Newly-promoted Marussia reserve driver Max Chilton could get the chance to show his mettle in a free practice session at one of the six remaining grands prix in 2012.
The Briton, whose performances in GP2 helped elevate him from occasional tester to full-blown reserve at the Banbury-based team over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, has been tipped as a possible contender for a full race seat in 2013, and any opportunity to get some mileage under his belt before the winter break would be of value to the 21-year old.
Although this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix is probably too soon to expect to replace either Timo Glock or Charles Pic in Friday morning practice, Marussia CEO Graeme Lowdon admits that there is a chance that Chilton could be given a chance at one of the other 'flyaway' rounds between now and mid-November.
“It's perfectly possible that he'll do a Friday this year," Lowdon told F1Pulse.com
, "That's definitely do-able, but nothing's being discussed or agreed on that. It will be down to [team principal] John Booth, and he would make that decision based on, primarily, what's right for the team and, secondarily, what's right in developing the driver.
“It's nice to see a British driver coming through, but it has to be based on what he can do for the team. He's done pretty well in the GP2 championship, [which] shows you who can drive a car."
Chilton won twice in his second year of GP2, most recently at the season finale in Singapore two weekends ago, and strong family backing has led to him being viewed as the most likely replacement for Pic, should the Frenchman, as reported, move to either Sauber or Caterham for 2013. The Briton, whose elder brother Tom races in the WTCC, has already driven Marussia's F1 machine in both testing and promotional events such as Chris Evans' CarFest
, and Lowdon believes that he has the wherewithal to make the jump to the top flight.
"I have done a few promotional events with him where he's been excellent, really excellent," he concluded, "What you need is someone who can drive incredibly quickly but then have that ability to still have another 10-20 per cent of their brain to deal with everything else that they need to deal with, whether it's how they go about the race or [dealing with] the media or whatever. You look for all of that [as], quite often, you'll see a guy who's quick and gets into F1, just to lose their way.”