x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Bianchi's quest for fame in Europe

Yas double-header will help last year's Formula Three Euroseries champion to continue building his experience in the GP2 series.

ABU DHABI // Jules Bianchi is relishing the chance to race on the Yas Marina circuit tonight in the first GP2 Asia race as he looks to continue building his experience in the series. Last year's Formula Three Euroseries champion is using this weekend's double-header event as a chance to get to grips with the series as he prepares for a tilt at the European-based GP2 series this year. The 20-year-old Frenchman, who will race for the ART team, has big credentials after being signed by the Formula One team Ferrari on a long-term contract.

Bianchi, while looking forward to racing under the floodlights in Abu Dhabi, is keeping his expectations low on race results. "The main important thing is to learn the car, get used to driving it and doing pit-stops ahead of the main series," he said. "The main thing is to gain experience from the weekend with the car. It is a little different to the car I will be racing, but I am looking forward to it and will be looking to get the best results I can."

Bianchi is managed by Nicolas Todt, whose father, Jean is the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) president. The race tonight starts at 6pm and runs for 45 minutes, with the second GP2 Asia race taking place at the same point tomorrow. Richard Cregan, chief executive officer of Yas Marina Circuit, is thrilled that the GP2 action is being held in Abu Dhabi, and on the day he announced plans to set up a framework to get an Emirati driver in Formula One within the next 10 years, he also spoke of the importance of the series.

"It is the final step to Formula One and you will see some of the best young drivers on track in open-wheel racing," he said. "It is very unlikely now that you can get into Formula One without a series in GP2." Also on track this weekend is the Chevrolet Supercar Middle East series and the Porsche Middle East Championship. @Email:gcaygill@thenational.ae