Virgin Racing, to be renamed Marussia in 2012, have announced that Charles Pic will replace Jerome d’Ambrosio at the team next season.
The Frenchman will race alongside Germany’s Timo Glock.
Pic participated in the young driver test for Virgin just under a fortnight ago, and speculation within the paddock was rife that the 21-year-old had secured a seat with the outfit.
Virgin team principal, John Booth, says Pic has been on his and teams radar for some time, with the young driver test and simulation work confirming his skills behind the wheel.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Charles to Marussia Virgin Racing as Timo’s team-mate for 2012,” said Booth.
“We naturally keep a close eye on the junior formulae and Charles is certainly someone we have been watching over the past few years.
“The real barometer however was our Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last week, where we put him through a series of tough tests to thoroughly evaluate his potential. This was his first time in a Formula One car so it should have been quite daunting, however Charles was extremely focused on what needed to be done and absolutely rose to the challenge. He continued to improve in every area but his race simulation work particularly caught our eye.”
Booth thanked d’Ambrosio for his contribution over the past year. The Belgian is now without a race seat for 2012.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jérôme D’Ambrosio for his hard work and important contribution to our team over the past 12 months or more. He has an exciting future to look forward to I’m sure and we wish him every success.”
On his new appointmen at Virgin (Marussia), Pic added: “I’m very happy to be making the step up to Formula One with Marussia Virgin Racing. As a driver you always feel you are ready for the next opportunity but in Abu Dhabi last week it was a tough test.
“The team gave me some fantastic opportunities to learn new things but I also knew that I had to impress them and show them I was ready to do a good job. I was pleased with my performance, and obviously the team were too, so a very good start but this is just the beginning and I know that a lot of hard work is ahead of me to reward this chance.
“I like the team a lot; we worked well together in the test and I feel very comfortable. They want to do things the right way and I can see that there is a lot of determination to succeed, so it is very special for me to be part of that. I’m looking forward to working hard in every area over the winter to ensure I am ready for the start of testing and my first Grand Prix.”