Jules Bianchi will replace Luiz Razia at Marussia for the 2013 season, the team confirmed on Friday evening in Barcelona.
Bianchi, who had been in the running for a seat at Force India but lost out to Adrian Sutil, had been in discussions with the Russian owned outfit after it became apparent they were likely to drop Razia.
He is among a raft of other drivers believed to have been speaking to the team. Others included Heikki Kovalainen, Narain Karthikeyan, Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov.
23-year-old Razia was confirmed as Max Chilton’s team-mate in early February, but financial troubles with his sponsors failing to make promised payments to the team has resulted in him losing the seat despite last gasp efforts to rescue the situation.
“Hello everybody, it may seem a cliché, but I’m doing absolutely everything possible to resolve the situation,” he wrote on Twitter.
Bianchi will now take up the remaining seat and will test for the team on Saturday. He will share Sunday’s running with Chilton who has so far completed all ten days of running for the team.
“We are very pleased to welcome Jules Bianchi to the Marussia F1 Team,” said team principal John Booth. “Jules is a proven talent who is highly regarded within the Paddock. He has been on a clear trajectory towards Formula 1 and has achieved some impressive performances through the various feeder formulae.
“He is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and his obvious pedigree put him on the radar for a number of teams over the winter as a driver ready to step up to Formula 1.”
Booth explained the reasons behind the termination of Razia’s contract.
“We have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to terminate our contract with Luiz Razia. Having made clear the basis on which we must operate in 2013, and given the steps we had taken to put that new structure in place, we had no alternative but to remain true to the principles which we had identified as being key to securing our long-term future.”