A veteran journalist has linked GP2 driver and Ferrari protégé Jules Bianchi with the Williams seat currently occupied by Rubens Barrichello for the 2012 season.
Brazilian Barrichello, the most experienced driver in Formula One history, is waiting to have his contract renewed by the famous British team.
But his countryman Livio Oricchio, who writes for the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, has said this week that the 39-year-old’s seat is in doubt because “Frank Williams needs money”.
He said Williams’ main revenue streams are Pastor Maldonado’s sponsor PDVSA, F1 television income, and minor backers like Randstad, Reuters, ATT and Oris.
Altogether, struggling Williams’ budget is about $100 million, with Barrichello costing the team about $5m.
“And there are young drivers on the market with a similar amount of money ($5m) to spend to make their formula one debut, like the Monegasque Stefano Coletti, Italian Davide Valsecchi, Briton Sam Bird and Frenchman Jules Bianchi”, said Oricchio.
“Bianchi is in the Ferrari school but he needs to show what he can do before he can dream to compete for the Maranello team. Williams would be a good entry point,” he added.
Bianchi, 22 and handled by Felipe Massa’s manager Nicholas Todt, has had a somewhat difficult GP2 season but is still highly regarded by Ferrari.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Speed Week reports that Force India driver Adrian Sutil’s key sponsor Medion has suffered a sharp decline in revenue in the first half of 2011.
Page Nazionale Piloti announced Jules will play on charity football game in Belgium on 24th, August. I hope he will play as good as he did in Hungary.
I’ve just found an interview with Jules. Unfortunately, it’s available only in Romanian but you can understand it with Google Translator here.
What did you know about your teammate before this season?
Jules: I knew him from Formula 3 in 2009. So it was not really new for me to be with him. I know he is very quick and a bit younger than me, but I knew it would be a bit tough for me to have him in the same team this year.
Esteban: We know each other since 2009. He has more experience and for me it is a pleasure to be his teammate because it’s good to have him as a reference because he is quick. I hope I can learn a lot from him.
What are each other’s strong points?
Jules: On track he is very quick especially in the slow corners. I can learn a lot from him. It helps me to improve even if it’s his first season, he is a good reference.
Esteban: Jules is very quick on one lap. Basically, it is a very important point with the Pirelli tyres. Plus, Jules is very consistent. He has a good pace.
Jules: It’s difficult to say you know… I don’t know.
Esteban: My experience probably.
Jules: Yes, probably.
Esteban: Sometimes, Jules may be pushing a bit too much.
Who is always the last one to get to the track?
Jules: Yes, I win that one easily.
Jules: This morning, we said we would leave at 9:30 and at 9:50 I was still waiting for him.
Esteban: I like to take my time…
Who is the wildest one on and off the track?
Esteban: I have to say… No Jules, you have to say it yourself!
Jules: Do you mean I am the wildest?
Jules: Okay, maybe me…
Esteban: I am the wildest off the track, but I cannot tell you why!
Who is the most successful with the ladies?
Jules: I think it’s me.
Esteban: Yes, I think it’s Jules… Anyway, we don’t know because I have a girlfriend and he doesn’t.
Jules: It’s been a tough year for me (Laughs)!
Are you superstitious?
Jules: Yes. I always use the same underwear during a meeting.
Jules: Yeah, it’s over there, you can see it. It’s the blue thing. But they don’t seem to be working that well this weekend. I should change them (Laughs)! I started doing that in Formula 3. It seemed to be working pretty well back them. This year, not so much!
Esteban: I don’t have that type of superstition.
Who will have the best car in ten years time?
Jules: It depends on our career of course…
Who will have the most beautiful wife in ten years time?
(After the longest pause ever…)
Esteban: For me, whoever I marry will always be beautiful.
What word would you use to describe your teammate?
Esteban: Aggressive, but in a good way.
Jules: Calm. He looks calm.
Who has the best fashion sense?
Jules: It’s difficult to say.
Esteban: We don’t really see each other outside the track.
Jules: I have to wear Puma stuff all the time… (Pause) And they are really, really great stuffs I should add! (Laughs)
Esteban: I like wearing nice clothes, but I don’t like shopping. Yes, I need a sponsor!
Who is the shyest?
Jules: Maybe me.
Jules: When I meet people for the first time, I’m not comfortable.
Esteban: I’m a little bit, but not too bad.
Who is your favourite sportsman?
Jules: Schumacher. He is the best. That’s it.
Esteban: For me, it’s hard to say. I think it’s Robert Kubica.
Who tells the most jokes?
(Esteban’s engineer Gaetan Jego enters the room)
Jules: Gaetan is the best to answer.
Gaetan: I probably tell the lamest jokes. Jules makes a lot of practical jokes to our truckie.
Esteban: We cannot mention these jokes though.
Jules: It’s a secret!
Esteban: To be honest, they always to the jokes in French.
Jules: Yes, it’s true that for me it’s a lot easier. It’s a French team.
Jules, if you were to invite Esteban for dinner, what would you cook?
Jules: Fajitas! You like then?
Jules: Then I would do that? I improved my cooking skills from last year (Laughs). I’d buy Old el paso and voila!
Esteban: I would cook you very difficult pasta (Laughs). Honestly when I go to a restaurant and I see snails I think about the French. So if you cook fajitas to me, I will cook snails for you.
Jules: No! I would not eat that!
Who has the most contacts in their phone?
Jules: I have more girls so… (Laughs)
Esteban: 296. We can compare the BBM?
Jules: I don’t know… BBM, I have 87
Esteban: 151. I win!
Happy Birthday to Jules who turned 22 years old today! I wish you, Jules, all the best and I hope you have a nice day today!
Sorry for the lack of updates, I was busy in the past few days, but now I’m back and I’ll work on the site during the summer break before Spa.