Bianchi focusing on Malaysia despite debut success

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Jules Bianchi was one of the stars of the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, and the French driver has revealed he is enjoying the success following his highly impressive debut.

“It has been nice to take a couple of days in Australia to really absorb the experience of my first Formula 1 race last weekend.

“There were quite a lot of new things to be faced with, including driving a race of that distance for the first time and bringing together everything that I had learned in the days before.”

Bianchi finished an impressive fifteenth for Marussia, one lap ahead of Caterham’s Charles Pic, and his fastest lap was just 0.045 seconds slower than that of defending world champion Sebastian Vettel. Despite the success, Bianchi is keeping his feet on the ground as he looks to build upon the result in Malaysia.

“Although my debut went well, there are some areas that I need to work on and where I can improve – as you would expect – so this race we will have a little more time and experience to think about what we need to do to keep pushing forward. I’ve done some work in the simulator and I think Sepang is a circuit I’m going to enjoy.”

Ferrari Driver Academy member Bianchi also spoke about the challenging weather conditions he is expecting for the race.

“I know the challenge it brings in terms of the heat and humidity, so I’m prepared for that.”

Rain is forecast for the race on Sunday, but should Bianchi manage to tame the wet conditions he could find himself bettering his Australian GP result, and perhaps even target Marussia’s first F1 points.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”