Q & A with Jules Bianchi

As newly crowned Euro Series F3 champion, Jules Bianchi is heading into this weekend's Macau Grand Prix as one of the favourites for victory. He knows a good result at the prestigious event will help boost his career - but it would also mean a lot on a personal level because his grandfather Mauro won the event back in 1966

Q & A with Jules Bianchi

AUTOSPORT caught up with Bianchi ahead of the first day of action in Macau - where he has been surrounded by speculation he could be back behind the wheel of an F1 car soon.

You achieved your main target this season which was winning the F3 Euro Series. Is success in the Macau Grand Prix still important for you?

Jules Bianchi: "Of course. Macau is the best F3 race in the world. After winning the Masters last year and the Euro Series this year, I really want to win Macau now. For sure if I did it, it would be very good for me - but I know it is going to be difficult. There are a lot of good drivers here this season - especially Marcus Ericsson, Renger van der Zande, and Brendon Hartley. The level is very high, so for sure it is going to be hard. But I think the team did a really good job and Mercedes-Benz also, so we are well prepared for the race.

Even having won the F3 title, does victory in Macau still bring something more to your CV?

JB: Yeah, of course. It is really important, because to win a race like Macau is all the time important for your career. We will push and we will see first on Thursday how it is going, but normally we are going to be more competitive compared to last year.

What about the family element too - because your grandfather Mauro won the Macau Grand Prix in 1966?

JB: Yeah, a long time ago! He won here, so of course if I win this race it will be really special for me, because to win after my grandfather did it, it will mean everything.

How much of a help is it that you raced here last year, even though you had a difficult weekend after crashing in qualifying?

JB: Of course it will be a lot easier, especially on the first lap on Thursday. It will be a lot easier to push, to be more confident with the car and to be confident with the track, because last year it was a bit difficult for me to come here the first time. We were not also so fast with the car. For that, we pushed a lot and I said to the team that I wanted to go here, to go just for the victory, so they did a very good job. They have prepared the car really well and did a really good job before the race.

How do you view the engine situation battle between Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and TOM'S?
JB:
I think we did a good step between this year and last year. Normally we should be competitive - although with TOM's we never know as we never raced with them. But I know Volkswagen and I think we are stronger.

Your success in the Euro Series this season has thrust you into the F1 limelight, with rumours all season linking you with Ferrari. There are rumours you may test for the team next month. How encouraging is it to be in a situation like this when you are still in F3?

JB: Nothing is confirmed yet at Ferrari. Everybody is saying that, but I don't know yet. We are speaking with some teams, but nothing is sure yet. We are still waiting for news - and I prefer to concentrate on my races and what is happening in the present, rather than think about the future.

Would a good result here help convince a team like Ferrari to take you on board though?

JB: Of course to have a good result in Macau will help for everything because, as I said, Macau is the best circuit in the world for F3. If I win it, then for sure it will be a lot easier to find sponsors and to make everything easier.

You are stepping up to GP2 with ART next season. Is there a chance of an F1 test deal as well?

JB: First of all, I will concentrate on the GP2 Season as I have already signed with ART. That is a good move for me, because ART is one of the best teams in GP2. I just know about GP2. As far as F1 is concerned I don't know if I will be a test driver, but I don't think so.

You must be frustrated that the current F1 testing regulations make it so difficult for a young driver like you to get mileage under their belt?

JB: It is difficult because with the new rules, even if you are a test driver, you cannot drive. I am sure it is difficult for a young driver to have a good experience when you arrive in F1. It would be a good thing for me to be involved with an F1 team and to learn, not just on driving but how they do things and how they work, everything like that. It would be great.

What would you consider the most difficult aspect of trying to win Macau, because it only takes one element of bad luck to wreck your weekend?

JB: The most difficult thing in Macau is to not crash. The level is really high, so you have to be all the time on the limit. And when you touch the limit, it is then too late. So you just have to be careful, and to be fast as well. You have to be really concentrated. Mentally, it is the toughest race of the year.

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