Max Chilton becomes latest Briton on F1 grid after landing Marussia deal

The 21-year-old will join Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul Di
Resta in F1

Max Chilton will become the fourth Briton on the Formula One grid next season after landing a deal with Marussia for 2013.

The 21-year-old, initially appointed as Marussia's reserve driver in late September, will join Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta in F1.

Chilton said: "It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling with the announcement that I will be racing for Marussia in 2013."

Chilton, from Reigate in Surrey, was in pole position for the vacant seat once Frenchman Charles Pic switched to Caterham a month ago.

Although there were other, more experienced names in the running, Chilton impressed in a young driver test at Silverstone in July and in first practice in Abu Dhabi in November.

The team claim Chilton showed impressive speed, quality of feedback, ability to set up the car and potential for being able to contribute to its development.

It is understood Chilton, who finished fourth in last season's GP2 Series with two victories, has also been able to acquire considerable financial backing to help fund his drive.

Chilton added: "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.

"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."

Team principal John Booth feels Chilton's development has been "rapid" following his appointment as reserve driver.

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

"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.

"We saw just how much he has progressed even since the Silverstone test in the summer and through the succession of GP2 races thereafter, when he achieved two pole positions and two race wins.

"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."

PA

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