Sao Paulo: French youngster Charles Pic will partner Germany`s Timo Glock at Marussia next year in place of Belgian Jerome d`Ambrosio, the renamed Virgin Racing Formula One team said.
The 21-year-old Pic, who has been competing in the GP2 feeder series for the past two seasons, did his first laps in a Formula One car at a test in Abu Dhabi last week.
"As a driver you always feel you are ready for the next opportunity but in Abu Dhabi last week it was a tough test," he said in a statement released after the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
"The team gave me some fantastic opportunities to learn new things but I also knew I had to impress them and show them I was ready to do a good job.”
"I was pleased with my performance and obviously the team were too so a very good start but this is just the beginning and I know a lot of hard work is ahead of me to reward this chance," added Pic.
France has no existing Formula One driver but is likely to have two next season with Romain Grosjean, this year`s GP2 champion, strongly tipped for a place at Renault instead of Brazilian Bruno Senna.
British-based Virgin are changing the team name to Marussia, the Russian sportscar maker that is their main stakeholder, while Renault will be renamed Lotus.
Virgin team principal John Booth said Pic, who may bring substantial backing with him, had been on their radar for some time.
"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 and he worked very well with the team last week," he said.
"He has an extremely mature head on young shoulders so I have no doubt he will be working very hard over the winter to prepare for his debut season."
The announcement of Marussia`s lineup leaves former champions Williams and Renault as the main focus of media speculation about 2012 seats although Force India, HRT and Toro Rosso have yet to confirm their drivers.
There could also be further change at Team Lotus, where Jarno Trulli`s position could be at risk despite the Italian having a contract.