Marussia Racing has announced the signing of Maria De Villota as a test driver for the 2012 F1 season.

De Villota, who has raced in a variety of series including Spanish F3 and Superleague Formula, previously completed 300km at the wheel of a Renault F1 car at Paul Ricard last year.

In her new role with the Marussia team, De Villota will get the chance to drive the MR01 during the Abu Dhabi Young Driver test later in the year.

"I am very happy to be joining the Marussia F1 Team test driver programme," she said. "This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a Formula One team and gain important experience to help me progress my career, including the chance to drive the new car later in the year at the Abu Dhabi test.

"I will be joining the team trackside so I'm looking forward to working alongside them at the first race next weekend and this can only help my future ambition to step up to Formula One racing."

Team principal John Booth was quick to welcome De Villota into the team.

"We are pleased to welcome Maria to our test driver programme, which will enable her to be integrated into a Formula One team environment and gain a vast amount of experience that will be useful to her career progression," he said. "We will also provide Maria with the opportunity to sample F1 machinery later in the year, further adding to her racing credentials."