By Phillip Horton on Friday, March 1, 2013
The Frenchman replaces Luiz Razia, who was signed for the team during the first pre-season test at Jerez.
“We are very pleased to welcome Jules Bianchi to the Marussia F1 Team,” said team principal John Booth.
“Jules is a proven talent who is highly regarded within the Paddock. He has been on a clear trajectory towards Formula 1 and has achieved some impressive performances through the various feeder formulae, notably his 2012 season in Formula Renault 3.5 when he was also Reserve Driver for Force India.”
“He is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and his obvious pedigree put him on the radar for a number of teams over the winter as a driver ready to step up to Formula 1.”
Booth insists the team had no choice but to terminate Razia’s contract. The Brazilian tested for the team in Jerez but was absent from both Barcelona tests, meaning that he was contracted to the team for just 23 days.
“We have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to terminate our contract with Luiz Razia,” he said.
“Having made clear the basis on which we must operate in 2013, and given the steps we had taken to put that new structure in place, we had no alternative but to remain true to the principles which we had identified as being key to securing our long-term future.”
Bianchi, who was close to a Force India deal, says he is thrilled to be on the grid.
“I am thrilled to have secured a race seat with the Marussia F1 Team. Racing in Formula 1 this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career.”
“I am also very grateful to the Ferrari Driver Academy that has always supported me and has given me the possibility to mature as a racing driver enabling me to be fully prepared for this new exciting challenge. The next two weeks of preparation for the season will be incredibly busy but I am ready to get started tomorrow with my first day in the MR02.”
Bianchi will test for Marussia at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday and Sunday.