F1 2014 Driver Review: Jules Bianchi

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Jules Bianchi

Team: Marussia F1 Team
Car No.: 17
Races: 15
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 2
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 17th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

2014 held such bright things for Jules Bianchi following Marussia’s switch to Ferrari engines. Despite financial problems off-track, the Frenchman impressed where it mattered, storming to ninth place in Monaco. This marked both his own first points in F1 and the first for Marussia (and likely to be its only ever, sadly).

This was backed up by great qualifying performances in Great Britain and Belgium, where he reached Q2. His average qualifying position was a full 1.49 grid slots better than teammate Max Chilton, and just 0.4 shy of Pastor Maldonado. Impressive stats given the car he was racing with.

Such a huge year that ended in such devastatingly sad circumstances at Suzuka, though, when Jules suffered severe head injuries in an accident towards the end of the Japanese Grand Prix. He has since been transferred back to his native France and is no longer in an artificial coma, but there is a long road ahead.

Only days before his accident, I penned a piece saying how he could be a possible replacement for Fernando Alonso at Ferrari (of course, the seat went to Sebastian Vettel), because he was the future for Maranello – its shining star.

For now though, we continue to send our love, prayers and support to Bianchi and his family.

Tous avec toi, Jules.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Quite honestly any review of Jules Bianchi’s season must be put in its proper context – the on-track results are not the story, and the continued prayers for his improvement after his Suzuka accident are.

Alas, prior to the accident Bianchi had made the necessary performance leap even off an already brilliant first season with Marussia. The engines switched from Cosworth to Ferrari by default with Cosworth’s opting to not build a V6 for the new regulations.

In his 15 races this season, Bianchi only once started on the back row, and the one time he did was when he managed to convert it into both his and Marussia’s first two points in the sport with ninth place. He gauged the varying weather conditions in Silverstone to perfection to qualify 12th there, and qualifying 15th and 16th back-to-back in Budapest and Spa also stood out as top performances.

As we head into the winter though, #ForzaJules remains the prevailing thought. He’s back home in France, and still with a ways to go in terms of his recovery. We wish him the best from here.