Max Chilton will make his Formula One debut next season after being confirmed as Marussia’s second driver
The 21-year-old spent the past season as reserve driver of the Oxfordshire, but he will make the step up in 2013 as he will take the place of Charles Pic, who has joined Caterham.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Chilton has no doubts he is joining forces with a competent group of people, and that Marussia are a team on the rise.
“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,” he added.
“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’s promotion means there will be four British drivers in F1 next year with Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta also on the grid.
He took part in the Young Driver Test at Silverstone in September and also spent some time in the car in first practice in Abu Dhabi in November.
Team principal John Booth added: “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.
“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.”