos 150million & counting is money well spent but not the car.. Hypocracy of the most extraordinary levels continue in this “game”


Thanks James – great little insights from Jules. I hope there will be further instalments.

His performance at Monaco was pretty special, Wasn’t he running faster than the Lotus of Grosjean at the end of the race?

Marussia seems to have developed as a neat racing operation. I quite like Graeme Lowdon and his down to earth approach to racing. Replacing Razia was definitely a lightbulb moment.


There will – it’s a regular thing


So what’s his username James 😉


sorry off topic, I have just watched this video and shocked at this guy who has covered f1 for so many years and yet doesn’t have a clue about the basic technicalities of f1. may be he knows and failed to put his point across. check this out.



i understand what you mean gaz boy but i understand aerodynamics to be about air resistance so how does the size and positioning of the oil tank influence air resistance? the size may influence the shape of the engine cover which influences with air resistance. or may be some air flow under the engine cover and over the oil tank. please enlighten us.


I’m not an expert on aero – Gary Anderson would be better qualified on that subject! However, basic engineering solutions require that the weight of heavy-ish items such as the fuel tank, engine, sump and gearbox are mounted as low and centrally as possible to give a near perfect weight distribution – basic physics! The centre of gravity and an F1 car’s aero balance are exactly the same; so putting a relatively heavy-ish sump more rearwards will affect the Ferrari’s aerodynamic centre of pressure.

Aero balance/centre of pressure is the ability for an F1 car to generate equal loading of clean, consistent downforce between the front and rear axles. As I mentioned, aerodynamic centre of pressure is exactly the same as the centre of gravity, so with Ferrari moving their oil tank rearwards, their centre of gravity on the car has been negatively affected, so therefore the Ferrari’s aero balance has been negatively affected.

A circuit that requires the primacy of good aerodynamic centre of pressure are usually tracks with fast corners such as Malaysia, Barcelona and Silverstone – and guess what, Ferrari have struggled badly on fast corners!

I also still think moving the oil tank rearwards will affect oil scavenging, perhaps somebody can expand on this theory.


Ah, do miss Ted since he went to Sky………..

Ted does have a valid point though – Ferrari putting the oil tank (sump) more rearwards affects the aero balance, and therefore centre of gravity in a negative way. The aerodynamic centre of pressure and centre of gravity are exactly the same elements, and by positioning a relatively heavy-ish sump more rearwards it will affect weight distribution and aerodynamic stability in hard cornering compared to the likes of the Mercs and Bulls.

Come to think of it, I wonder if having a rear mounted oil tank would affect oil scavenging, in terms of efficiency and speed? Possibly, yes. Is this one of the reasons why the Ferrari lacks BHP – and crucially mid range torque – compared to Merc? Could be.


that’s interesting guz boy, but i am not convinced simply moving the oil tank into the gearbox would have such an effect on the aerodynamics balance of th car. as far as i understand aerodynamics, moving the oil tank will not affect air resistance. only the shape of the outer skin of the car affects aerodynamics of the car. many journalist write about technical matter they don’t understand very well passing on completely wrong information to the public. aerodynamic balance is not the same as centre of gravity. they are completely different. aerodynamic balance is the point at which forces due to air resistance convene whereas the centre of gravity of the car is the point at which gravitational forces acting on the car seem to convene. it is ideal to have them both at the same point but they are not the same.


interesting gaz boy, please have another look and further explain what you mean.

thanks in advance.


Best of luck, Mr. Bianchi!

Hope your ascendance to the Ferrari team coincides with a period when it’s beginning to prance again, rather than trotting around aimlessly in mid-field.

History is one thing, performance is quite another.


Nice to see a top driver like Bianchi with a seat. This guy is talented.


Put this kid with Alonso, he will learn one or two things from him, Alonso retires and Bianchi will lead the team.


Jules is such a likeable character. Best of luck to him 🙂


The day Mr Bianchi signs for Ferrari could well be a day of mixed emotions for me . On the one hand I will be pleased about Ferrari perhaps giving someone else a chance but at the same it could mean the end of Kimi’s f1 career. That is something I will be sad about when it happens especially as I have supported the Iceman since 2002. I wonder what Montezemelo thought about Jules out qualifying Kimi in Hungary?



But let us stay positive, celebrate Kimi’s amazing F1 legacy and take comfort in knowing that Kimi (hopefully) will stop F1 on his OWN terms this time, and not be forced out of Ferrari just so they could sign Alonso and access many millions from Santander.

If Kimi stops when Kimi wants to stop, then we shouldn’t cry for him, as he will be smiling as he’s off to the next category of motorsport that he decides to grace w/ his presence 😉

Matthew Cheshire

If Fernando stays at Ferrari, surely Jules is a shoe-in for the second seat.

Or, to keep everyone happy-

Williams – Alonso & Bottas

Ferrari – Vettel & Bianchi

Red Bull – Ricciardo & Vergne


When? In 2016?

Jules has already noted diplomatically that he has no designs on ousting Kimi…(not to say that he wouldn’t jump if Kimi was ousted!)

Matthew Cheshire

Nothing against Kimi, but he needs a seismic shift in results to stay for 2015. Ferrari are utterly desperate to rebuild performance, are they really going to keep Kimi so they don’t hurt his feelings? He’s not a rookie driver trying to improve, he was brought in to get points immediately.

Ferrari will back him 100% until they want him gone. Don’t confuse loyalty with managing an asset.


I m inundated with then!


Jules comes across as a really likeable character.. hopefully he can do what Ricciardo is doing this season, and prove himself in a more competitive car soon. I’ll be barracking for him to realise his dream and drive for the Scuderia one day.

James – thanks for organising this column. Its great to get this sort of perspective from drivers in F1.


I’m hoping Bianchi joins Ferrari then consistently beat Alonso – exact same think Ricciardo is doing to Vettel now. That would be really fun to watch.


I’m just glad to see the sport has enough quality young guns for the next generation. Ricciardo, Bottas, Bianchi, Hulkenberg will give us entertainment for the next 10 years!


The Hulk’s really part of current generation rather than next generation, but you can add K-Mag and Kvyat to this list.


don’t forget that little russian… Kyvat is showing some really strong performances lately…


Yes, he has been the biggest surprise for me this year along with Ricciardo’s performance compared to Vettel.


Agreed – looks a great prospect

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