Luiz Razia has become the latest GP2 Series driver to graduate into the Grand Prix scene, with Marussia making its much-expected announcement that it had signed the 23-year-old Brazilian to partner fellow junior-level graduate Max Chilton.
After claiming four victories and a further five podium finishes, Razia finished as the championship runner-up in 2012, a year dominated by Davide Valsecchi, who was himself appointed to the Lotus F1 team’s reserve driver line-up.
Razia has been linked with Marussia for some time, and it was initially suggested that he would join the team as Charles Pic’s replacement for the 2013 season. However, when the team chose Max Chilton, it initially appeared as though his hopes of an F1 berth would be frustrated once again.
And when the team opted to dispense with Glock’s services for a driver with better financial backing, Razia – who enjoys sponsorship from a coterie of companies in his homeland – came back into the picture.
“The past two seasons in GP2 have been all about proving that I have what it takes and that I’m ready,” Razia said in today’s announcement.
“This coming season will be all about rewarding the faith [Marussia] have shown in me. I am looking forward to beginning that process in Jerez where we are testing the MR02 for the first time.
“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.”
The team’s decision to appoint two F1 debutantes will be met with some curiosity among F1 fans and the media alike, as this will no doubt have an impact in the backmarker outfit’s ability to accelerate the development of its 2013 challenger, the MR02.
Razia will have his first outing in the Cosworth-powered car in today’s second day of pre-season testing at Jerez. Team-mate Chilton wound up comfortably slowest of the runners on the opening day’s action, with his planned programme curtailed by a right-rear suspension failure.
Razia’s signing leaves the second race seat at Force India as the only theoretically available seat on the 2013 Formula 1 grid, although it is widely believed that either Jules Bianchi or Adrian Sutil will be confirmed in the coming days.