Grosjean, Chilton Named In 2013 F1 Driver Line-up
Just two seats remain up for grabs on the 2013 Formula 1 grid following this week’s news on the driver front.
Romain Grosjean will keep his drive at Lotus while Max Chilton has been promoted from his reserve driver role to a full-time race seat with Marussia.
Caterham, who have signed Charles Pic from Marussia, and Force India are the only two teams yet to confirm their 2013 line-ups.
Paul di Resta is expected to retain his drive with Dr Vijay Mallya’s outfit while Vitaly Petrov and Giedo van der Garde are the popular front-runners at Caterham.
Romain's Waiting Game
Grosjean was made to sweat on his contract renewal after an up-and-down first full F1 season with Lotus.
The 26-year-old GPs champion showed undeniable speed and was on the podium in Bahrain, Canada and Hungary, but his erratic starts made him a target for both criticism from other drivers and the attention of race stewards.
In an accident-strewn season Grosjean’s most infamous misdemeanour came on the first lap at Spa-Francorchamps when he took out Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in a spectacular and potentially dangerous first-corner incident that earned him a one-race ban.
But he has just finished the year on a positive note with victory in the high-profile Race of Champions in Bangkok, where Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen were among his prize scalps.
“I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1,” said Grosjean, who had already done seven races for the then-Renault team in 2009, “and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performances on track next year.”
Grosjean finished the 2012 Grand Prix season in eighth place overall with 96 points.
Max Moves Up
Meanwhile Max Chilton makes his own contribution to lowering the average age of next season’s F1 drivers: the Englishman is just 21.
He was named as Marussia’s reserve driver for the closing stages of the 2012 season, including a run in Free Practice at Abu Dhabi, and also ran for the team in the Young Driver Test at Silverstone back in July.
“It’s hard to put into words how I’m feeling today. It comes at the end of what has been a fantastic year for me,” said Chilton.
The year’s highlights were pole positions for Marussia Carlin in the GP2 series in Hungary and Italy, topped by two race wins in Hungary and Singapore. Chilton is confident his experience within the team will counter-balance his youth and lack of top-flight experience.
“Instead of a standing start I am already up to speed and at ease with the people, the culture, the systems and of course the 2013 package,” he added.