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Charles Pic’s Formula 1 debut is set to be a tough one in Melbourne this weekend, with Marussia’s running having been significantly limited over the winter. The French rookie, who enjoyed three days in the 2011 car at the second pre-season test in Barcelona, is one of two newcomers on this year’s starting grid.
Although six drivers are competing who were not present at the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix of 2011, only a pair are completely fresh faces in F1, with Pic and compatriot Jean-Éric Vergne racing for Marussia and Toro Rosso, respectively.
“I’m ready to go racing now,” says 22-year-old Pic, from Montélimar in south-east France. “I have been working very hard physically, and with the team, and mentally I am prepared. It is true I would have preferred to have more track time before my first Grand Prix, but I have been working on the simulator so we will do the best we can.
“Australia will be very special, for sure, and I will have a lot of support around me. I’m looking forward to getting into the routine of a race weekend and continuing to build the relationship with my engineers. The team have been a great support for me, so I know I can count on them. Obviously, I have driven Albert Park a few times in simulation, but I can’t wait for the real thing.”
In 2011, Pic achieved three pole positions, two race wins and five podium finishes en route to fourth overall in GP2. He replaces Belgian Jérôme d’Ambrosio at Marussia.
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