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Marussia promotes Chilton to reserve

ESPN Staff
September 20, 2012 « Schumacher should stay - Rosberg | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Max Chilton tested for Marussia at Silverstone earlier this year © Sutton Images

Marussia has promoted its young driver Max Chilton to reserve driver for the remainder of the season.

Chilton is part of the Marussia Young Driver Programme and drives for Marussia Carlin in GP2, where he currently lies fifth in the championship having taken his maiden victory in Hungary. With the Singapore Grand Prix marking the final round of the GP2 season, Chilton will take on his duties as Formula One reserve driver from the Japanese Grand Prix onwards, and he thanked the team for the chance to gain insight at a grand prix weekend.

"I'm delighted to be given this fantastic opportunity to be part of the Marussia F1 Team for the remainder of the 2012 season," Chilton said. "My experience with the team at Silverstone for the Young Driver Test was a great taste of how F1 operates, and I'm so excited to be able to extend that into a proper working relationship as Reserve Driver at the remaining F1 events this year. I feel like my racing has really matured this season and to now be able to combine that with real insight into the engineering activities of an F1 team, and the level of preparation required of an F1 driver, really moves my career onto the next level. I'd like to thank the team once again for this opportunity."

Team principal John Booth said Chilton will be fully prepared to jump in to the car if required, and that the promotion was reward for his improving performances in GP2 this year.

"As part of our commitment to supporting the next generation of racing talent, we naturally keep a close eye on the feeder formulae, particularly those which race alongside us on the F1 calendar," Booth said. "We reinforced our support for GP2 as the key stepping stone this season by joining forces with Carlin to form the Marussia Carlin GP2 entry.

"Max Chilton's impressive performances for the team this season have gone far from unnoticed and he seems to mature with each new round. We were all delighted to see him convert that into, first, his maiden pole position and then his inaugural victory in Hungary last month. An important part of the education of any young driver looking to progress to the highest level of motor sport is spending time working closely with the engineering community and other, more experienced drivers. This is an important element of our Young Driver Programme.

"In the role of our Reserve Driver for the rest of the 2012 season, Max will be exposed to the demands of competing in Formula 1 to the extent that he will be fully prepared to step into the MR01 should it be required. Max has already driven the car at our Young Driver Test, so this is an opportunity for him to build on his experience of working with the engineers as well as the other demands placed on our drivers, including marketing activity. We look forward to having him on board as part of the Marussia F1 Team."

Having previously tested for Marussia at Silverstone this year, the move will increase speculation that Chilton will earn a race seat with the team in 2013, with Lucas di Grassi, and Jerome d'Ambrosio both lasting just one season as Timo Glock's team-mate.