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Formula One: Bianchi handed Marussia drive after Razia axed

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

France's Jules Bianchi was named as Marussia's second driver for the new Formula One season on Friday to replace axed Brazilian Luiz Razia.

Bianchi, 23, had been in the running for the final seat at Force India before he lost out to Adrian Sutil on Thursday.

But his dramatic 24 hours ended on a high note when Razia, who had been named as Mark Chilton's teammate in Jerez last month, was dropped after a reported failure to deliver promised sponsorship to Marussia.

"I am thrilled to have secured a race seat with the Marussia F1 Team," said Bianchi.

"Racing in Formula One this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career.

"The next two weeks of preparation for the season will be incredibly busy but I am ready to get started tomorrow (Saturday) with my first day in the MR02."

Marussia said Bianchi will drive at Barcelona on Saturday and Sunday, the final two days of winter testing before the new Formula One season starts in Melbourne on March 17.

"We have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to terminate our contract with Luiz Razia," said Marussia team principal John Booth.

"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."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130301/formula-one-bianchi-handed-marussia-drive-after-razia-axed