Luiz Razia has admitted to being taken aback by Marussia's decision to announce Max Chilton as its second driver for 2013, having been in talks with the team himself.
The Brazilian had earmarked John Booth's squad among a number of possibilities – also including Lotus, Caterham and Force India - for his F1 graduation after finishing as runner-up to Davide Valsecchi in the 2012 GP2 Series, and believed that he still had a chance of lining up alongside veteran Timo Glock right up to the point where Chilton was unveiled as the newest member of the F1 grid.
Razia's confidence came despite the Briton being named as Marussia's official reserve at this season's Japanese Grand Prix and being tipped for promotion after a handful of impressive test and demo outings with the team during 2012. Having seen the door closed at Lotus just 24 hours earlier, the announcement that Chilton had been selected came as a particularly heavy blow.
“In truth, at Lotus, we did not have much chance but, with Marussia, we were caught by surprise,” the 23-year old revealed to Brazil's globoesporte.com
, “Until yesterday we were still talking to them, and the team appeared quite open to the idea of our entry. Even today, they said 'we're still deciding' – and then they closed [a deal] with Max….”
While disappointed, Razia has not conceded his hopes of graduating to the top flight in 2013, believing that he still has a chance of landing the vacant seats at either Caterham or Force India. Both are being heavily contested, with fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna among those supposedly in negotiation, but Razia remains confident despite the shared struggle of finding a backer to help him stand out from the crowd.
“We've been talking to both teams for some time,” he noted, “so, yes, we still have chances. I'm doing my job, [but] there is a limitation of what I can do. I can talk to the teams, show what I can bring, but, but some teams prefer drivers with money, which is a reality that I cannot fight against. We have sponsors, but we have limits. We are not a bottomless pit.”
After four years knocking on the door of the top flight, Razia admits that returning to GP2 is not an option for 2013, even though others – including Caterham rival Giedo van der Garde – have performed U-turns in similar circumstances.
“I have always dreamed of getting to F1, so I can not give up something I have been pursuing for ten years,” he insisted, “I have invested not only time, but money too, so I must believe there is always a chance.
“GP2 is not my intention. Some teams called me this week and I dismissed the opportunity. I have shown what I needed [to show] there. As for other categories, I haven't even thought about them. When I have a goal, I usually just focus on that, and the goal is F1. If that doesn't happen, I'll need to review the plans for my life, see what my priorities are.”