Last week I wrote a blog that I intended to publish over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend .
Obviously I didn’t get around to publishing it on Friday or Saturday and decided I would post it to Wordpress on Sunday morning (UK Time) after the race . It’s a piece stating my own manifesto for change in F1 .
One thing that I did not write about changing was safety .
The events that ended the Japanese Grand Prix took all thoughts of blogging from my thoughts . And certainly took away any anger or dissatisfaction I feel about our sport .
I will publish it soon , and will publish my piece regarding the events at Suzuka at a more appropriate time .
Like all F1 drivers (and many who never reach this position) Jules is someone whose career to this point I have followed through the pages of Autosport and on TV , thanks to the multitude of sports channels that cover many different development series .
Like we have seen from many drivers many times , he proved his prodigious talent in Formula 3 whilst contesting , and winning , the Euro F3 series in 2009 .
Thankfully he has been able to translate this success into an F1 seat after proving himself worthy of gaining the position of development driver for the mighty Ferrari . Now , to those with a passing interest in F1 , this may seem to be part of the natural order of driver development . We have seen Formula One teams develop drivers with mixed levels of success . This season they include Bottas at Williams , Grosjean from Renault , Hamilton from McLaren , The Red Bull program which has unearthed Vettel and Ricciardo .
But Jules is different , he is a FERRARI development driver , and that is huge on a twofold scale .
First of all , working for Scuderia Ferrari in any capacity brings a responsibility far greater than working for any other F1 team . That is not meant as a belittlement to the other teams that make up the grid , it’s simply a case of representing a team that is worshipped in Italy in the same way their national football team is worshipped .
If you don’t stand up to the scrutiny of the Tifosi , you’ll sharp find out !
Traditionally Ferrari take drivers with a plethora of experience in F1 , if you look at the drivers who have represented the Prancing Horse in the last 20 years or so , you will find all bar one driver had a respectable F1 resume before joining the team .
Jules career path was intended to be similar to that of Felipe Massa .
Which brings us to second point on the amazing story of Jules being part of the Ferrari family .
Felipe Massa came into F1 with Sauber-Ferrari and after a season moved to Ferrari as a test driver , he then returned to Sauber for a further 2 seasons before joining Ferrari as number 2 to Michael Schumacher .
The reason Jules is so special to Ferrari is that he is the first driver to be chosen for their development program , and thus far he has proved their investment to be worthy in his graduation to Formula One . The success of grooming Massa through the Ferrari ranks may have inspired Ferrari to instigate this program , but it has been the dedication and tenacity of Jules Bianchi to work in the toughest environment a young driver could experience and make a success of it .
The accomplishment of his 9th place finish at Monaco this year may have paved the way for his current team , Marussia , to continue into the 2015 season thanks to the financial rewards of (probably) finishing within the top 10 in the constructors championship .
But the race itself was not a case of heroics and a fairytale situation that led to Marussia punching well above it’s weight . It was not a daredevil ride of gargantuan proportions to fling an uncompetitive car around an unforgiving track and finish in the top 10 amid some romantic notion of derring do .
No , it was a balanced , mature , drive where he was able to appraise the situation and bring the best out of himself and his machinery , the kind of drive that is of world championship calibre , the kind of drive a leading team would look to when investigating prospective drivers for their team .
It’s not a foregone conclusion that Jules would one day line up on the grid as a Ferrari driver , but all the ingredients are there .
It’s what he has been developed to be .
It’s the challenge he has been set , and when you look in minute detail you will see he has exceeded this mandate .
The Bianchi family has experienced tragedy at the racetrack before with the loss of Le Mans 24 hours winner Lucien Bianchi . This will not alter the fact that , as I write , his family will be struggling to come to terms with the situation facing them at present . to Jules and the Bianchi family .
I hope now that when you see the name Jules Bianchi , that you realise he is much more than just a driver from the lower end of the grid whose name has spread across the world due to this accident .
See him as he is , a rising star of F1 .
Andrea de Cesaris
Sunday October the 5th saw the passing of Andrea de Cesaris , a man whose F1 career carried many misconceptions . With an incredibly long stint in F1 de Cesaris never won a race . With a career long Marlboro link , Andrea’s wages were often met which meant he was able to attain drives that pay drivers may have been chasing . Every season in F1 from 1980 till 1994 Andrea’s pure car control and raw speed would come to the fore . Unfortunately , he was never to race for a top team in his prime , so was not able to take advantage of the move to McLaren in 1981 . His time for the Woking based team cemented a reputation that slighted his name for the next 13 years .
Back in 1982 I fondly remember racing around my street on a damp Sunday with my friends on pedal go-karts . My best friend Ian raced around as Alain Prost , I as Keke Rosberg , but we changed to different drivers at different points of our game . To a young boy from the North East of England I was enamoured with motor racing , and fascinated by the exotic names of foreign drivers . Arnoux , Villeneuve , Jarier ………. But 2 names really stuck out to me , de Angelis and de Cesaris .
Often known as de Crasharis because of his propensity to wreck cars in the early days of his career , Andrea de Cesaris was a driver who was always on my peripheral radar on a Sunday afternoon . He could often be seen taking a car further up the grid than it should be . He also could often be seen gracing our TV screens acting as a rolling roadblock , making life difficult for the likes of Senna and Mansell . But in 14 years and 208 F1 races Andrea stuck to his guns and defiantly raced his way .
An intelligent and articulate driver it was unfortunately rare to read or see an interview , but the soundbites and snippets of opinion that came from de Cesaris were always worth the wait .
As child I saw this guy with a fantastic name racing in the gorgeous colours of Marlboro and I’ll treasure those memories forever . But as a serious fan I only really saw Andrea race in the latter years of his career . For a while I saw him as a driver who should move on and let F1 go , but his 1994 super sub placement at Jordan brought a new found respect from this teenage race fan .
I followed his races at Sauber later that season with great interest . Having replaced the injured Karl Wendlinger he was paired with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and seemed to take to the task of being the team’s steady elder statesman .
As a foil to the young charger Frentzen , his level headed attitude helped to steady the young Sauber team early in it’s second F1 season . While the team initially seemed unsteady , de Cesaris seemed to bring a confident certainty to an organisation on wobbly legs .
Andrea de Cesaris faded from F1 towards the end of the 1994 season , he generally wasn’t revered at a level he should have been , he never got the right drives when he had done enough to earn them , and most of all he was mislabeled as a one man crash fest .