Briton driver Max Chilton selected to drive for Marussia in the 2013 Formula One season
Chilton's deal means there will be four British drivers on the F1 grid in 2013
The 21-year-old has only had two F1 test drives and moves from GP2 series
Chilton joins Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta in the sport
Britain will have four representatives on the Formula One grid next season after Marussia F1 announced they have signed Max Chilton for the 2013 campaign.
The 21-year-old has completed just two F1 tests for the team and was their reserve driver for the final six races of 2012.
Chilton’s deal with Marussia means there will be a British quartet on the grid when the teams line up in Australia. He joins Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, of McLaren, and Paul Di Resta, who drives for Force India.
It is the first time there have been four Brits in F1 since 2008 when Button and Hamilton were joined by David Coulthard and Anthony Davidson.
“It’s hard to put into words how I’m feeling today, with the announcement that I will be racing for the Marussia F1 Team in 2013,” Chilton said in a statement on Marussia’s official website.
“I am very fortunate to have spent the last six races with the Marussia F1 Team 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.
“I feel very lucky to be able to embark on my F1 racing career with this group of people.
“Pre-season testing is just a few weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation whilst 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 finished fourth in the GP2 series, which acts as a feeder competition for F1, and showed promise in his two performances in the Marussia car, in a young driver test and in free practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
John Booth, Marussia’s team principal, said Chilton had shown enough potential to earn his chance, as Marussia try to improve on their 11th-place finish in last year’s constructors’ championship.
“We felt confident enough in his ability and potential to appoint him to the role of reserve driver in September and since that time his development has been rapid in all aspects,” Booth explained.
“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 that 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.”