Ferrari protege Jules Bianchi to be Force India reserve

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Jules Bianchi
Bianchi remains part of Ferrari while joining Force India as reserve

Ferrari protege Jules Bianchi has joined Force India as their reserve driver for the 2012 season.

The Frenchman, 22, will take part in at least nine Friday practice sessions, and will also take part in their pre-season testing programme next month.

Force India team boss Vijay Mallya said: "We always keep an eye on young, talented drivers and his performance in GP2 certainly impressed us all."

Ferrari confirmed that Bianchi would remain part of their driver academy.

Bianchi said: "I'm obviously excited to join Sahara Force India and the chance to get track time during race weekends is an important step for me.

"Being regularly in a current car is the best way to learn quickly and I hope it will put me in a strong position to one day move into a race seat.

"The next few months will be really exciting as I get to know the team, see how they work, and prepare for my time in the car."