Max Chilton Seals 2013 Marussia Drive

Marussia-F1-Young-Driver-test-line-upMarussia have announced that Max Chilton will race for them in 2013. The 21-year-old British rookie takes the second seat at the team alongside Timo Glock.

Chilton, who acted as Marussia’s reserve driver for the final six races of 2012, made his Formula One race weekend debut with the team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, driving in FP1. That followed a successful campaign in GP2 in which he finished fourth in the series with two wins.

“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. “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. 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.”

Marussia team principal John Booth said that the team had been convinced of Chilton’s potential during his stint as reserve driver.

“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. 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.”

Chilton’s appointment means that Marussia, who finished 11th in the constructors’ championship in 2012, will enter the new season with a changed driver line-up for the fourth consecutive season.

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Sutil: Criminal Record No Barrier to Return

650_1000_Adrian SutilAdrian Sutil has confirmed that his criminal record will not stop him from returning to F1 in 2013 with Force India.

The German was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm at the end of January after an incident involving Renault’s Eric Lux in a Shanghai night club in 2011 following the Chinese Grand Prix. He was handed an 18-month suspended sentence as a result and also fined 200,000 Euros. It had been thought this might prevent him travelling to certain countries – such as China and the USA, but he has now said that is not the case.

“We checked of course – me and my management – we checked all the countries and there is no problem for me to travel, so that is why I’m also here in Bangkok without any trouble. So all my problems I had last winter are solved,” Sutil toldBBC Radio 5 live reporter Jennie Gow at the Race of Champions event in Bangkok. “It is a new beginning.”

Sutil is one of a number of drivers rumoured to be in contention for a seat at Force India alongside Britain’s Paul di Resta in 2013, with Kamui Kobayashi, Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna, Heikki Kovalainen and Force India’s test and reserve pilot, Jules Bianchi all thought to be possibilities.

So how confident is he – and when will he know he has got the drive?

“Once I’ve got the signature!” he joked. “The signature is what counts. They know who I am, they know how to work with me and we have got a lot of experience together. There is nothing too much to say, it’s all up to Vijay [Mallya – Force Indiateam owner and boss]; it is Vijay’s decision and hopefully he will make the right one, so that I am in the car!

“It is hard, but what can I do? Five years I was in this team so they know how good I am, they know my qualities. I am not the one who has gone to this team and said: “Please, please give me the drive”. I think they should also come to me and say: “Yes, we want you”. That is a good base. I want to drive for this team but they should also want me as a driver, so that is why I am quite relaxed. I know how to handle this situation.

“I’ve done the maximum I could do at the moment and now it is all up to them to decide if I am in the seat or not.”