Jules Bianchi has admitted he expected to spend the 2013 season as Force India's reserve driver. The Frenchman served in that role last year, but was a hot contender to step into the race seat for 2...
The Frenchman served in that role last year, but was a hot contender to step into the race seat for 2013.
Ultimately, however, Adrian Sutil got the job.
"I honestly thought it was over," Bianchi told France's Sport24.
"And then there was this story (about Marussia and Luiz Razia), but in my head I had told myself that I would do another season as third driver.
"It was really a great surprise to find myself in contention for this (Marussia) seat."
Recalling when Force India chose German Sutil over him, he explained: "The bad news came ... I could stay with Force India but as third driver.
"I thought I had done enough in the past years to make a step forward."
Of course, Bianchi will indeed be on the Melbourne grid next weekend, alongside fellow rookies Max Chilton, his teammate, and also Valtteri Bottas and Giedo van der Garde.
Asked if his new status has sunk in, Bianchi answered: "Not really! I find it hard to say I'll be on the grid in Melbourne.
"Since I was small and in karting, I have worked towards F1. It will take me some more days to understand this."
Asked how he responded when Marussia offered him the seat, Bianchi revealed: "I immediately said yes!
"I knew it was being discussed but I didn't really believe it.
"I know that my manager, Nicolas Todt, worked hard for it, as well as my sponsors, the French (motor racing) federation and Ferrari who were all behind me and helped me to where I am today," he added.