Jules Bianchi came from a motor racing family, with his grandfather Mauro Bianchi winning the GT World Championship three times, and his great uncle Lucien Bianchi racing for various Formula One teams between 1959 and 1968, with a third place in Monaco in his last season. He also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that year.
Jules made the usual route through karting and into Formula Renault in 2007, where he won the French Formula Renault 2.0 class in his first year. He moved to Formula Three in 2008, where he finished third in the 2008 Formula Three Euro Series , behind champion Nico Hulkenberg. He continued in 2009, with three rookie team mates, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez and Adrien Tambay. He comfortably won the series, with nine wins. He also drove in the Formula Renault 3.5 in the World Series by Renault at Monaco that year.
When Felipe Massa was injured during the 2009 Formula One season, Jules was among those who were rumoured to be likely to replace him on a temporary basis, although the seat eventually went to Luca Badoer for two races, and Giancarlo Fisichella for the remaining five.
Jules stayed with ART for 2010, but moved series to GP2. He started well, although was involved in a first lap accident at the Hungaroring, where his car was struck head on, and Jules suffered a fractured vertebra He managed to recover to continue in the series, finishing third in the championship behind Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez.
Jules was appointed test driver for the Ferrari Formula One team at the end of 2010 for the 2011 season.
He remained in GP2 for 2011, and was partnered with his former Formula Three team mate, Esteban Gutierrez. Another impressive season led to another third place championship finish behind Romain Grosjean, In 2012, Jules moved back to Formula Renault 3.5 in the World Series by Renault, after having previously competed in a single race in that category. He finished a close second behind Robin Frijns
Throughout 2012, the Ferrari Formula One team had loaned Jules to Force India, where he completed nine free practice sessions through the season.
In 2013, Marussia initially announced a line up of Timo Glock and Max Chilton to drive in 2013. However, Timo Glock subsequently announced that he was not staying, and he was replaced with Luiz Razia. The sponsorship expected from Luiz Razia did not materialise, and Jules was eventually announced for the Marussia team for the season. Jules did well given the overall competitiveness of the Marussia car, and although his best finish of the year was out of the points and 13th place in Malaysia, he managed to make a good impression on many. The team retained his services for 2014, and there was much delight when Jules scored Marussia’s first points at Monaco.
At the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, Jules suffered from a horrible crash, which left him hospitalised. In July 2015, Jules’ family confirmed that the hugely talented young French driver had passed away. This terribly sad news meant that he was the first driver to lose his life in a Grand Prix since Ayrton Senna in 1994, a sobering reminder that those who race for our entertainment put their lives on the line everyone they get into the car, even if the sport is much safer than it once was.
Here are some of my pictures of Jules from various events over the years.
There is a list of my various galleries of Formula One drivers here.
Jules Bianchi at the 2014 German Grand Prix
Jules Bianchi at the 2014 British Grand Prix
Jules Bianchi in the 2013 British Grand Prix
Jules Bianchi in the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix
Winter Testing 2013
2011 British Grand Prix