Former Fiat chairman Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed that indeed Jules Bianchi would have replaced Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari, had Bianchi not had his ultimately fatal accident in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Di Montezemolo, who is now part of the “old regime” at the Scuderia along with Raikkonen, the last driver hired before the tidal wave of managerial and driver changes, confirmed this speaking with Sky Sports Italia.
“Jules Bianchi was one of us, was a member of the Ferrari family and was the driver we had picked for the future, once the collaboration with Raikkonen was over,” di Montezemolo said.
“A bitter fate has taken him away, leaving us in a huge void.”
Bianchi’s Ferrari future was widely expected within the Formula 1 community, dating from his first test in 2009 all the way through to his final test for the team, at Silverstone last year shortly after the British Grand Prix, where he deputized for Raikkonen.
As recently as a few days before Suzuka, with Fernando Alonso’s future in the team in question, Bianchi’s chance was becoming obvious.
Sadly, it never had the opportunity to materialize.