Ferrari has revealed that it will promote Jules Bianchi
to a full-time test driver role for the 2011 season, having already announced that the Frenchman will take part in next week's 'young drivers' test in Abu Dhabi.
Bianchi, who will continue as part of the Ferrari
Driver Academy Programme, will make his debut in his new position this coming Tuesday [16 November] as part of the first off-season test at the Yas Marina circuit, but will progress from there to replace veteran Giancarlo Fisichella
as the Scuderia's official development driver. Fisichella took on the role for 2010 after moving across to Ferrari, as replacement for the injured Felipe Massa, for the final five races of 2009. Prior to his arrival, Luca Badoer
had held the post long-term.
Bianchi graduated to the GP2 Series this season, having claimed the 2009 F3 Euroseries crown with ART, but was unable to repeat the feat of winning in his first season achieved by both Lewis Hamilton
and Nico Hulkenberg
after being derailed by a back injury sustained in Hungary. Ferrari
had already added him to its development squad at the start of the year, and the Frenchman will continue as a senior member of that line-up, despite the recent addition of Sauber F1 graduate Sergio Perez.
The Scuderia's commitment to young drivers is also reflected via confirmation that the third day of testing dedicated to the top three finishers in the Italian F3 Championship. Brazil's Cesar Ramos, Stephane Richelmi from Monaco and Italian Andrea Caldarelli will get behind the wheel of an F2008 at Vallelunga on 2 December.