Jerome d’Ambrosio joins Lotus as third driver for 2012

2012 F1 season

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Jerome d'Ambrosio raced for Virgin last year

Jerome D’Ambrosio will be Lotus’s third driver in 2012, the team has confirmed.

D’Ambrosio raced for Virgin in 2011 but was dropped by the team at the end of the year.

He was previously a member of the team’s young driver programme (when they were Renault) and tested for them in 2009 and 2010. The team said D’Ambrosio will take the place of Kimi Raikkonen or Romain Grosjean if either are unable to race.

D’Ambrosio said: “It’s a great feeling to be joining Lotus F1 Team. It’s an exciting next step in my career.

“I contested a complete season in F1 as a race driver for a smaller team where I learnt a lot about Formula 1. Now, I have the opportunity to work with one of the top teams with great potential for my future development.

“With my recent race experience, I know I can make a valuable contribution. Of course, I would love to be racing, but racing with a top team.

“Being associated with Lotus F1 Team should be more beneficial and this is the choice I have made. This opportunity is one I couldn’t afford to miss. My desire to get back in a race seat in the future is motivating me to do the best job possible in my new position.”

Team principal Eric Boullier added: “In Jerome we have someone we know well who integrates beneficially with the squad. He impressed as reserve driver for us in 2010 and at the end of that year he made a strong showing in the young driver test.”

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Image © Virgin Racing

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Jerome d’Ambrosio joins Lotus as third driver for 2012”

  1. I Love The Pope
    24th January 2012, 16:37

    He seems like a good guy and not that bad of a racer – he didn’t get as mauled by Glock like diGrassi did. Always nice to have another nationality behind the wheel, other than Germans and Englishmen and the occasional Brazilian.

      1. Yeah he seems to be a very like-able lad.. :D

  2. D’ambrosio showed potential last season, I’m glad he’s still got his foot in F1.

  3. I read the headline and then was puzzled when I read he’d replace Kimi or Romain- it took me a while to remember that Lotus was Renault!

    I don’t really see him getting a shot as third driver roles are pretty useless these days and more symbolic than anything else but I think Jerome has potential so at least his name will still be associated with an F1 team.

    1. With this team you never know…

    2. The third driver role is pointless, unless the team really wants to promote him or not.

      Like di Resta, Ricciardo, Vergne and Hulkenberg: they all got a couple of runs on friday, and they all jumped from reserve driver roles to race driver.

    3. Yeah I can’t see him doing any Fridays either. Both Kimi and Romain need as much time in the car as posible.

      1. Yeah, although they might use him to get out on track first each friday and establish basic setup, as he has the most recent track knowledge :-)

        1. good point @bascb, he’s the only driver on their roster with full fuel experience, Pirelli experience, and DRS experience…

    4. Me too Steph. It’s going to take me a while to read Lotus and not think of the Green and Yellow team instead of the Black and Gold team.

    5. It isn’t pointless anymore with a new test at Mugello this year.

  4. Good for Jerome!

    Which teams out there had dedicated 3rd drivers ready to step in if the primaries are unavailable.

    Lotus seem to have about 4 available.
    Caterham seem to have Chandhok lurking around at all events.

    Ferarri you would think have after Luca Badoer’s performances after Massa’s accident.

    Sauber seemed to grab whomever was standing around the pit lane at Canada last year.

    1. Luca Badoer left ferrari a while back. He’s no longer part of the f1 team, reserve or test driver.

    2. And Peter Sauber is renowned for spotting and signing excellent drivers.

  5. Good news, think he got a bit of a rough deal last season. I had thought he had a good first half last season.

  6. He came up good against an experienced team mate (and of course we’re all biased because he’s english) so glad to see he’s not entirely gone, which is an achievement in itself when RBR has 5 seats tied up and there’s 6 WDCs in the running.

    And let’s be honest, if you were going to be a reserve driver theres worse places to be than LRGP

  7. Good news! I like D’Ambrosio, even though he’s Belgian (joking). He was probably the most likeable guy on the grid last year and I hope he gets to race again in the future. Would have saddened me to see him go without a real chance, because you could barely say driving a Marussia counts for a decent chance. Besides, he held his own against Glock, who is a pretty highly rated driver I guess.

    1. @Roald But but but.. I’m Belgian :( (you must be Dutch?) Great to see Jeromeke still somewhat involved in F1! And like “I like the Pope” said good to have some more Nationalities involved as well.

      1. Guessed that right! Naw, I’m more than not rooting for him BECAUSE he’s Belgian, not the other way around! I’d like to see him do good in the future.

        And yes, different nationalities are great for the sport, I’d say even better than having 10 different manufacturers. It’s much easier to get into a sport where someone of your nationality is competing in. Just look at what Jos Verstappen meant in the Netherlands, he was a superstar all along, no matter how badly he performed, whether it was his own fault or not.

        Imagine what a Turkish driver could have done for the Turkish Grand Prix…

        1. Good for Jérôme, but Belgium unfortunately doesn’t give a **** about F1. Dutch people are much more fanatic, and get their companies involved more easily.

          I remember a lot of Belgians where rooting for Verstappen and later for Albers (although a bit less). Now it seems Giedo Van Der Garde is getting the HRT seat, the Netherlands will show Belgium how to support a sportsman in a world wide sport!

          Eventhough our little country has fantastic history in motorsports with Jacky Ickx and even Thierry Boutsen, it never gets to a frenzy. I bet d’Ambrosio could walk around on the streets of Brussels or Antwerp without being recognised…

          But on topic, great news for him. Although I don’t think he will get much running, I hope he takes this chance to get a drive later in the season, and doesn’t fade away!

  8. I agree with the comments above, he did a very solid job last year (although it’s always difficult to judge with the slow teams), a good safe pair of hands to have on the bench.

  9. I kind of expected this, after all he has been Boullier’s protegee for some time, I just can’t understand what took Lotus so long to sign him. Hope he replaces Grosjean mid-season.

    1. Why do you hope that, @klaas?

    2. The Lotus team might have been holding out either for finding another sponsor, or Boullier to find Jerome a different spot where he would have a chance of driving more than the simulator

  10. Saw this on Twitter about an hour ago, good news!

    I think he had a solid year at Virgin and I was impressed by him. He was certainly less accident prone than Di Grassi. He strikes me as a safe pair of hands, which is exactly what you need when you have to call up a reserve driver. De La Rosa did a great job for Sauber last year after Perez’s accident.

  11. Not surprised, I think he deserve another chance.

  12. For some reason my girlfriend has a bizarre crush on this guy, and staying up until 2 or 3am watching qualifying at some races would always result in grumpy curses from her until I tell her “your favourite guy is driving…”
    End grumpy curses.
    Still, I’d like to see him come back into a second driver role if Grojean doesn’t work out, or if he finds himself a seat in a solid midfield team next season.
    I just hope he doesn’t fade away like so many backmarkers.

    1. @nackavich It must be the eyes. Bright blue they are.

  13. Eric Bouiller, CEO of Gravity Sport Management, Signs a Gravity Sport driver, at which the owner of his F1 Team, Genii Capital (owners of Gravity Sport management) express some delight. Falvio Briatore was unavailable for comment.

    1. I enclosed that comment in “Massive Cynicism” hashtags but they don’t seem to have come through…. Ah well.

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