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Bianchi eyeing 2013 race seat at Force India

ESPN Staff
September 13, 2012 « Safety pioneer Sid Watkins dies aged 84 | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Jules Bianchi is hoping to land a Force India race drive next year © Sutton Images
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Force India test driver Jules Bianchi is aiming to be promoted to race driver next season after a series of Friday morning practice drives and his recent Young Driver Test at Magny-Cours.

Bianchi has split his time between Force India test duties and racing in the World Series by Renault this year, in which he is currently third and in with a shot at the title. Over the last two years Force India has promoted its test drivers to race seats, first with Paul di Resta and then with Nico Hulkenberg, and Bianchi believes he is ready to make the step up in 2013.

"I'm just trying to focus on what I'm doing this year with the World Series and the Friday mornings at Force India," he told ESPNF1 at Monza. "It's really important that I need to do well and show people that I deserve the seat. I will try to have a race seat for next year and I hope it will be with Sahara Force India of course."

Rumours that Lewis Hamilton may switch to Mercedes have led to suggestions that di Resta could move to McLaren, while both Force India drivers have been mentioned as potential replacements for Felipe Massa at Ferrari. Bianchi, who is managed by Nicolas Todt, said he was following the rumours and is hoping to know soon whether an opening will come at Force India.

"I read everything and it's a bit funny because people say lots of things and you don't really know what's going on. I think there is nothing done yet and we will just have to wait and see. But for sure things will move soon."

Bianchi has topped the timesheets at the last two days of the Young Driver Test at Magny-Cours, driving for Ferrari on the first day and Force India on the second. For the final day he is back with Ferrari, but Force India's chief engineer Jakob Andreasen said he made a good impression on the team on Wednesday.

"We've had an excellent day with Jules - he really stepped up to the task in hand and continued to impress all of us," Andreasen said. "Of course, we already know Jules well from running him during Friday practice sessions, but today he we was able to spend a full day in the car and demonstrate his potential. It was clear he felt comfortable in the car and we saw his confidence continue to grow with each run."

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