ART have confirmed that Jules Bianchi will remain with the team for his second season in the category.
The Frenchman will be looking to build upon the experience gained during a testing rookie season in which he finished third in the standings, taking four podiums, three pole positions and one fastest lap. With the two men above him in this year's final standings, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez, having graduated to Formula 1, Bianchi will have just one aim – to win the title.
Bianchi will combine his GP2 title challenge with his new role as Scuderia Ferrari test and reserve driver, having been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
“My first year in the most competitive championship besides F1 with the closest car there is to an F1 contender, allowed me to learn a great deal on a sporting, technical and personal level,” Bianchi explained. “I am proud Lotus ART put their confidence in me for another year because I know with them I have the best environment to reap what we have sown over the last few years and have the opportunity to fight for the title.
“Added to that, thanks to the Ferrari Driver Academy, compared to a year ago, I feel deeply changed,” he continued. “It was an important experience, which made me grow a lot and made me get to know the company and the people who work on this project, skilled professionals with great humanity. Through various stages we have practiced a major physical and mental training, but mostly I had a chance to hone driving techniques and it is in this sense that I feel that I have been a great help. I'm sure it will help me for my 2011 challenge.”
Team boss Frederic Vasseur said: “Despite a broken vertebrae that could have had serious consequences both on a sporting and psychological level, Jules finished his first season in the GP2 Series brilliantly with the status of best rookie of the year. This remarkable achievement is even stronger thanks to his capability of chasing pole positions. He secured three times as many poles than any other rival in 2010. Lotus ART knows Jules well both as a driver and a person and has total confidence in him. We hope the combination of his qualities and the hard work of the team and its partners will give us all the leverage we need to aim for top places.”
Bianchi's teammate at the rebranded Lotus ART GP2 squad will be reigning GP3 champion Esteban Gutierrez.