Bianchi called up for Ferrari to replace Raikkonen in Silverstone test


Ferrari will have usual test driver Pedro de la Rosa and, more interestingly, Jules Bianchi aboard the F14 T for this weekend’s post-British Grand Prix test at Silverstone.

Bianchi, the Marussia-Ferrari driver and Ferrari Driver Academy member since 2010, will fill in for Kimi Raikkonen on the second day of testing this Wednesday. He takes over from de la Rosa, who will test on Tuesday.

In a statement, Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci said Raikkonen is still on course to recover from his accident Sunday. Raikkonen, too, took a moment to reflect.

“The most important news right now is that Kimi is alright, even though the impact with the barriers was a heavy one,” Mattiacci said, via the official Formula One website. “He has some bruising and will now be resting to be in shape for the next race.”

As for Bianchi, his star remains on the rise in the sport and it’s a sign of Ferrari looking down the road a bit that he’s being installed for the second day of testing.

The Frenchman ran 10th early in Sunday’s British Grand Prix following his and teammate Max Chilton’s mastery of the conditions during Saturday’s wet qualifying session. Results of 14th and 16th for the pair were ultimately unfulfilling.

Ferrari’s test drivers are 43 (de la Rosa) and 40 (Marc Gene), so chances are neither of the Spanish veterans would ever race again in Formula One unless in a fill-in role.

Bianchi, who turns 25 next month, seems to be an obvious candidate for the Scuderia down the road. It’s going to be good for him to get the additional seat time, and perhaps more intriguingly, sample a different 2014-spec chassis compared to the one he’s racing full-time with the Anglo-Russian Marussia squad.