Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi is confident he will be able to shine in 2011 and he believes the help he has received as part of the Scuderia's young driver programme has been crucial in helping him grow and hone his skills.
Bianchi, who was confirmed as an official test driver by Ferrari last month, will again race with the ART GP2 team in 2011. The Frenchman and Lotus ART announced the deal just before Christmas and the youngster is pleased to again be competing in F1's principal feeder category.
Indeed after finishing 2010 as the best rookie and taking P3 in the standings - despite that big crash in Hungary - he will be going all out to finish top in 2011 and emulate the likes of Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hülkenberg, the two previous GP2 Series champions.
“Thanks to the Ferrari Driver Academy, compared to a year ago, I feel deeply changed,” Bianchi said. “It was an important experience. It made me grow a lot and made me get to know the company and the people who work on this project, skilled professionals with great humanity.
“Through various stages we have practiced physical and mental training, but mostly I had a chance to hone driving techniques and it is in this sense that I feel that I have been helped most. I'm sure it will help me for my 2011 challenge.
“My first year in the most competitive championship besides F1, with the closest car there is to an F1 contender, allowed me to learn a great deal.
“I am proud Lotus ART put their confidence in me for another year because I know with them I will have the best environment to reap what we have sown over the last few years, and also have the opportunity to fight for the title.”
Lotus ART boss Frédéric Vasseur is equally confident Bianchi will deliver: “Despite a broken vertebrae that could have had serious consequences both on a sporting and psychological level, Jules finished his first season in the GP2 Series brilliantly with the status of best rookie of the year,” he added.
“This remarkable achievement is even stronger thanks to his capability of chasing pole positions. He secured three times as many poles than any other rival in 2010. Lotus ART knows Jules well both as a driver and a person and has total confidence in him.
“We hope the combination of his qualities and the hard work of the team and its partners will give us all the leverage we need to aim for top places,” Vasseur summed-up.