Now the countdown to the first F1 Grand Prix of 2013 has begun, Max Chilton’s former karting boss is toasting his former protégé’s graduation to the Marussia race seat.
Steve Armstrong, owner of the hugely successful RL Racing Department team, guided 21-year old Chilton from his formative days competing in club events at Buckmore Park, right the way through to podium success in Europe.
“I am absolutely thrilled for him,” said Armstrong speaking from his HQ at the internationally renowned PFi circuit in Lincolnshire. “Max thoroughly deserves his opportunity.
The pair first started working together in 2002, when Armstrong worked for the Scholartech outfit. From these early beginnings, Max progressed from Cadet into Junior TKM and a year later he dovetailed TKM with JICA.
It was in the latter class that he really began to make a name for himself, as Steve recalls: “I remember the Champions Cup race in Rome was one such highlight. Max won the first final and took 2nd in the following race.
He completed the year as a seeded driver in both the Super One classes and as a works Maranello driver.”
Aged 14, Chilton moved to the T-Car championship for two seasons before switching to the British F3 series.
“Education played a big part in his life. So Max didn’t quite do the same amount of racing that many of his contemporaries did. His beating many of them to an F1 race seat highlights his ability.
I saw his potential during our time together in karts and he’s such a nice kid too. We still speak regularly, so it is good to know that he remembers his roots and those who have played their part on his journey from karting to the Grand Prix grid.
Now he’s got his chance, I’m sure he will grab it with both hands and he will impress many people, including F1’s bigger teams.”