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Motorsport | Formula 1

Rodolfo Gonzalez © Reuters

Marussia sign Gonzalez as reserve driver



Marussia have signed Venezuelan Rodolfo Gonzalez as reserve driver for the 2013 season to back up rookies Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, the Formula One team said on Thursday.

Starting at this weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the 26-year-old will be on standby in case a substitute driver is needed at late notice and may drive in some practice sessions.

"I am very excited to be joining the Marussia F1 Team and at such an exciting time in their development," said Gonzalez, who previously competed in the GP2 Series.

"Working closely with the race drivers and engineers at every stage of the race weekend is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn outside of the car and I hope that I can make a significant contribution to the team's progress."

Gonzalez is the second Venezuelan in Formula One with Williams driver Pastor Maldonado.

"Although it is a big moment for my career, the people of Venezuela are going through a sad time at present due to the death of President Chavez, so I hope this news lifts their spirits a little," Gonzalez added. "For me, I am disappointed that I was not able to share the news with him personally."

Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez died of cancer last week.

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