Photo: GP2 Media Service
F1 team gives chance to its GP2 drivers when it does its Young Driver Test at Silverstone on Thursday and Friday…
The treatment of the annual F1 Young Driver Test this year has been a total shambles (more on that another time). Marussia are one of three teams set to run at Silverstone on Thursday and Friday this week. They will share their running between the two drivers in the Marussia-backed Carlin GP2 team, Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto.
Chilton and Haryanto both have previous F1 mileage. Chilton did an aero test and the Young Driver Test for Force India last year, while Rio got the chance to drive half a day for the team then known as Virgin at the Young Driver Test in 2010 as a reward for being the top driver in the Marussia Manor GP3 squad that year.
Chilton is contesting his third GP2 campaign this year and lies fourth overall after a consistent season with two podium finishes. Haryanto is only 15th, but has impressed in his rookie campaign with five top ten finishes, and he was fighting for the win in the Valencia sprint race until colliding with leader James Calado.
The first day of the test takes place on the Grand Prix circuit, with Chilton driving in the morning and Haryanto in the afternoon. They will use the international layout on day two, when Haryanto will drive in the morning before handing back the controls to Chilton.
?I?m really excited to be taking part in the Young Driver Test for Marussia F1 Team,? says Chilton, 21. ?I have driven an F1 car once before – the Force India in 2011 – but I feel that with another year of GP2 competition under my belt to develop my driving further I feel much more prepared this time and eager to demonstrate that progression. The team have come up with a great programme, which has a bit of everything we need to showcase our potential. I can?t wait for the opportunity and thanks to the team, who have already been a great support to me in GP2 this season.?
Haryanto, 19, said: ?I would like to thank the Marussia F1 team for giving me this opportunity. Having worked with the team for the past three years in both GP3 and GP2, I feel part of the team already and I know they follow every race I have done with great interest. The team gave me my first F1 opportunity in 2010 in Abu Dhabi, however for this test at Silverstone I am much better prepared from a technical and fitness point of view. With the limited testing available in Formula 1, any time a young driver can spend in an F1 car is valuable for the future. I am looking forward to the experience and back home in Indonesia I am sure millions of fans will be happy to see me take another step towards my dream of becoming Indonesia?s first driver to enter the FIA Formula 1 World championship.?
Team Principal John Booth added: ?We are very pleased to provide Max and Rio with some further Formula 1 seat time and the opportunity to show more of their obvious potential. We have been very encouraged by their performances so far in GP2 this season, and whilst we are supporting Max for the first time in 2012, we have obviously seen Rio at work since 2010 when he first raced for us in GP3. In terms of their programme, they will obviously have access to the data from last weekend?s British Grand Prix and will be able to reference that when running to a basic set-up programme. We raced to a wet set-up there, so they will have the chance to adapt the programme to potentially contrasting track conditions. In addition to working with our race team engineers on procedures and controls, we will have plenty of new tyres which means they can work through some good qualifying and race runs and learn about the idiosyncrasies of the 2012 Pirelli rubber. Both Max and Rio are pretty fit anyway but this will be a good opportunity to provide them with information about their physical and mental approach to Formula 1 racing. We will also be integrating some of our GP3 team engineers into the day to afford them an opportunity to learn and progress within the family.?
The team would have likely run female driver Maria de Villota before her terrible aero test crash last week.
Williams and HRT will also be in action at Silverstone. Williams will run reigning GP3 champion Valtteri Bottas, while HRT will run reigning China Touring Car Championship 1600cc class champion Ma Qing Ha.