‘Bianchi was lined up to replace Kimi’

Jules Bianchi was Ferrari-bound having been "picked" to replace Kimi Raikkonen; that's according to Luca di Montezemolo.

The Frenchman was a member of the Ferrari driver academy with the Scuderia guiding his career.

Not only did he take part in testing days with the Italian stable but they also helped him to a Marussia race-seat.

And that seat, revealed former president di Montezemolo, was all part of the plan to prepare him for a future with Ferrari.

"Jules Bianchi was one of us, was a member of the Ferrari family and he was the driver we had picked the future, once the collaboration with Raikkonen was over," di Montezemolo told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

"He was a first-rate guy, private, fast, polite, very attached to Ferrari and promising.

"A bitter fate has taken him away, leaving us with a huge void.

"I am close to his family, who in recent months have shown great courage in difficult times, and to his many friends at Ferrari."

He added: "We lost a great guy who everybody will remember with great affection."

Bianchi passed away on Friday as a result of the serious head injuries he suffered in a crash at the 2014 Japanese GP.

His funeral will take place on Tuesday in his home town of Nice.