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Pic to drive for F1 team Marussia next year

Updated: November 28, 2011, 09:22

PARIS(AP) Charles Pic will drive for Marussia in Formula One next year, replacing Belgian driver Jerome d'Ambrosio.

Virgin Racing, which will re-brand as Marussia Virgin Racing next season, announced on its website late Sunday that the 21-year-old Frenchman will drive alongside Timo Glock of Germany in their new-look team.

D'Ambrosio drove with Glock at last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix in the final race of the season. Neither managed to score a point during the entire F1 season.

"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,'' Pic said. "But this is just the beginning, and I know that a lot of hard work is ahead of me.''

Pic impressed during the young drivers' test held during the Abu Dhabi GP, and spent the past two seasons competing in the GP2 Series. He ended the year in fourth place with two wins, three pole positions and five podium finishes.

Pic, who started out in kart racing, will spend the next few weeks at the team's technical center in Banbury, England, before preseason testing begins next February.

"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,'' Pic said. "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.''

Moscow-based sports car manufacturer Marussia Motoring became Virgin Racing's controlling stake-holder last February.

"Charles is certainly someone we have been watching over the past few years,'' team principal John Booth said. "Winter testing will be upon us before we know it, so it is actually a relatively short space of time ahead with a lot for Charles to get used to, but he is an extremely determined young guy.''

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