x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Max Chilton clinches Marussia seat for 2013 F1 season

British driver's performance during first practice at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a factor in team's decision.

Max Chilton, seen here test driving the Marussia car during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, raced in the GP2 series last season. Steve Crisp / Reuters
Max Chilton, seen here test driving the Marussia car during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, raced in the GP2 series last season. Steve Crisp / Reuters

An impressive performance behind the wheel by Max Chilton in Abu Dhabi last month has helped the Briton earn a spot on the Formula One grid for the 2013 season.

Chilton, 21, has signed a deal to drive for Marussia, and will make his debut for the team at the Australian Grand Prix in March.

He had been Marussia's reserve driver for the last six races of the 2012 season, and a good display in first practice at Yas Marina Circuit during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race weekend persuaded Marussia to sign him to race alongside Timo Glock, the German driver, who has been with the team since 2010.

John Booth, the team principal, said: "First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely capable in the car.

"Most recently, in Abu Dhabi, he was put to the test in a competitive environment which included providing him with an opportunity to demonstrate his outright pace and consistency over a single lap.

"Not only that, Max very quickly embedded himself within the team, thanks in no small part to the fact he is a lively and affable character, who we've enjoyed having around.

"Having been integral to our race weekend engineering environment for the past three months already – as well as having undertaken a significant part of our simulator programme – Max has already found his feet."

Chilton, who raced in the GP2 series last season, winning twice, also tested for Marussia at Silverstone in England in July. He replaces Charles Pic, who has moved to Caterham.

"It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling with the announcement that I will be racing for Marussia in 2013," he said. "This comes at the end of what has been a fantastic year for me.

"Those steps – my GP2 pole positions and wins, my performances in the F1 young driver test and in FP1 at Abu Dhabi – have given everyone the confidence in my ability to compete at the highest level of motor sport.

"I am very fortunate to have spent the last six races with Marussia as reserve driver, which means that instead of a standing start I am already up to speed and at ease with the people, the culture, the systems and of course, the 2012 package.

"During the period since the Japanese Grand Prix I have watched at very close quarters the incredible commitment and determination to succeed that saw everyone in the team pushing until the very last race."

Testing for the 2013 season begins in February in Spain and Chilton said that he could not wait to get behind the wheel again.

He said: "Pre-season testing is just a few weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation while spending as much time as possible working with the technical team to help develop the car I will drive in my debut F1 season."

Chilton's signing leaves only two spaces left unfilled on the F1 grid for 2013.

Force India are yet to confirm who will race alongside Paul di Resta, while Caterham have yet to decide who will be Charles Pic's teammate.

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