London: Max Chilton insists he is ‘already up to speed’ with Formula One after Marussia confirmed the promising youngster as the fourth Briton on the grid for the 2013 campaign.
Chilton replaces Caterham-bound Charles Pic and, despite having just two F1 tests under his belt, the 21-year-old Reigate-born racer is convinced he is ready to step up from GP2.
“It’s hard to put into words how I’m feeling,” said a delighted Chilton. “It comes at the end of what has been a fantastic year for me, and those steps — my GP2 pole positions and wins, my performances in the F1 young driver test and in practice at Abu Dhabi — have given everyone the confidence in my ability.
“I am very fortunate to have spent the last six races with the Marussia F1 team as reserve driver, which means that instead of a standing start, I am already up to speed. I have watched at very close quarters the incredible commitment and determination to succeed here.
“Pre-season testing is just a few weeks away, so my focus is on my physical preparation while spending as much time as possible working with the technical team to help develop the car.”
Chilton is the son of Grahame Chilton, the non-executive chairman of insurance giant Aon Benfield’s UK holding company, who is reportedly worth around £100million (Dh597 million). However, he insists that the £9.5m funding he has secured does not come from the family coffers.
Even so, the funding boost will be welcomed at Marussia, who narrowly missed out on £10m in prize-money after being pipped to 10th place in the constructors’ championship by Caterham.
Marussia team principal John Booth said: “We have spent a significant amount of time evaluating his performances during 2012, both in our own car in a testing situation and also from the pit wall as we monitored his progress alongside the other members of our junior talent pool during grand prix support races.
“First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely capable in the car. Having been integral to our race weekend environment for the past three months — as well as having undertaken a significant part of our simulator programme — Max has already found his feet.”