Paris: Force India reserve driver Jules Bianchi has been behind the steering wheel for the in-season testing at Mugello that started on Tuesday. In an exclusive interview, the 22-year-old French driver, who is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, talks to IBNLive.com about the Mugello test and his experience with the team.
How was your experience on Day 1 of the testing session at Mugello?
It has been quite difficult for me because of the weather. We couldn't put in many laps. We did 19 in total on the first day. However, at the end, we did everything we wanted to do, including testing the aero package. It was quite interesting and useful for the team.
How important is the in-season test at Mugello, the first since 2008?
I think the Mugello test is really important because this year the field is really close. So if you gain one or two tenths of a second, you can gain a lot during the race. It would be important for the championship as well. It is a good thing to have more testing compared to previous years.
Have you tested new systems on the car, considering the European leg of the season would be starting soon?
Yes, we tested some new aero parts on the first day.
How has the car's performance been so far?
The car is performing really well. It is quick in the straight line and has got good grip in high-speed corners. I feel really confident with the car. I will need more laps in dry conditions, which I couldn't get in Shanghai and Mugello.
Tyre conservation has played a big role in determining the car's performance. How has the team fared on this front?
I think we have been doing well. We have done good on race days. But we need a bit of speed in qualifying. I think we will find something in Mugello and be better again in the races.
How has your experience been as a reserve driver with Force India?
It has been a good learning experience. I have to learn a lot in Formula One because I am quite young. It's always good for me to be with the team, to see how they work. It has been a positive season for me.
Have you set any goal for making your Formula One race debut?
For the moment, I am just concentrating on this season. My focus is on doing a good job with the team. I will think about that later on.
As a French driver, what is your reaction to the announcement of the return of French GP to the calendar from next year?
It will be something special for us to come back to France. I hope I will get a chance to race in Formula One next season, so it will be in the French GP as well. It is a good moment for French motorsport. We already have three French drivers in Formula One this year. I think it is a really good moment for us.