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Force India needs Bianchi for two years as a third driver

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Sahara Force India confirmed that they want Jules Bianchi for two years as a third driver role, earlier than allowing for him as a race driver.

Force India unveiled its 2013 challenger yesterday as Paul Di Resta pulled the covers off the VJM06 at Silverstone circuit, Di Resta only lead driver attended this event.

Last season, Ferrari has loaned him to the Force India team, for whom he drove in nine Friday free practice sessions over the course of the year as the outfit’s test and reserve driver.

“The idea of the Nico/Paul partnership not continuing into 2013 wasn’t our plan,” Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Autosport. “Obviously it slightly de-railed our programme.

“If we’d had an ideal world we’d have liked to run Jules for two years as a third driver. Is Jules ready to go into a primary seat? Yes, he is. Absolutely. But we’ve just got to make sure we tick all the boxes now.”

“We have all these long-term plans and we want to make sure the decisions we take are the right ones,” he said. And we don’t have to rush those decisions. Today [at the launch], a lot of the talk is about why we don’t have other drivers here.

“Well, the key objective today is to launch the VJM06 and two new partners with our programme. We only needed one driver to do that.” He added.

“When we go to Jerez, there’s no better person to do all the baseline work and get the car ready for Barcelona, than Paul. Paul will be the key focus for Jerez. After that, the shareholders will be ready I think to announce the three-driver line-up, which will see us into 2013 and hopefully longer term.”


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