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Bianchi and van der Garde to continue in GP2

ESPNF1 Staff
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Jules Bianchi is also a Ferrari development driver © Sutton Images
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F1 hopefuls Jules Bianchi and Geido van der Garde have both secured another season in the GP2 feeder series with their respective teams ART and Rapax.

Bianchi, who is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, finished third in GP2 this year and will join Sauber test driver Esteban Gutierrez at the Lotus-sponsored ART in 2011. Geido van der Garde, who was in the running for a Virgin seat in F1 until last Tuesday, will stay at the championship-winning Rapax team that he finished seventh with in 2010.

Bianchi is aiming for the championship in 2011 and will be a favourite after the two drivers that finished ahead of him in 2010 (Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez) have graduated to F1.

"I am proud Lotus ART put their confidence in me for another year because I know with them I have the best environment to reap what we have sown over the last few years and have the opportunity to fight for the title," he said. "Added to that, thanks to the Ferrari Driver Academy, compared to a year ago, I feel deeply changed. It was an important experience, which made me grow a lot and made me get to know the company and the people who work on this project - skilled professionals with great humanity."

Van der Garde is also hoping to fight for the title with a seat in Formula One in mind for 2012.

"I am happy to have cleared up next year's plans and would like to thank the Addax team for its confidence," said van der Garde. "The GP2 Series will be racing with a brand-new chassis in 2011, which means everyone will start from scratch with the set-up of the car. A new chassis obviously brings a great challenge so I am extremely motivated to fight for the championship and continue to work on my ultimate goal which is to race in a competitive Formula One seat."

The news means Sam Bird, who drove his debut GP2 season with ART in 2010, will have to look elsewhere next year. However, there are still plenty of seats up and down the grid that have yet to be filled.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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