Marussia finally confirmed Luiz Razia as its second driver this morning, just an hour before the Brazilian took to the track to complete an installation lap in the MR02.
The news means that the team is in the unusual position of starting the season with two rookies.
“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.,” said team boss John Booth. “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.
“When Luiz moved to GP2 in 2011, we had every expectation that he would progress to the extent that he has. 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.”
“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,” said Razia. “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.”