Marussia confirm Luiz Razia will race for them in the 2013 season
Brazilian to make test debut for team immediately on Wednesday
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 13/02/13 11:14am
Ahead of the second morning of winter testing at Jerez, the Banbury-based team confirmed speculation that Razia had been chosen as the replacement for Timo Glock, who left the team last month for financial reasons.
Razia, who finished runner-up in last year's GP2 Series, served as the then Virgin team's reserve driver in 2010 and made his F1 practice debut in China with rivals Caterham the following season.
But now he has returned to Marussia and will make his full testing debut for the team on Wednesday behind the wheel of the new MR02 at Jerez.
"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," said team boss John Booth.
"Luiz isn't new to our Team of course, having been Reserve Driver in our debut season in 2010 and part of our Young Driver Programme. It is therefore very pleasing to have not one but two graduates of that 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."
Although the partnership of Razia and Chilton means Marussia will be fielding an all-rookie line-up in 2013, Booth is excited about seeing what they can achieve in the season ahead.
"When Luiz moved to GP2 in 2011, we had every expectation that he would progress to the extent that he has," he added.
"He is a very quick and tenacious driver who battled hard to the runner-up spot last year. Together with Max, we are fielding a young but incredibly ambitious pairing and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve."
Razia himself expressed his delight at returning to the Banbury team and insists he feels "ready" for his big break at the top level.
"It is fantastic to be back with the Marussia F1 Team and with pretty much the same group of people I worked with back in 2010 when I was Reserve Driver," he said.
"Having been in that position, I know this Team rewards determination and success in its young drivers, the intention of its Programme being to school the next generation of racing driver.
"I am very proud to take the step up to a Formula 1 race seat, particularly with the team I began this journey with, since they helped show me what it takes to progress to the highest level. The past two seasons in GP2 have been all about proving that I have what it takes and that I'm ready.
"This coming season will be all about rewarding the faith the Team have shown in me. I am looking forward to beginning that process in Jerez where we are testing the MR02 for the first time.
"I am also looking forward to the first race in Melbourne and I'm excited to be racing alongside Max, who I competed 'against' last season. This is an important year for the Marussia F1 Team in terms of maintaining the momentum from a very positive 2012 season. I look forward to making a valuable contribution to that."
Razia's appointment means just one seat remains unfilled on the 2013 grid, Force India expected to name Paul di Resta's team-mate ahead of the next test at Barcelona.