Jules Bianchi admits he had mentally prepared himself for another season as Force India's test driver before Marussia came to his rescue.
The 23-year-old was initially mooted as a possible replacement for Nico Hulkenberg at Force India, but the Silverstone squad eventually confirmed during the final pre-season test at Barcelona that they had opted for the experienced Adrian Sutil.
Bianchi, though, got a lucky break as a seat opened up at Marussia after Luiz Razia's sponsors failed to come up with the necessary funds to pay the team.
The Oxfordshire-based squad immediately turned to the Frenchman and he admits it came as a bit of a surprise.
"Honestly, I thought it was over," he said an interview with France's Sport24. "It was a period of ups and downs as we waited for an answer. I had to prepare myself before the bad news came. But then there was this story [about Razia]...
"In my head, I had told myself that I would be having another season as third driver [at Force India], so it was really a great surprise to find myself in contention for the seat."
Bianchi, a member of the Ferrari driver academy, believes he has earned his spot on the Formula One grid having spent the past two seasons as test drivers for Ferrari and Force India respectively.
"I immediately said 'yes'," he said. "I knew it was being discussed, but I did not really believe it [would work out]. I only really knew that it was good at six o'clock on Friday evening.
"I could have stayed with Force India as their third driver, but I think I have enough done enough in the lower grades in previous years, and I had to take a step forward. It was my goal, so I did it!"
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