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!
GP2 Series: Jules, congratulations on a strong podium in a strange race: how was it for you?
Jules Bianchi: Really difficult. I did a good start and then van der Garde and Clos crashed and I was P2, and then Sam did a mistake and I was P1: I led the race for a long time, and in the rain we were really quick and could build a big gap. After that we did a pitstop, I made a mistake in the first corner and then I didn’t have any more gap: Romain was quite quick, and again the same situation as in Silverstone where they pitted before us so they were quicker.
GP2 Series: You were still leading then, but it looked like you cut the chicane: what happened?
Jules: I pushed a bit, I made a mistake in the second last lap at the chicane, and Romain overtook me: I’m very disappointed because without the mistake I would have won for sure, because it was not possible to overtake. But Romain has been really strong, and all the time very close to me, so he did a really good race and I congratulate him and his team, and I thank my team because the car was good today and I think we improved a lot from yesterday, even though the track was difficult. It was my mistake today, and that’s it: I’m really sorry about that.
GP2 Series: It is always going to be difficult to make a pitstop call in conditions like this: how did you come to the decision on when to come out?
Jules: Because everybody was improving laptimes on the slicks, especially Filippi who was quite strong, so we had to pit and we did a good pitstop, but that was it: I’m just quite disappointed.
GP2 Series: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference for today’s qualifying session here in Silverstone. Joining us today from pole position is Jules Bianchi from Lotus ART, in second place we have Alvaro Parente from Carlin, and in third place we have Romain Grosjean from Dams. Starting with you Jules, congratulations on pole position today: it wasn’t quite the session we were all hoping for, but how was it for you
Jules Bianchi: It was a really difficult qualy for everybody, I think. We started and I tried to push a lot from the first lap, then on my second lap I saw that maybe I would have some traffic in the final few corners but I didn’t: it was quite a quick lap and it was pole position! I think we did the right strategy, and we thought a lot about it before the qualy with the team: I really want to thank them because we did a really good job, the car was really good and now we are pole for tomorrow!
GP2 Series: We didn’t get to run with the slicks this afternoon: how were the wets performing?
Jules: The tyres were good: I could feel some little degradation! (laughs) We’ll see tomorrow: if it’s raining it will be tough, but we have to see how to reduce this degradation in the rain. Anyway I’m really happy, because after some difficult races it’s good to be back on pole.
GP2 Series: You’ve got a big opportunity with the front guys on the leader board a bit further back: what are your hopes for tomorrow?
Jules: Obviously I don’t think a lot about the championship because I’m really far away: I’ll just take it race by race and try to do my best, try to do some good results, and that’s it. Tomorrow I start from pole, I will want to win and get some points: that’s it!
On selected Thursdays across Formula 1’s European season, GPUpdate.net shares an insight to the up and coming stars of tomorrow. This time it’s a Frenchman who’s part of Ferrari’s exclusive young driver programme, dominated the 2009 F3 Euro Series and is now quick – if not a tad controversial – in GP2.
Name Jules Bianchi
Born 3 August 1989, Nice, France
Current series GP2
Career in a nut shell Karting -> French Formula Renault 2.0 -> Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 -> Formula 3 Euro Series -> GP2 Asia Series -> GP2
Did you know? Bianchi is the son of Mauro Bianchi, a triple GT World Champion. He is a great nephew of the late Lucien Bianchi, who competed in 19 F1 Grands Prix between 1959 and 1968, finishing on the podium for Cooper in the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix which was won by Graham Hill. Lucien also won the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Two minutes with Jules Bianchi…
How did you get interested in racing?
My father had a go-kart track, so I started very early when I was three years old. My family has always been involved in motor racing because my grandfather and great uncle were drivers around the 1960s, so I’ve been there all my life.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
For me it was probably Zandvoort 2009, when I won the two Formula 3 Masters races – starting P8 for one of them. So that was the greatest moment for me.
Do you have any racing heroes?
Yeah, Schumacher. Schumacher was my example and my favourite driver, for sure.
And finally…tell us something ridiculous about yourself please…
I always use the same underwear for racing. On a race weekend I wash it in the evening and that’s it, I then use it the next day. Why? It’s a superstition, that’s it really.
Interview with Jules Bianchi, Lotus ART driver in Gp2, best rookie in Gp2 Series 2010, Vice Champion in Gp2 Asia Series 2011 and member of Ferrari Driver Academy and Official Ferrari test driver.
What is the meaning for you to be a Nazionale Piloti driver?
To be a driver of Nazionale Piloti is a good opportunity for me because you can live some beautiful moments in which you are fine with all the drivers and with the staff of the team: in the track we are in competition because every driver battle for the final win but in the field we are joined in one single team. And then it’s beautiful to stay together to have fun in a sport that is very different from Gp2 or F1: the most important thing remains the charity. It’s very important for me to do something to help, with the other drivers, the people who are less luck of us and who are in difficult.
What do you like about Italy?
I like a lot Italy because it is a very beautiful country. The mine is France but I’m very well in Italy: I don’t live so far and so I can come in Italy a lot of times. It’s a sort of second family for me in which I live some very good moments and this is because I’m very good in Italy.
You are a Lotus ART driver in Gp2 but you have some chances to drive a Formula Uno car. What differences you find between F1 and Gp2 for the emotions?
To drive a Formula One car is an incredible and fantastic emotion: you know that one Formula One is the maximum of all the Formulas and it has the best technology of the world and so the emotion that you find in the moment you get in the car is very strong. To drive in a track is always wonderful but with a Formula One car is really something unique.