Female driver Maria De Villota has joined the Marussia Formula One team as a test driver.
The 31-year-old Spaniard has previous experience in a variety of categories including Superleague Formula, Formula Palmer Audi and Euro Formula 3000, and tested a Lotus-Renault F1 car at Paul Riciard last year.
According to Marussia team principal John Booth, De Villota’s deal with the team will include driving duties at the post-season Abu Dhabi young driver test.
“We are pleased to welcome Maria to our test driver programme, which will enable her to be integrated into a Formula One team environment and gain a vast amount of experience that will be useful to her career progression,” said Booth.
“We will also provide Maria with the opportunity to sample F1 machinery later in the year, further adding to her racing credentials.”
De Villota’s duties with the team will commence in Australian next weekend, where she will work within the team to gain experience of their Grand Prix weekend operations.
“I am very happy to be joining the Marussia F1 Team test driver programme,” she said.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a Formula 1 team and gain important experience to help me progress my career, including the chance to drive the new car later in the year at the Abu Dhabi test.
“I will be joining the team trackside so I’m looking forward to working alongside them at the first race next weekend and this can only help my future ambition to step up to Formula 1 racing.”
Experienced German Timo Glock and French rookie Charles Pic will race Marussia’s two entries in the Formula One World Championship this season.