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Jules Bianchi is a product of the Ferrari Driver Academy. It was for that reason that he was seen as an outside bet to replace Massa.
Driving for Marussia in his debut season, Bianchi has shown he has plenty of potential. It would have been great to see a genuine youngster given a shot with a big team, but realistically it was never going to happen.
Ferrari don't do "learn-as-you-drive" deals and Jules is still very much a rookie. He's got a few more years of getting to grips with F1 before he'll be considered for the big time.
On the bright side, he has talent. And (sickeningly, more importantly) he has Ferrari's financial support. That could come in the form of cash or, more likely, a discount on an engine-supply deal.
His current team Marussia have a Ferrari engine supply deal for 2014, and there's little doubt they want to retain his services. Sauber will also have Ferrari engines next year.
After a year spent at the back, Ferrari want to move Bianchi up the grid if possible, so the Sauber seat is more appealing. But it's not a straightforward thing.
Sergey Sirotkin is an 18-year-old who came as part of Sauber's rescue package from a group of Russian investors. He isn't ready for F1 but the team's hands are tied.
If he gets a Super License he'll be in one of the race seats—and Sauber may prefer to team him up with a more experienced driver.
Whether or not Sirotkin will get the license is another matter, but if he does, the affordability and availability of such a driver will determine Bianchi's future.
So it's all a bit uncertain. As it stands, I'd go 55 percent he's in a Sauber for 2014, 40 percent a Marussia and five percent he gets shuffled entirely out by sponsor-bunnies.
This is F1, after all.
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