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F1 Britpack increases to four as Chilton takes Marussia seat
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Dec 2012   |  2:23 pm GMT  |  83 comments

[Updated] Britain will have four drivers on the F1 grid next season after Max Chilton was confirmed in the second Marussia seat for 2013.

The 21-year-old from Reigate impressed with two wins in GP2 this year, ultimately finishing fourth in the standings, with Marussia’s junior team and his promotion to a race seat at the senior F1 outfit seemed inevitable after he was announced as its reserve driver from the Japanese GP and made his race weekend debut in first practice in Abu Dhabi.

Chilton, who is likely to bring a budget with him given his father is the vice-chairman of insurance giant Aon and has backed his sons’ racing careers, replaces the Caterham-bound Charles Pic and will be Timo Glock’s fourth different rookie team-mate in as many seasons since the original Virgin outfit launched in 2010.

But the youngster, who commentated alongside James Allen on qualifying for the Indian GP on BBC Radio 5 Live in October, expects his recent months imbedded in the team to prove invaluable for 2013 and says he will spend the time between now and the opening pre-season test focusing on physical preparations for his rookie year.

“It’s hard to put into words how I’m feeling today, with the announcement that I will be racing for the Marussia F1 Team in 2013,” he said.

“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 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 the Marussia F1 Team 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.

“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. 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.”

Marussia team boss John Booth, who said the team’s bosses had noticed a big step forward in Chilton’s performance between his debut run for the team at Silverstone in July and FP1 at Yas Marina, added: “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 pitwall as we monitored his progress alongside the other members of our junior talent pool during Grand Prix support races. We felt confident enough in his ability and potential to appoint him to the role of Reserve Driver in September and since that time his development has been rapid in all aspects.”

Chilton’s confirmation comes hot on the heels of Lotus signing up Romain Grosjean for another season, meaning just two teams are still to reaveal their full line-ups for 2013 with a week to go before Christmas – Force India and Caterham.

Force India usually name their drivers for the following season shortly before the festive celebrations get underway, and with Paul di Resta a certainty to stay on, Adrian Sutil appears to have moved into prime position to make a return to the team after a 12-month absence, although Jules Bianchi, Bruno Senna and Jaime Alguersuari are also in the running.

One man who has ruled himself out of contention for Force India, and the sole vacant seat alongside Pic at Caterham, is Kamui Kobayashi who today announced that despite being in a position to bring a budget of around £6.5m from Japanese business and fan sources he had failed in his quest to find a drive for 2013, with his focus now set on returning the following year.

“If you could imagine the time I had, it was [an] overwhelming reaction and it shows there still is a great potential from Japanese companies,” the former Sauber driver said on his website. “Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with [a] competitive F1 team for 2013.

“I have to admit that it is very sad and [I] feel sorry for fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.”

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my dad was also head of a large company when i was max’s age. i’m so annoyed i couldn’t talk him into backing me in my motor racing endeavours. would have been really cool. i guess max will possibly feel he doesn’t deserve all this with only average talent while some extreme talent misses out.


This guy needs to hit the gym. He would have had a much better results last year if he was properly fit. I hope he takes this seriously, because if he did his best last year, he might have ended up in a better car than Marussia for next season.

But I guess, Marussia got an offer they couldn’t refuse.


I just don’t know Max Chilton well enough so I’ll take the wait-and-see approach.

A couple GP2 wins doesn’t seem like an overflowing resume, but then Raikkonen could barely get a superlicence at the start of his F1 career! In a perfect world we’d probably all like to have the “best” or “most talented” drivers on the grid, but it’s not always clear where the next WDC will come from; I think it adds an interesting dimension to the sport. We often use “best” or “most talented” only after the benefit of seeing the driver actually in an F1 car. I can really only think of Hamilton as an example of a driver who really lit things up in the lower categories to the point where everyone knew he’d be a great F1 driver.

I disagree about Chilton not being able to show his stuff because he’s in a Marussia though. He’s got an experienced team mate that we can measure him against. Plenty of WDC’s “shocked and awed” in a midfield or lesser team before making it (earning their way?) to a top team: Vettel at Torro Rosso, Schumacher in the Jordan, Kimi in the Sauber and Alonso at Minardi. Hamilton did the equivalent by more than keeping pace with an established Alonso in that one tumultuous year at McLaren.

So who knows? Let’s hope he’s the real deal and his father’s money helps to keep Marussia moving forward – I’d really hate to see another team collapse mid-season.


It used to be, you have to win all the way from karting, if you to have any chance. Now you can be somewhere in the midfield. This mentality takes away possible prospects from drivers who actually winning and makes it harder than ever.

Just go back in time through FIA categories, same names pop-up at the top through out their adventure. Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Button, Vettel…

I feel bad for new boys who are the winners, cause now they also have to compete against boys off the track who they already beat on the track.


Chiltons dad is absolutely loaded, one of the richest men in the Uk. Owns Aon, who also has bought an entire race team so that his other son Tom, can race in Btcc/Wtcc. Also bought a team for Max to start in F3. Only in F1 due to money, shocking in karting, no natural talent. Money talks….


Of course, it is so easy to win races in GP2 (where the equipment and testing is equal) just because you have a wealthy family.

I’m not arguing that there probably aren’t any more talented drivers in the lower formula, but to state that Max Chilton, or any other GP2 race winner, has “no natural talent” is just daft….

For example, James Calado is being supported in GP2 in 2012/13 by the Racing Steps Foundation, funded by someone else who is “absolutely loaded”, but he just deosn’t happen to be a relation



I wish him well, but as with some other posters I can’t help but feel this has as much to do with financial benefit as anything. May be being a bit too cynical, granted, but his racing CV to date wouldn’t make most F1 teams take notice. His best championship result to date has been 2nd in the T Cars series, and since moving up to single seaters he’s never finished higher than 4th in the championship. He seems a safe enough pair of hands judging from his finishing record, but I wouldn’t have rated him above other contenders for drives. Good luck to him anyway.


Santa’s Draft picks for 2013.

Santa said he would be sad to see Kobyashi, Petrov, Schumacher and Senna leave as they were not bad boys. Well maybe Micheal was just a little bad but he was very good most of the time.

01 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull

02 Mark Webber Red Bull

03 Fernando Alonso Ferrari

04 Felipe Massa Ferrari

05 Jenson Button McLaren

06 Sergio Perez McLaren

07 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus

08 Roman Grosjean Lotus

09 Nico Rosberg Mercedes

10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber

12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber

14 Paul di Resta Force India

15 Jules Bianchi Force India

16 Pastor Maldonado Williams

17 Valtteri Bottas Williams

18 Jean-Eric Vergne Torro Rosso

19 Daniel Ricciardo Torro Rosso

20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham

21 Charles Pic Caterham

22 Timo Glock Marussia

23 Max Chilton Marussia

Warren Groenewald

I find it so strange that even though Kobayashi has secured quite a decent wad of cash for next year, he’s still being overlooked by FI and even Caterham!

He’s a decent driver and pretty good overtaker – I don’t see anyone significantly better for either of those teams.


Valsecchi ? Razia ? Has Italy or Brazil no sponsors ?


I know, looks like Valsecchi will be the 1st GP2 World Champion not to have an F1 seat!


He”l do okay there. I doubt he will shoot the lights out. Whilst people bang on about world champs-how big is Great Britain and how big is Finland and Australia much serious racing goes on in each–that’s what you have to ask yourself- 2wc from Finland would be like 50 from GB! And probably more in Aus.


I’d prefer merit to $$$. However, if he displays some serious skill, I’ll not begrudge him.



Sounds like a case of more money than talent 🙂

Best of luck to Max Chilton, but it hardly matters, without lots of talent he won’t be able to move forward and driving even a Marussia, along side a driver of Glocks quality and experience won’t be mission difficult, it will be mission impossible.

There are something’s money can’t buy!


His one and only season in f1. Not good enough. Simple.


I want to see True Blooded RACERS. Not, Skilled Pay DRIVERS.

I hope this is a wake up call to Bernie!


4 British drivers, god help us.


Just look a the stats! Way more British F1 champs than any other country!

Britain 14

Germany 10 (7=MSC)

Brazil 8

Argentina 5

Austria, Australia, Finland & France 4

Not surprising when you look at the level of motor racing involvement throughout Britain every weekend of the year.


Germany = 11 doesn’t it? Schumacher with 7, Vettel on 3 and Rindt with 1, who apparently never did become an Austrian……


As far as I recall Rindt grew up in Austria from a young age and raced under Austrian nationality; I think he should be allowed the final say…


Money talks!


good news. his race-craft didn’t look great in GP2 but it got better near the end. he’s quick which is the most important thing i guess and he’ll need to be to keep up with timo.

good luck to him, i suggest he nails himself to the seat if he wants to stay, the team raved about how good Pic was then let him go – very odd. maybe Pic left them, anyone know which way round it was?


Pic left them. I wouldn’t be surprised, that Pic is being evaluated as a possible replacement for Grosjean by French investors.


Chilton has shown some promise, so it will be interesting to watch his progress against Glock. None of Virgin/Marussia’s second drivers have really set the world alight in the junior formulae but they haven’t disgraced themselves in F1, given the equipment, and each has perhaps slightly bettered their predecessor …


Wish my Dad would buy me an F1 seat for xmas.


You’re telling the wrong guy. What you need to do is head down to the mall, line up for Santa and tell him. He’s the one that can make any boy’s or girls wishes come true this time of year.


Good luck to him, while no doubt his way has been eased by financial backing, at the same time he’s clearly got some ability. With HRT down and out, Marussia will be doing well to just not be the tail end charlies – for the sake of Chilton and even moreso Glock, I hope they can make strides forward.


I am heartbroken, terribly saddened, that it looks as though Kobayashi isn’t going to be on the grid next year! Can you confirm James, but I believe next year will mark the first time since 2001 that we’ll have no Japanese driver on the grid.

I think you’d already pointed out earlier also how there would not be any Italian drivers on the 2013 grid ( notwithstanding Italian heritage drivers like Ricciardo, Mass and Di Resta).

Hooray for Chilton though. Go Brits!


Agree it is sad that Kamui hasn’t a drive next year, but don’t think that Marussia would have been a good move for him, whereas Force India would have been a great fit.

Hope that Max can do as well as Pic and make a move up the grid.



Sadly looks that way


Still, Italy have Ferrari. It’s a shame that there are no Japanese teams out there, especially with some of the biggest companies (especially car companies) being Japanese :/


I wish him well, but I can’t help but think anyone launching their career in one of the bottom three (now two) teams is going to have a limited shot of moving forward; they’re not going to be given the opportunity to shine in the same way drivers like Alonso and Webber have done in back-of-the-grid teams in the past.


Funny both of the drivers you mentioned started at the bottom team, Minardi. Great drivers transcend thier machinery, look at Senna with Toleman, Hunt with Hesketh, Vettel with Torro Rosso.


That was kind of my point, I didn’t pick those drivers by accident. I’m saying that even if Chilton outperformed his team mate a la Alonso and Webber back in the day his achievements are unlikely to see him move up the grid. Only time will tell.

The other teams you mentioned were all far higher up the pecking order than Marussia are at the moment.


The problem is that the second Marussia drivers have each shown serious promise only to not manage a drive elsewhere. Pic in particular surely should be followed up by another team.


You mean like caterham?


Charles Pic has signed with Caterham for 2013.

Regarding Chilton, I’ve seen him come through the lower ranks & while he’s had a couple good drives he’s overall not really looked that impressive.

Can’t help but think there were better drivers available.


Pic signed for Caterham……


Seems like another case of money over talent


Let’s face it, very few students get a scholarship. Most have to pay for their education.

When talking about Rolex a while back MichaelG did a nice outline of who has what watch company backing. I would love to see a similar outline of who has what sponsors in their pocket. Just the top ten 2012. Please help complete the blanks.

Vettel – Red Bull

Alonso – Santander

Kimi – Which Ice Cream company was it again?

Lewis – Pussycat Dolls?

Webber – Red Bull Sugar Free (as in No Love from RBR)

Massa – Mubadala

Grosjean –

Rosberg –

Perez –


Grosjean – Total

Perez – Telmex

Button – Head and Shoulders?


I guess some would say Button is head and shoulders above Lewis. And got McLaren all to himself as proof.


Button would now be endorsed, rather than backed.


Button – Head and Shoulders?

Well done sir! Well done!


It seems most drivers have Santander written on them somewhere. This season I have counted Alsonso, Massa, Button, Hamiltion and Senna.


Isn’t Santander Spanish?

Aren’t Spanish banks in in trouble and begging for bailouts from IMF and ECB?

Wonder if the IMF logo can be stretched wide enough to fit on the rear wing of an F1 car.


Webber – Red Bull Sugar Free (as in No Love from RBR)

made me laugh 🙂


Don’t start something that you don’t finish!


I deserved that.

Perez has Carlos Slim Telmex money as mentioned by James in another article. I don’t know who’s bankrolling Grosjean. I guess Mercedes wants a German driver on their team, and Rosberg is to Vettel what Heidfeld was to Schumi. So that would mean Mercedes is bank rolling Rosberg.


That second Marussia seat is like a game of musical chairs!


That being said, this year was the only year the driver decided to move on before the team.


If only the tempo of the car was as quick!


Is Di Resta actually confirmed then?

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