Team boss Stefano Domenicali has played down suggestions Jules Bianchi is really in the running to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year.

Jules_Bianchi-MarussiaThe rookie Frenchman has impressed at Marussia this year, but it is expected his next step in Ferrari’s development programme will be a midfield seat, perhaps at the Ferrari-powered Sauber team. Domenicali confirmed to the French newspaper Le Figaro that the ultimate aim is to get Bianchi ready for a seat at Ferrari.

Referring to the driver ‘academy’ programme, he said: “Jules is continuing to develop, we’re following him closely and I hope he is the first to accomplish this dream.”

But when asked if Bianchi is in the running for Massa’s 2014 seat, the Italian answered: “We have to be realistic. “Ferrari is a heavy burden for a young driver, and so we do not want to add pressure on him by setting him a deadline. “He knows know what our ambition is, but we will wait for the right time,” added Domenicali.

Info: GMM, Image: Marussia