Motor racing-Ferrari backing Bianchi for F1 role

Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:20pm GMT

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Jan 16 (Reuters) - Ferrari are trying to find a regular Formula One role for French driver Jules Bianchi, who has been linked to the vacant Force India race seat.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali assured reporters at a media event in the Italian Dolomites on Wednesday that "we are currently trying to find him a role in Formula One and when we have some news, we will let you know."

Bianchi, a member of Ferrari's driver academy, was Force India reserve last season and took part in several Friday practice sessions for the Mercedes-engined team.

Media reports have speculated that Force India could be mulling a switch to Ferrari engines in 2014 with Bianchi, whose manager Nicolas Todt also looks after Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, part of the package.

Force India have yet to name a replacement for Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, who has moved to Ferrari-powered Sauber, with the first pre-season test due to start on Feb. 5. Britain's Paul Di Resta is their other driver.

Germany's Adrian Sutil, a former Force India driver who sat out last season, is also considered a frontrunner for the coveted race seat. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Alison Wildey)

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