Jules Bianchi admits that the ambition of being a Ferrari F1 driver burns as brightly as ever, but says that he is happy where he is for the time being.
The Frenchman finally realised his dream of racing in the top flight after being snapped up by Marussia to replace the luckless Luiz Razia on the eve of the 2013 season, and is showing all the hallmarks of a driver with a lengthy F1 future, even if he has had to readjust his sights for the time being.
“Yes, it's always there and there's no point talking about it…. everyone can imagine exactly what it is!” he said of the desire to drive for Ferrari, “Of course, the targets are different [at the moment]: for us, a win is to finish ahead of Caterham.
“Do I miss fighting for the victory? Every driver wants to win, but the important thing is to manage to create for yourself the right incentives and that's what I'm doing.”
The first nine races of his debut season have seen Bianchi achieve the aim of beating both Caterhams on four occasions, while he has split them on three of the remaining five outings. Although he has yet to score a point, he currently sits atop the quartet courtesy of the 13th place he picked up second time out in Malaysia.
“I am pleased with the way the first races have gone, with the exception of the last one…,” he confirmed, referring to the retirement in Germany that saw his Marussia running, driverless, back down the circuit after a major engine fire had forced him to park up at the chicane.
While not yet a fully-fledged Ferrari driver, Bianchi retains close ties with the Scuderia's development programme that nurtured him through the junior ranks, and admits that he has a lot to thank the system for.
“I come here less often than in past years because, apart from the races, there are so many other things which I have to do with my new team,” he explained to the official Ferrari website during a break in an FDA promotional event at Fiorano, “I often go to the team's factory to talk to the engineers and, before each grand prix, there are always sessions on the simulator.
“I am still in contact with Luca Baldisserri, [as] we speak on the 'phone during race weekends and the advice he gives me is always useful. Tackling my first year as a race driver, all the experience I gained with the FDA has been really important - not just in terms of the technical aspect, but also for all the rest, such as how to deal with the sponsors and the media. It was definitely a plus at a time when I am getting to grips with the top level of the sport.”