María de Villota becomes Marussia test driver
7 March 2012 – Shortly after arranging a deal with Mark Blundell’s 2MB Sports Management company, María de Villota has been confirmed as Marussia F1's test driver for the 2012 season. The 32-year-old from Madrid has raced in a variety of single-seater categories and, most recently, completed 300-km (186-mi) of mileage in a test for Lotus Renault GP.
“I am very happy to be joining the Marussia F1 Team test driver programme," said de Villota. "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 One racing.”
Marussia boss John Booth welcomed the news, stating that the agreement should allow de Villota to make a smooth transition to the world of Formula 1.
“We are pleased to welcome Maria to our test driver programme, which will enable her to be integrated into a Formula 1 team environment and gain a vast amount of experience," he explained. "We will also provide Maria with the opportunity to sample F1 machinery later in the year, further adding to her racing credentials.”