Jules Bianchi says he is ready for an F1 race seat in 2013 amidst ongoing speculation linking him to the current vacancy at Force India/
The Frenchman has been test and reserve driver for the team this year alongside his work as part of Ferrari's Young Driver Programme and a racing programme in the World Series by Renault, and is set to make his latest on-track appearance in Friday practice this weekend in Texas.
Speaking to Ferrari's website ahead of the United States Grand Prix, Bianchi said his work with Force India this season had been hugely beneficial to his future prospects and said he now felt ready to move into a race seat next year.
Force India is currently seeking a replacement for Nico Hulkenberg, with Bianchi being one possible option available to the Silverstone-based squad.
“I learned a lot from this role and from driving in FP1,” he said “Even if I'd driven before at the previous year's Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi and also at Jerez, it's not the same as driving during a race weekend, because you are under a lot more pressure. I feel I have grown up a lot with this experience and I am now ready to be a race driver in Formula 1.
“I hope I find an official seat for next year as this is definitely my dream. I feel I had a good season in World Series and did a good job with Force India as well, so I feel ready and think I deserve a seat in Formula 1. My dream is to race for Ferrari one day!”
Bianchi has spent time in Ferrari's simulator ahead of the weekend to try and learn the new Texas circuit, and he said he was sure it was a venue that would produce interesting action and one where Ferrari would be strong.
“When you start Friday practice, you must be able to go to the limit immediately otherwise you won't be competitive when it comes to qualifying and for this, the simulator is a great help and the best way to learn the track,” he said. “The Austin track layout looks really interesting with many quick corners. The first part is similar to the first sector in Japan and then the Becketts complex at Silverstone. I think it will be very interesting in terms of driving, while there are also many slow corners.
“Overall, judging from the simulator, I'd say it's one of the best tracks. Everyone in Maranello has been working very hard to improve the performance of the F2012 for this race and, in my opinion, it should be competitive at the Circuit of the Americas. It is always difficult to overtake in Formula 1, but in Austin, you have two heavy braking points with a long straight in between, so there should be plenty of overtaking opportunities this weekend.”