THERE ARE DRIVERS WHO HAVE LEFT THEIR MARK WITHOUT WINNING A HOST OF TITLES, BUT THROUGH THEIR CHARACTER AND EASYGOING MANNER, THANKS TO A LIGHT TOUCH AND A SIMPLE SMILE, HAVE FOUND A PLACE IN THE HEARTS OF OTHERS.
Jules Bianchi was like that, a straightforward yet charismatic person, who had an effect on everyone who met him. But he was also quick, incredibly quick, to the extent that Ferrari saw something in him that was worth working on, to “create” a driver as Enzo Ferrari used to say. His was a talent to hang on to.
The Founder had believed in the natural talent of Gilles Villeneuve when he replaced Niki Lauda with him, even though he had only driven in one Grand Prix up to that point. Scuderia Ferrari later took Felipe Massa under its wing and let him learn his trade before partnering Michael Schumacher in 2006. In fact, it was Jules Bianchi who provided the stimulus for the Maranello marque to establish the Ferrari Driver Academy, aimed at bringing on talented youngsters. Over the years, many drivers have passed through it, including the aforementioned Bianchi, as well as Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc.
Jules was born in Nice on 3 August 1989 and passed away on 17 July 2015, following the accident at the previous year’s Japanese Grand Prix and he is now regarded as a sort of guardian angel for all those who have passed through the FDA, as the Academy was founded because of him. Bianchi was a force to be reckoned with, but always calm and he has left a void that is impossible to fill. He was a decent young man, with a sense of daring and bravura about him and that memory and spirit is ever present in all of those who live and work in Maranello. Jules, you are always with us.