Max Chilton will drive for Marussia during first practice in Abu Dhabi
21-year-old British driver pushing for race seat in 2013
By William Esler. Last Updated: December 20, 2012 10:37am
Britain's Max Chilton will get his first taste of a Grand Prix weekend as a driver when he takes to the track during first practice in Abu Dhabi for Marussia.
Chilton was appointed the team's reserve driver in the build-up to the Singapore GP and tested the MR01 for two days during the Young Driver Test at Silverstone in July.
The Yas Marina Circuit has now been chosen for Chilton's F1 debut as he has raced there before in GP2 and also tested at the track for Force India last season.
"I feel very proud to be entrusted with this opportunity by the Marussia F1 Team," Chilton said.
"As part of the Young Driver Programme this year I got to know the Team very well, but over the last two race weekends, as Reserve Driver, I feel like I have a proper role and have learned so much about the Formula 1 environment in a very short space of time.
"This is the next step in the process of proving my potential and another important notch for me personally in terms of my ultimate goals. As for next Friday, the 90 minutes of FP1 will fly by so quickly that it's a real bonus to be testing the car at a circuit I know well. It means I can get up to speed straight away and focus on delivering some proper set-up and aero evaluation data for the team to help during the rest of the weekend.
"My thanks to everyone at the Marussia F1 Team for the faith they have shown in me so far and I will now concentrate my efforts on keeping my excitement in check and ensuring I make the most of this fantastic opportunity!"
Team Principal John Booth has played a part the junior careers of many drivers, including Paul di Resta and Lewis Hamilton, and is intrigued to learn how Chilton has progressed since driving at Silverstone.
"We are delighted to provide this opportunity to Max in Abu Dhabi as it serves two important functions for us. First of all, in the position of Reserve Driver, Max needs to be as prepared as possible should he be required to substitute for either race driver in the remaining races of the 2012 season.
"Secondly, as part of our ongoing assessment of the next generation of racing talent, we are interested to see how Max has progressed since we first put him in the car at our Young Driver Test at Silverstone in the summer.
"Since that time, Max has impressed a great deal in the GP2 series, achieving two race wins in the latter part of the season, so at the same time as ensuring his preparedness for the Reserve Driver role, we are looking forward to comparing his driving development with his growing maturity outside of the car.
"Of the four remaining Grand Prix venues we will visit this season, Abu Dhabi will impact least on Charles' race weekend preparation and it will be business as usual for him with effect from Friday afternoon."