|First race||Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park||March 18, 2012||Race results|
|Last race||Brazilian Grand Prix||Interlagos||November 24, 2013||Race results|
On paper Charles Pic's path to Formula One has been somewhat ideal. Rising through the karting and single-seater ranks to complete two seasons in the GP2 feeder series before securing a back-of-the-grid drive with Virgin - to become Marussia - in 2012.
Having begun competitive karting in 2002 at the age of 12, he was third in the French Junior Championship in 2004, before coming third in the Karting Junior ICA European Championship the following year. As a member of the FFSA - now the Auto Sport Academy - promotion to single-seaters followed, boasting two pole positions and two race wins during his debut year in the French Formula Campus Championship in 2006.
As a Frenchman following the single-seat path, Pic moved up to the Formula Renault 2.0 in 2007 and was third in the Eurocup, winning one race and also securing five podium finishes and two pole positions. Simultaneously he finished fourth in the French Championship before making the step up to Formula Renault 3.5.
It was in the bigger car that Pic started to really show promise as he dominated around the streets of Monaco, and then did the same on home soil at Le Mans to record two victories on his way to sixth in the championship. In 2009 he started embarrassingly when he spun off on the parade lap in Barcelona, but he recovered to take two more victories and a second place that year, only retiring on one other occasion as he finished the season in third place.
Now part of the Renault Driver Development scheme, Pic moved in to GP2 for the 2010 season. Having competed for Arden in the Asia Series - during which he won the Bahrain sprint race - Pic made the best possible start with victory in the feature race at Barcelona. There was only one more podium for him though as he finished the year tenth.
2011 saw Pic switch to Barwa Addax, and again victory followed during the Spanish feature race, which he then followed up with a win in Monaco. Three more second places secured him fourth in the standings, and he then impressed Virgin during the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test before being signed to race for the team in 2012.
Despite a lack of pre-season testing in the new car, a number of strong performances followed as Marussia defended its 10th place ahead of Caterham in the constructors' championship. As a result of his impressive debut season, Caterham swooped to sign Pic on a multi-year deal from 2013, but it only lasted a single year and he was left without a drive for 2014.
Strengths and Weaknesses
At certain circuits Pic looks untouchable, and he clearly has the knack of the Circuit de Catalunya and Monaco having taken four of his eight victories over the last four years at those two circuits. But he appears to lack consistency over the course of the season and hasn't finished higher than third in a championship since graduating from karting.
Winning on his debut in the main GP2 series was an impressive feat and immediately brought him to the attention of the watching F1 paddock. Unfortunately it turned out to be his only win of the season and he had to wait until GP2's return to Barcelona the following year to secure his next victory.
Pic looked in championship contention after the first three rounds of his 2011 GP2 campaign, but it all fell apart in Valencia. He started the weekend in top form by qualifying on pole but mechanical gremlins struck on the warm-up lap and he eventually retired after 14 laps. In the sprint race he was involved in a first lap accident and from that point onwards his title challenge faded.
On being ready for his debut race in 2012: "I am not afraid of anything, but I am fully aware it is going to be tough, and I will have to work hard."
After cutting his hair and winning a GP2 race, Pic said: "I will have to have a haircut for Valencia, and I hope it will bring the same luck!"
Charles Pic is the godson of former F1 driver Eric Bernard and his family company supported both Bernard and Olivier Panis in their early careers.