Will Stevens says Jules Bianchi's efforts during his time with the Manor Marussia team were crucial to its long-term survival.
In the week the F1 paddock came together to mourn the death of the former Marussia driver, who passed away nine months after his accident in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, Stevens says it should never be underestimated how important his contribution was to keeping the team afloat into 2015.
Indeed, it was the prize money that came as a result of Bianchi's landmark ninth place finish in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix – a result that ultimately helped it to ninth in the constructors' standings – that assured the team's future, even when it was forced to miss the final three rounds of 2014 owing to financial problems.
With this in mind, Stevens says Bianchi's legacy lives on by the fact the team remains present to this day under the Manor banner.
“The difference Jules made last year in Monaco is absolutely key to us still being here. So I don't think there's a single member of the team who underestimates everything he did for the team.
“He always was a really good guy, I knew him from a very young age in karting and wherever he was there was never a bad word said about him. So I think in terms of the team underestimating what he did, there's no question about that at all.
“Without his contribution last year and what he did last year in Monaco then I'm sure things for the team would probably be different now.”
A difficult week for the Manor team as it comes to terms with Bianchi's death aged just 25, Stevens is determined to give his best for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Clearly for everyone here it has been a really difficult week. It's one of those things as a team we have to deal with and move forward. Obviously the first part of the week was very difficult and we all need to stick together, to gather our thoughts and think ahead for the future. Looking to the weekend, clearly it's going to be tough but as a team we've got to move forward and I think it's important that we do that.”