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De Villota joins Marussia as test driver
Maria De Villota has joined Marussia as a test driver for the 2012 season and will take part in the Young Driver Test later this year.
De Villota has raced in a variety of championships, including Spanish F3 and the Superleague Formula, and is the daughter of ex-F1 driver Emilio de Villota. She drove a three-year-old Renault Formula One car last summer at Paul Ricard, clocking up over 300km in the cockpit.
"I am very happy to be joining the Marussia F1 Team test driver programme," she said. "This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a Formula One team and gain important experience to help me progress my career, including the chance to drive the new car later in the year at the Abu Dhabi test.
"I will be joining the team trackside so I'm looking forward to working alongside them at the first race next weekend and this can only help my future ambition to step up to Formula One racing."
Team principal John Booth said the experience would help the 32-year-old progress in her career.
"We are pleased to welcome Maria to our test driver programme, which will enable her to be integrated into a Formula One team environment and gain a vast amount of experience that will be useful to her career progression. We will also provide Maria with the opportunity to sample F1 machinery later in the year, further adding to her racing credentials."