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D’Ambrosio gets nod to fill in for banned Grosjean at Monza
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Jerome D'Ambrosio - Lotus F1 image
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Sep 2012   |  4:09 pm GMT  |  30 comments

Jerome D’Ambrosio will race in place of the suspended Romain Grosjean’s for Lotus at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, the team has as expected confirmed, marking the former Virgin driver’s competitive return to a race environment for the first time since the end of last season.

Although some of the bigger name drivers currently on the F1 sidelines were immediately linked to the one-off drive after Grosjean’s one-race ban for causing Sunday’s first-corner pile-up at Spa was announced, it was logical that Lotus would turn to their well-regarded Belgian test and reserve driver to fill the void at Monza.

The Enstone team duly confirmed the news this afternoon and Lotus team chief Eric Boullier, while aware the 26-year-old has an uphill task to acclimatise to the brief sudden promotion, is confident he will rise to the challenge of stepping into a front-running car that he points out should be fighting for the podium places.

“When we signed Jérôme as our third driver we signed a man who is highly motivated, fresh, talented and who contested the full 2011 season,” the Frenchman said. “We hope that this will pay dividends when he drives the car this weekend in Monza. We know that Jérôme is well integrated into the team and that he did a good job when he drove the E20 at the Mugello test.

“Now he has the challenge of a Grand Prix at the challenging circuit of Monza, in a car which is capable of finishing on the podium. One thing is for sure, he’s half Italian and I think I know which driver the spectators will support apart from Fernando ! It’s a tough task for Jérôme, but we will be supporting him in every way to achieve a good result.”

D’Ambrosio, dropped in favour of French youngster Charles Pic at the rebranded Marussia team at the end of last season, talks about using the one-off chance to showcase his capabilities and is targeting a first F1 points finish.

“My desire for 2012 has always been to get back into the seat of a Formula 1 car so I am grabbing this opportunity with both hands. Monza is a fantastic circuit and I can’t wait to take to the track on Friday,” he said.

“As third driver I have worked with the team at every Grand Prix, attending all the briefings and meetings that the race drivers do, so I am well prepared in this respect.

“Monza is a superb circuit, but it is also quite a technical one so I am not underestimating the task ahead of me. I want to reward the faith that the team has in me with a good haul of points from the race. I will hand the wheel back to Romain after Sunday’s race and I hope that this one showing in Italy will allow me to show my capabilities fully.”

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30 Comments
  1. moxlox says:

    Good for him.

    I wonder what they’ll do if he wins Monza?! The car has a chance.

    1. Daniel MA says:

      To Ferrari then! this year anyone who has done a decent job and doesn’t have a contract for next year has been linked to the red team haha.

  2. Robert Gunning says:

    The best thing for D’Ambrosio to do this weekend, is to stay out of trouble, and run a very aggressive strategy in an attempt to score points. Possibly run the traditional, and fastest Monza strategy of running as long as you can on the hard tyres and making one stop (similar to Vettel in 2010).

  3. Irish con says:

    What’s the chances of Jerome being on the grid in any car next year. I don’t see it likely to be honest.

  4. olivier says:

    Good Luck Jerome!

    It’s a one off opportunity. Wouldn’t it be crazy if he gets that first Lotus win?

    1. DK says:

      Let’s hope he survive first corner first ….

      1. Jon Egerton says:

        Well he won’t get taken out by Grosjean will he – and Maldonardo will already be miles up the road by the time he sets off, so he should be fine!

      2. Henry says:

        Unless Maldonado decides to set off before the lights again just to catch up a bit :P

      3. Simmo says:

        And no Liuzzi this year either ;)

  5. TitanRacer says:

    very happy for Jerome. and happy to see responsible and sensible business ethics play out this way. otherwise, why waste resources with an official reserve driver at all??
    I personally think he will do himself and the Team extremely proud if he can contest the event with no “mistakes” and a lower points-paying result.
    results better than that will surely turn the world of F1 on its ear! some superstars of motor racing have started with lower expectations than that…
    here is to wishing Jerome has the weekend event of his racing career!!! it will be fascinating to watch it unfold…

  6. Rich B says:

    go careful at the first corner jerome

  7. Davexxx says:

    Seems many people are speculating about him even winning. I think that’s pretty far-fetched. But he does have to stay out of trouble and not aim too high. Mid-field would be good, just to get some points, you can’t expect any more from him despite romantic dreams. (All this is no reflection on his talents, simply practicality given that he hasn’t been driving races for awhile).

    1. KRB says:

      For real! High single-digit points would be a great job; any points a good job. Remember Liuzzi flying through the first corner sideways a couple of years back? That’s what he has to avoid above all else.

      1. Simmo says:

        It was only last year!!

  8. SD says:

    Pleased for him, I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets on in a competitive car. I thought he fared pretty well against Glock at Virgin last year and was unlucky to lose his seat there.

    I think with a good weekend he could get some good points for himself and the team and put himself in the window for a drive next year. Monza is one of the easier tracks to drive as well so hopefully that will help him get up to speed quickly.

  9. Phill says:

    James, sorry to put this here and not be on the right topic.
    But is there any way to contact you directly, without using comments like this?
    I am partaking in the F1 Schools programme and would like to ask you a few things.
    If you can get back to me that would be much appreciated, cheers.

  10. Sri says:

    People like fairy tales and hence expect a win from someone who has not driven for a while. If he gets into points that itself will be big thing (without any crashes). The field is so competitive now – Williams, Sauber, RedBull, McLaren, Ferrari are all almost equal and then he has his own teammate too in that mix. So it is 11 drivers with all their prior experience. And not to discount Force Indias and Mercedes also. So realistically a race-finish is good with additional bonus of points finish. Top-5 will itself be BIG surprise.

  11. Adam says:

    A top five finish for D’Ambrosia would illustrate just how good a car the Lotus is

  12. Brian says:

    The car seems to be very competitive. I’m sure Lotus would welcome scoring points with both cars for a change!

  13. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Jerome, I can advise you:

    1. stay away from Malonado

    2. One stop.

    The only safe driver this weekend is Grosjean, the others have Malonado.

  14. Go-GO-GO-GO-GO JDA!!! My man, yo! He ain’t no stranger to Enstone, you. He’s da homie, yo. For sure, you know, yeah, well, I mean at least JDA won’t be posting piccies of his telemetry vs. Kimi’s on twitta.

    Grosjean came dangerously close to losing his F1 seat for good after Spa and the only way up after F1 at such a tender age is IndyCar, which is more or less like World Series by Renault where they don’t let European viewers watch videos on YouTube and put together race highlights which are even worse than FOM’s take on racing. Bourdais? Plenty of French guys out there getting airborne on the dusty streets Wallarado, Tripchigan, brought to you by Brewster Lewster lubrificants. Between GRO and JDA the latter might even be a more solid N2 to Kimi. Would be a massive joke if GRO made all his effort in 2010/2011 only to waste it in a bunch of stupid crashes. Not smart, hire JYS as a coach or rather make GRO listen to JYS.

  15. Rich C says:

    Sounds right and proper.

    Why else have a reserve/test driver on staff if you’re going to rush out onto the open market everytime you need one?

  16. Jonathan Kelk says:

    My worry is that Jerome won’t get a fresh engine like most of the other drivers will have for Monza. Logically it should make no difference to Lotus who is driving in terms of engine allocation, after all they are fighting only for constructor points. But logic doesn’t always seem to win in F1!

  17. Elie says:

    Congrats to Jerome ! I’m sure he will do ok. & if he excels then it just makes next year even more interesting for Lotus !

  18. Mark in Australia says:

    Who else do you think was seriously in the fold to step in for RG?

    I think JDA is a great choice personally…

  19. Ben G says:

    Great news for Jerome – nice chap.

    Went for an F1 ride with him once – nearly ripped my head off.

  20. Tim says:

    A chequered flag 7th for 6 pts. & he’ll be in with a shout for a seat in ’13.

    Tim

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