Max Chilton defends pay driver tag

By on Wednesday, March 6, 2013

British rookie Max Chilton has defended the notion of pay drivers in Formula One.

Chilton, 21, will race for Marussia this season after spending three seasons in GP2.

"There are plenty of pay drivers on the grid and, in my experience, the sport has never changed," he told Sporting Life.

"I think it's always been that way, and it probably will always be that way. Some of the legends in our sport had to bring backing to get into it in the first place."

"But the one thing I can say is teams will always look at talent first," said Chilton, who won two GP2 races in 2012.

"They want to see you can put it on pole position and then win races in junior categories. If you've managed both of those, it's then about how you use your opportunity in F1, how you learn from the best and become the best driver possible. No team's going to let you behind the wheel if you're not up to it."

Chilton believes it will feel strange to be on the same grid as compatriots Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

"For years I've always looked up to them, so it's going to be weird to be on track with them. But I wouldn't have made the step up if I wasn't ready, and I hope we can have a few battles along the way. I believe after my two wins and two poles in GP2 last year I am ready. I know I can do it."

Chilton joined Marussia as their reserve driver in 2012 and admits he would love to score the team's maiden point.

"After three long, hard seasons in F1 the team are yet to score a point. If I can score their first points then that will be an incredible feeling."

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