GP2 »

Bianchi looks to bounce back at Silverstone

Everyone expected Jules Bianchi to be a major contender for the 2011 GP2 title, but currently he's languishing in 15th place and has finished in the points just twice in four race weekends.
If there's a big surprise in this year's competitive GP2 championship, it's the poor showing of Lotus ART's Jules Bianchi, the Ferrari test and reserve driver who arrived on the scene with high expectations.

He finished in third place in the championship in 2010 and then pressed Romain Grosjean hard for the GP2 Asia title at the start of 2011, taking his first GP2-level win with victory in the season opener Abu Dhabi feature race.

Unfortunately for the 21-year-old Frenchman, his GP2 Asia campaign was frustrated when the series was curtailed because of the political unrest in Bahrain that saw the series come to a premature conclusion at the hastily arranged round at Imola: Bianchi's chances of still stealing the title ended when he retired early in the sprint race, and Grosjean duly went on to take the crown.

Still, it all seemed like good preparation for Bianchi going into the 2011 GP2 main series, and sure enough it started well with third place in the feature race at Istanbul Park, Turkey behind Grosjean and Sam Bird. However, contact with Grosjean at the start of the sprint race saw Bianchi spin, and by the end of the race he could only recover to seventh place - out of the points.

Bianchi would manage to finish in the points at the next feature race at Barcelona despite a 10-place penalty for ignoring yellow flags during qualifying, but that was the last time he has scored in the GP2 season. A starting-grid crash with Giedo van der Garde in the Spanish sprint race earned him another grid penalty for the next weekend at Monaco, where a gearbox problem saw him once again end the race in contact with van der Garde, and then a rash move on the opening lap in Valencia saw him make contact with Marcus Ericsson - for which he received a penalty for the following day's sprint race.

Bianchi now urgently needs to get his season moving again with some solid performances, although the question is whether to continue going all-out for wins - which has arguably been the cause of many of his turbulent weekends so far in 2011 - or whether just to regroup, build confidence and focus on picking up a solid number of points.

In one respect, going for the conservative points-centric approach appears a waste of time - he's already 26pts off Romain Grosjean, who leads by one point from van der Garde after four rounds, with five to go including this weekend's season mid-point at Silverstone. But some solid results and podium positions would at least restore his reputation, which is beginning to see some experts wonder if Bianchi simply has what it takes to compete at the top level of motorsport - which could have ramifications for his Ferrari role.

"My position in the first part of the championship has been compromised by several errors on my part," admitted Bianchi in a Ferrari press release this week. "Mishaps and the unexpected aside, things have always gone very well. This has pretty much compromised my expectations for the championship."

However, Bianchi insisted that it was far from a case of all being lost, and that he was determined to come through the disappointments of the first half of the season.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jules Bianchi (FRA,Lotus ART). Round 4. Valencia Spain. 24th June 2011. Friday Qualifying. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Jules Bianchi (FRA,Lotus ART). Round 4. Valencia Spain. 24th June 2011. Friday Qualifying. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Esteban Ocon (FRS, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRS, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRS, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Antonio Fuoco (ITA, ART Grand Prix) during GP3 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Antonio Fuoco (ITA, ART Grand Prix) during GP3 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRA, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 28 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRA, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 28 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRS, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 28 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) during the first day of GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 27 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) during the first day of GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 27 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Andrea Pizzitola (FRA, ART Grand Prix) during the first day of GP3 post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 27 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Andrea Pizzitola (FRA, ART Grand Prix) during the first day of GP3 post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 27 November 2014. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Andrea Pizzitola (FRA, ART Grand Prix) during the first day of GP3 post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 27 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) leads Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) at the start of the feature race at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 22 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) leads Felipe Nasr (BRA, Carlin) in the feature race at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 22 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) wins the feature race at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 22 November 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.