Max power! Chilton becomes fourth Brit on grid after landing Marussia deal
12:05 GMT, 18 December 2012
Max Chilton insists he is 'already up to speed' with Formula One after Marussia confirmed the promising youngster as the fourth Briton on the grid for the 2013.
Chilton replaces Caterham bound Charles Pic for the 2013 season and despite having just two Formula One tests under his belt, the 21-year-old Reigate-born racer is convinced he is ready to make the step up from the GP2 grand prix feeder series.
'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,' said Chilton.
Done deal: Chilton has been handed a permanent drive with Marussia in 2013
Max Chilton: Racing history
British Formula Three Championship (2007-09)
Chilton tasted victory at one race in three years, ending his final season 4th in the standings.
GP2 series (2010-12)
The Briton graduated to the F1 feeder series in 2010. After two largely lacklustre years, Chilton ended last season with two wins from the final four rounds finishing 4th in the championship.
'It comes at the end of what has been
a fantastic year for me, and 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.
Behind the wheel: Chilton made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi last year
'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
'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.
Brit of all right
Chilton becomes the fourth Brit on the grid next year, joining Lewis Hamilton (right), Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta.
With just three seats left to be confirmed next season, only Germany can boast the equal number of drivers. But with Adrian Sutil tipped for a return that could become five.
The other countries who will be represented in 2013 are France (3), Australia (2), Mexico (2), Finland (2), Spain, Brazil, and Venezuela.
'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 is the son of Grahame
Chilton, the non-executive chairman of insurance giant Aon Benfield's UK
holding company who is reportedly worth around 100million.
Eyes on the prize: The 21-year-old will drive for Marussia next season
However, he has previously stated
that the estimated 9.5m funding he has secured to realise his Formula
One dream does not come from the family coffers.
Even so the funding boost will be
welcomed at Marussia who narrowly missed out 10m in prize money after
being pipped to tenth place in the constructors' championship by
Caterham at the season finale in Brazil.
Marussia team principal John Booth is
adamant that, funding aside, his young protege has the talent to help
the Banbury-based team build on the solid progress they made in 2012.
Booth said: 'We have spent a
significant amount of time evaluating his performances during 2012, both
in our own car in a testing situation and also from the pit wall as we
monitored his progress alongside the other members of our junior talent
pool during Grand Prix support races.
'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. First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely
capable in the car.
'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