Formula 1

Ferrari want Jules Bianchi in a midfield team - manager

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Ferrari would like to see Jules Bianchi in a midfield team, that is the claim of his manager Nicolas Todt, son of FIA President Jean Todt.

Bianchi, who is currently the top driver in Ferrari's young driver academy has been linked with a move straight from his current team at Marussia to Felipe Massa's seat for 2014, however Todt believes the Maranello bosses would like to see the Frenchman in a midfield team first.

"Despite the fact that he is with a small team," he said, "it would be fair to say that Jules has already made a name for himself in formula one.

"Others have rarely managed to achieve this," said Todt.

"Ferrari is closely watching the results as they want him to pursue his career in one of the teams in the middle group, before joining the Scuderia one day," he added.

Todt as well as being Bianchi's manager also manages Brazilian Massa.

Speculation is linking a current Ferrari-based driver with a move to Sauber for 2014 with Massa the name being mentioned. Such a move would help Sauber negotiate a smaller fee for Ferrari engines for 2014 by taking one of their drivers on-board. 

Indeed Nicolas Todt was spotted in talks at the Sauber motorhome in Belgium which no doubt sparked the latest speculation.

Ferrari on the other hand is not commenting.

"In the next few races," said team boss Stefano Domenicali, "we will try to improve the car to give Fernando the conditions to fight for the title, and also so that Felipe can deliver performances to help the team.

"These are our goals," he is quoted by Brazil's Globo. "The rest does not matter now."

As for Ferrari's number 1 driver Fernando Alonso, while rumours around his future appear to have calmed, Mercedes chairman and former Ferrari driver Niki Lauda has got some advice for the Spaniard when it comes to working with the Italian team.

"If you drive for Ferrari," he told the German broadcaster RTL, "you sometimes have to expect that the car is not that great.

"But his mechanics work day and night on a car that is not as good as a Red Bull at the moment -- and he complains," said Lauda.

"But you have to constantly motivate the people -- the Italians are very sensitive," he added.

"They expect him to say 'I didn't win, but I want to thank you all that we finished second, and we are going uphill now'.

"That is the way to deal with the Italians," said Lauda.

If Alonso doesn't change his current attitude, triple champion Lauda admits Ferrari may turn against him.

"He has to be a bit careful," said Lauda. "Alonso is sometimes really not likeable.

"For me, as a package, he's the best racer out there today. But if, compared to Vettel, Hamilton or Rosberg he was to lose his two tenths of 'magic', then we would have to see what is his reputation.

"At the moment he lives off his performance," he concluded.

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