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Razia: Marussia deal ‘fulfilment of a dream’
1 February 2013
Official confirmation may not be forthcoming until the team unveils its 2013 contender at Jerez on Tuesday, but Luiz Razia admits that signing with Marussia brings an end to a lifelong pursuit of F1.
The Brazilian returned to the frame after Marussia and Timo Glock parted ways last week and, having admitted his surprise when the team signed Max Chilton shortly before Christmas, was able to complete his own deal with just a handful of days remaining before the first test of the year. Marussia has so far steered clear of announcing Chilton's team-mate, but is due to unveil its MR02 challenger in the Jerez pit-lane ahead of testing on 5 February.
“The process was a bit long and very distressing,” Razia wrote on his personal website, “Until this time we had nothing, [but] we managed to close a deal at the last minute.
“The important thing is that I have got something that I've worked for for eleven years and it really is the fulfilment of a dream for me, worth more than anything else.”
Razia will be the 30th Brazilian to make the grade in F1, but the first to emerge from the north-east of the country. Unless Bruno Senna can land one of the remaining vacancies – at Caterham and Force India – the GP2 Series runner-up will be only the second Brazilian on the grid in 2013, joining Ferrari's Felipe Massa in a depleted representation.
Regardless, for a driver who delights in being able to display his national flag on the podium, simply reaching the top flight is an honour for the 23-year old, even if his only 'home' support has come from family.
“I always sought to represent my country out there and raise the flag of Brazil,” he continued, “However, we only have European investors in this project and are still looking for a Brazilian company to represent. I never had any support from Brazilian companies, and have reached F1 only after a big effort from my family and the support of these [European] partners. We are finding a lot of resistance from [Brazilian] companies, which is frustrating, not cool.”
Razia had thought he had a chance of partnering Glock in the Marussia line-up this season, hence his surprise when Chilton was confirmed in early December. However, the Brazilian was also the first to hint at further changes, suggesting that Glock's seat was not as secure as many believed.
As well as Marussia, there has yet to be any official confirmation from Razia's management, which has gone as far as denying that the Brazilian has signed a contract.
"There are still some seats available in F1 and negotiations are ongoing,” a spokesman told Sky Sports, “At the moment, we have made no decision."
Ironically, the only member of GP2's latest top four not to get a race seat for 2013 is reigning champion Davide Valsecchi, who was unveiled as Lotus' reserve during the Enstone team's launch ceremony on Monday. Chilton finished fourth behind the Italian and Razia, while third-placed Esteban Gutierrez will graduate to Sauber's front-line pairing.
Razia also puts his F1 opportunity down to the Arden team, which offered him a chance to race in 2012 just as it appeared that he may have to return to his native Brazil. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands, he won four times and pushed Valsecchi all the way to the Singapore finale before ceding the title.