Marussia have confirmed that Jules Bianchi will remain with the team for 2014.
Bianchi, who was only drafted into the Marussia line-up as a last minute replacement for Luis Razia, after the Brazilian encountered financial difficulties, has impressed the paddock in his debut season in Formula One, with his crucial 13th place finish at the Malaysia Grand Prix enough to propel his cash strapped team ahead of its main rival, Caterham, for 10th in the constructors championship.
The 24-year-old, who is a part of the Ferrari driver academy, had been linked with a move up the grid, with both Force India and Sauber reported to be interested in the Frenchman’s signature.
“I am very happy to be able to confirm that I will stay with the Marussia F1 Team in 2014,” said Bianchi. “I couldn’t have wished for a more supportive environment in which to make my F1 debut and from the very beginning I have always felt completely at home with the Team.
“We started the season very well and while the challenge has increased as the season has developed, we have learned important lessons together that will place us in a much stronger position next year when there are a lot of changes for the sport and the team to get used to.”
Bianchi’s confirmation comes on the back of a recent announcement that Marussia will use Ferrari customer engines from 2014 onwards, with current engine supplier Cosworth set to leave the sport.
Marussia Team Principal John Booth expressed his excitement at the prospect of securing the talented Frenchman for a second season, as the sport enters a year of transition in 2014, with the introduction of new 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engines in place of the current 2.4 litre V8s.
“It gives us great pleasure to announce that we will go forward into 2014 with Jules as one of our race drivers.
“Jules joined us at very short notice at the end of pre-season testing, with only two days of running under his belt. He rose to the challenge of his debut season exceptionally well and since that time has clearly demonstrated his ability and potential.
“2014 heralds a new era for the sport and continuity and consistency of line-up will be important in helping us to navigate the transition. We look forward to confirming our full race driver line-up later in the season.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.