BARCELONA, Spain – Marussia have appointed Frenchman Jules Bianchi to a race seat for the 2013 season. Bianchi – Force India’s reserve in 2012 – will compete alongside fellow rookie Max Chilton.
It follows the termination of Luiz Razia’s contract with the team.
Bianchi, 23, will participate in the remaining two days of the final pre-season test in Barcelona this week to acquaint himself with Marussia’s MR02 race car ready for 2013’s first Grand Prix in Australia in two weeks’ time.
“We are very pleased to welcome Jules Bianchi to the Marussia F1 Team,” commented John Booth, Marussia team principal. “Jules is a proven talent who is highly regarded within the paddock. He has been on a clear trajectory towards Formula One and has achieved some impressive performances through the various feeder formulae, notably his 2012 season in Formula Renault 3.5.”
For Bianchi, a member of Ferrari’s Driver Academy, his signing is welcome news after he missed out on a 2013 race drive with Force India earlier this week to the team’s former racer Adrian Sutil.
“I am thrilled to have secured a race seat with the Marussia F1 Team,” he said. “Racing in Formula One this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career
“I am also very grateful to the Ferrari Driver Academy that has always supported me and has given me the possibility to mature as a racing driver enabling me to be fully prepared for this new exciting challenge. The next two weeks of preparation for the season will be incredibly busy but I am ready to get started tomorrow with my first day in the MR02.”
Razia, 2012 GP2 Series runner-up and Marussia’s reserve driver in 2010, only signed his race deal with the team last month.
“We have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to terminate our contract with Luiz Razia,” said Booth. “Having made clear the basis on which we must operate in 2013, and given the steps we had taken to put that new structure in place, we had no alternative but to remain true to the principles which we had identified as being key to securing our long-term future.
“We can now focus on the remainder of the testing program and preparing for what looks to be a promising season for our team. Jules can now look forward to a very swift initiation into the team over the course of the next two days here in Barcelona, when he is expected to run for one and a half days to afford both our drivers some dry running with the latest aero specification.”