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Reports: Marussia to confirm Luiz Razia on Friday
31 January 2013
Brazil's Luiz Razia could be about to be confirmed as Marussia F1's second driver on Friday, according to reports circulating overnight in the Brazilian media.
The 23-year-old finished in the runners-up position in the 2012 GP2 Series championship while driving for the Arden team, after he was narrowly pipped at the end of the season by Davide Valsecchi who has himself now signed up as an F1 test and development driver with Lotus.
Razia had been reported to be in talks with both Force India and Caterham about a race seat in F1 in 2013, after he had previously spent a year as a test and development driver for the latter team in 2011. In the past, he's also undertaken Young Driver Tests in Abu Dhabi with Toro Rosso and Marussia.
In the end it was the second seat at Marussia that opened up when the team unexpectedly parted company with Timo Glock. The German driver had been expected to stay with the team in 2013 but announced last week that he was leaving for an opportunity in DTM because of financial issues within the team leaving them needing to bring in a driver with more sponsorship backing.
It has been rumoured that Razia has backing to the tune of nearly $30 million to bring to an F1 team, thanks to sponsorship from various Brazilian companies. Now it seems that Razia does indeed fit the bill for Marussia in 2013, with the driver set to be paired with a former GP2 rival as the team have already signed Max Chilton to the other available seat.
Chilton himself drove for the Marussia-associated Carlin team in last year's GP2 season and ended up finishing in fourth place in the championship - putting him behind Valsecchi, Razia and Esteban Gutierrez, who is also F1-bound in 2012 having signed up with Sauber to replace Sergio Perez.
With the top four drivers in the 2012 championship all seemingly F1-bound in 2013, it seems that the feeder series is well and truly earning its reputation as the fast track into the world of Grand Prix racing for its successful competitors.
Although there has yet to be any official confirmation of Razia's move to the F1 paddock in 2013, the Brazilian media reports said that the formal announcement could come as soon as Friday.
However, Razia's management team have denied the story, telling reporters: "There are still some seats available in F1 and negotiations are ongoing. At the moment we have made no decision."
Marussia did confirm on Thursday that they would launch their new MR02 chassis on the morning of Tuesday February 5, in the pit lane at Jerez before the start of next week's four-day test session at the Spanish facility.
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