Formula One: Chilton talks big ahead of debut season
Published 18/12/2012 | 15:29
MAX Chilton has vowed to leave no stone unturned when he embarks on his rookie Formula One campaign next season.
Chilton will partner Timo Glock at Marussia in 2013 after the Banbury-based team today confirmed the 21-year-old from Reigate in Surrey as the fourth Briton on the F1 grid.
After being appointed as reserve at the end of September, Chilton has been given the opportunity to prove himself alongside Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta.
Although fourth in this year's GP2 Series, with two wins near the end of the campaign as he grew in confidence, Chilton's experience of F1 has so far been limited.
However, Chilton did impress in a young driver test at Silverstone in July, and again in his maiden official outing for Marussia in first practice ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix early last month.
In replacing Charles Pic, who has joined Caterham after a relatively strong showing in his own debut season this year, Chilton is full of self-belief.
"It's hard to put into words how I am feeling, but I know I am full of energy and ready to give it my all next year in my first F1 season," said Chilton.
"This (announcement) comes at the end of what has been a fantastic year for me.
"Those steps - my GP2 pole positions and wins, my performances in the F1 young driver test and in FP1 at Abu Dhabi - have given everyone the confidence in my ability to compete at the highest level of motor sport.
"I am very fortunate to have spent the last six races with Marussia as reserve driver, which means that instead of a standing start, I am already up to speed and at ease with the people, the culture, the systems, and of course, the 2012 package."
Although Marussia are still to score a point after three seasons in F1, the team enjoyed their most progressive year to date this year.
Chilton has no doubts he is joining forces with a competent group of people, and that Marussia are a team on the rise.
"During the period since the Japanese Grand Prix, I have watched at very close quarters the incredible commitment and determination to succeed that saw everyone in the team pushing until the very last race," added Chilton.
"I feel very lucky to be able to embark on my F1 racing career with this group of people.
"Pre-season testing is just a few weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation whilst spending as much time as possible working with the technical team to help develop the car I will drive in my debut F1 season."
Although there were other more-experienced candidates understood to be in the running for the second seat, Marussia claim Chilton showed impressive speed, quality of feedback and an ability to set up the car during his stints behind the wheel.
It is understood Chilton has also been able to acquire considerable financial backing to help fund his drive.
Regardless, team principal John Booth claims Chilton's development "has been rapid" following his appointment as reserve driver, and so felt the time was right to promote him to a full-time role.
"First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely capable in the car," said Booth.
"Most recently, in Abu Dhabi, he was put to the test in a competitive environment which included providing him with an opportunity to demonstrate his outright pace and consistency over a single lap.
"We saw just how much he has progressed even since the Silverstone test in the summer and through the succession of GP2 races thereafter, when he achieved two pole positions and two race wins.
"Not only that, Max very quickly embedded himself within the team, thanks in no small part to the fact he is a lively and affable character who we've enjoyed having around.
"Having been integral to our race weekend engineering environment for the past three months already - as well as having undertaken a significant part of our simulator programme - Max has already found his feet."