Marussia F1 team boss John Booth insists that the Banbury squad is delighted to have secured the services of two of its own graduates for the 2013 F1 season, despite now fielding the least experienced pairing on the grid.
Marussia finally confirmed Luiz Razia as team-mate to Max Chilton as it prepared to resume testing on day two of the opening group session at Jerez, and will line up for the Australian Grand Prix without either driver having started an F1 race. Despite that risk, Razia was always considered the favourite to replace Timo Glock following his exit last month, having been in the running to partner the German before Chilton was confirmed in early December.
The 23-year old Brazilian graduates to the top flight having finished as runner-up to Davide Valsecchi in last year's GP2 Series, while 21-year old Chilton finished fourth in the same competition. Both drivers have served time as official reserve in the Marussia line-up and team principal Booth is delighted to have been able to give them their chance to step up to a race seat, even though the moves are, at least in part, influenced by the amount of sponsorship they can bring to Banbury.
“Luiz isn't new to our team, having been reserve driver in our debut season in 2010 and part of our Young Driver Programme [at that time],” Booth confirmed, “When he moved to GP2 in 2011, we had every expectation that he would progress to the extent that he has. He is a very quick and tenacious driver who battled hard to the runner-up spot last year.
“It is very pleasing to have, not one, but two graduates of our programme driving for us in 2013, and also very exciting, since both Luiz and Max demonstrated a great deal of potential competing alongside each other in GP2 last season.
“Together, we are fielding a young but incredibly ambitious pairing and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve.”
Razia will waste little time before climbing back aboard a Marussia car, taking over from Chilton behind the wheel of the lone MR02 chassis when testing resumes at Jerez. After the Briton suffered a suspension problem on Tuesday afternoon, Marussia will be looking to pick up the pace of development with its newest member.
“We are pleased to have concluded our driver line-up, which means that we can now focus all our attentions on what looks set to be a very promising 2013 season,” Booth concluded.