Max Chilton completed his eight-year path to F1 with confirmation that he will complete the Marussia line-up in 2013, and expects that he will start the season in good shape.
The Briton – who joins countrymen Lewis Hamilton, Jenson and Paul di Resta on the grid next season – had been the favourite to join Marussia after being confirmed as the team's official reserve at the Japanese Grand Prix, but has been made to wait nearly a month after the end of the season to find out for definite that he will be a fully-fledged member for the F1 fraternity in 2013.
“It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling today,” he conceded, “[The announcement] 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 motorsport.”
Having spent the 2012 season observing the Marussia team at close quarters, and racing for its partner team Carlin in GP2, Chilton believes that he has already received a solid grounding into the working of the Banbury operation, while outings in the F1 car at both Silverstone and Yas Marina have allowed him to get vital miles under his belt.
“I am very fortunate to have spent the last six races with the team as [its] 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,” the Briton claimed.
“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.”
Chilton's race debut will come at the Australian GP in March, by which time he will have accrued further experience at the three pre-season tests in Spain.
“Pre-season testing is just a few weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation whilst spending as much time as possible working with the technical team to help develop the car I will drive in my debut F1 season,” he concluded.
Marussia finished eleventh in the 2012 standings, having missed out on a valuable tenth when Chilton's predecessor, Charles Pic, was passed by Caterham's Vitaly Petrov late in the Interlagos race. Glock, an ever-present in the team's starting line-up since it first appeared in F1 in 2010, remains on board for a fourth campaign.