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.