Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has revealed that Jules Bianchi had been earmarked as a future driver for the team prior to his tragic death.
The 25-year-old passed away on Saturday after failing to recover from severe head injuries that he suffered nine months ago.
In October, the Frenchman was hospitalised after his Marussia collided with a recovery vehicle at Suzuka during the Japanese Grand Prix.
It has now emerged that Bianchi could have been a driver for Ferrari as early as next year.
"Jules was one of us - part of the Ferrari family," Di Montezemolo told Sky Italia. "And he was the driver we had chosen for the future, once the collaboration with Kimi Raikkonen had finished."
Bianchi was expected to move to Ferrari's customer team Sauber at the time of his accident.