Jerome d’Ambrosio to stand in for Grosjean at Monza

2012 Italian Grand Prix

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Jerome D’Ambrosio will take Romain Grosjean’s place at Lotus in the Italian Grand Prix.

Grosjean was excluded from the race after triggering a crash which eliminated himself and three other drivers at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.

D’Ambrosio is the team’s third driver and raced for Virgin last year.

“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,” said D’Ambrosio. “Monza is a fantastic circuit and I can’t wait to take to the track on Friday.

“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.”

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “When we signed Jerome as our third driver we signed a man who is highly motivated, fresh, talented and who contested the full 2011 season. We hope that this will pay dividends when he drives the car this weekend in Monza.

“We know that Jerome 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 Jerome, but we will be supporting him in every way to achieve a good result.”

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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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102 comments on “Jerome d’Ambrosio to stand in for Grosjean at Monza”

  1. Just desserts.

    1. please tell me that’s a custard-related pun :)

    2. Yer on Jerome this time !

    3. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      4th September 2012, 23:33

      Those were both brilliant.

  2. Got a source on that?

      1. Sweet – you’re the first one to break the official news, nice one!

        1. I’m surprised LotusAutosport didn’t get it first.

          1. As I understand, there was an earlier press release, which Autosport got first. But then the release disappeared, and Autosport had to pull their article. When it was re-released by Lotus, Autosport just wasn’t able to re-publish in time.

  3. i know it’s short notice, but i’m hopeful jerome will deliver at monza. all the best to him.

    1. Agreed.

  4. So who’s gonna join Will in the box for the GP2 now? :D

    1. And be co-commentator for RTBF during the race?

    2. Romain, hopefully :)

    3. Romain Grosjean.

      Why not? He is, after all, the reigning GP2 champion.

      1. A perfect fit!

    4. Hopefully Keith! :D

    5. Who’s Will?

  5. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    4th September 2012, 10:38

    So what happens when d’Ambrosio is on point this weekend and has a solid points finish?

    1. Nothing. He scores points, and then Grosjean gets back into the car for Singapore. The only way d’Ambrosio is going to keep the seat is if he puts in some phenomenal performance that makes keeping Romain Grosjean a totally unattractive prospect, and given Grosjean’s regular points finishes, and less-regular-but-still-happening podiums, he would have to do a lot to impress enough to keep the seat.

      It might help him secure a drive for 2013, though.

      1. A Win? I don’t think it’s likely. I think it has the potential to be a McLaren vs. Red Bull.

    2. Romain won’t be under any threat, we forget after his silliness on Sunday how immense he’s been this season.

      And I don’t think Jerome will set the world alight.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        4th September 2012, 23:36

        I would say kimis been immense romain mediocre less speed than kimi less points more crashes.

    3. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      4th September 2012, 11:55

      Just hypothetical “what-ifs”. I don’t expect him to do much more than mid-pack.
      Unfortunately we never really get to see what drivers who are on the outside looking in, have to offer.

    4. Nothing. Grosjean is Lotus’ top bet for the future anyway.

      I dont’ expect d’Ambrosio to be spectacularly good, to be honest, so…

  6. I’d be very surprised if Jerome does anything spectacular. As excited as he’ll be for any chance to race again, you gotta feel quite sorry for him in a way. In these modern times without testing, a one-off drive is pretty much the worst possible scenario you can find yourself in. You need so many races just to get on the pace after all that time off, and he’ll have one.

    Although he’ll not be happy with it, I personally will be perfectly impressed and convinced he’s done a solid job if he can manage to qualify solidly in the midfield, around the 6th or 7th row, and score a point. That’s about what I predict.

    1. Although a one off drive is tough, I think Monza is probably the ideal track because setting up the car is probably straightforward compared to many other circuits. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep close to Kimi’s pace and give a good account of himself.

      Will certainly be more interesting if it rains though.

      1. Also I’m sure he won’t be concerned about putting extra mile on the engine and gearbox, after all he doesn’t have to deal with the consequences.

  7. The sensible choice. D’Ambrosio is a decent driver who knows the team and the car, and there’s very little time to prepare another driver anyway (and they will be running the Device). Of course, it might have been more interesting for some of us fanatics if a driver like Bottas or Alguersuari had been put in the car, but I think any driver would have a hard time scoring points this Sunday at Monza. The grid is pretty close, and I think the cars are difficult to drive around low-downforce Monza anyway. Still, best of luck to Jerome.

    1. I love the way you spell “device” with a capital “D”.

    2. Oh no they won’t, according to this. Makes some sense to me – the wing’s so small at Monza, there won’t be enough of it to stall, and so on…
      Lotus rules out racing double-DRS device at Monza

      On the other hand, Jenson Button raced there in 2010 with a great big rear wing and the original F-duct.

      1. That makes sense. Monza is, after all, the circuit with the lowest downforce on the calendar. Running the double-DRS device does not make sense, not unless Lotus intended to run their downforce levels at a higher-than-average level the way Jenson Button did in 2010 – but they can’t. When Button did it in 2010, he had full control over the F-duct at every minute. The double-DRS device, however, can only be freely used in qualifying and in set zones in the race. Running higher levels of downforce will only do more harm than good.

        1. Actually, although described by some as a Double DRS, the Device is a passive system which is triggered by air pressure. It therefore works above a certain speed, and operates even outside the designated DRS zone provided the car is going fast enough.

          See Scarbs’ analysis:-

        2. Stephen Taylor
          4th September 2012, 14:11

          Lotus will not use the Double DRS system at Monza . Its not ready . Good luck Jerome as well hope you get some valuable points

  8. I would love it if Custard won in Monza. :D

    1. Lotus’ regular drivers can’t win – what does d’Ambrosio have that they don’t?

      1. He could have luck.

      2. Nothing to lose

      3. There is a difference between ‘can’t’ as you put it; and ‘haven’t’ won.

        1. This +1.

          @prisoner-monkeys Just because they haven’t won doesn’t mean they can’t win.

          Since you think Lotus’ regular drivers aren’t up to task, why don’t you take over their jobs? I’m sure you would be able to do a much better job than the both of them.

      4. hunger its like auditon. look out massa

    2. What is it with d’ambrosio and custard?

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        5th September 2012, 23:20

        his mechanics at marussia give him this nickname though i’m not actually sure why :)

  9. This is going to be epic, whole season is pretty epic already!

    All the best to all, I hope 1 sec gonna split first 12-14!!!

  10. No surprises here. It was never gonna be someone else. Sure D’Ambrosio is unlikely to be in the cards for a very strong finish but, let’s face it, no one will require him to do exactly that.

    Damage limitation will be in effect here for Lotus and, if D’Ambrosio manages to somehow help Raikkonen in his title pursuit, gather valuable data for the engineers regarding both the tyres, the setup for quali and race and the DDRS gimmick and on top of that score a point or two (which could be his first in F1 as well) counting towards the WCC, I think everyone here and at Lotus will agree he’s done his job very well.

    Anyway, it’s gonna be very interesting to watch how he handles that Lotus in terms of pace, compared to what Raikkonen and Grosjean are generally capable of in that car.

    1. @tony031r Interesting … I would add to the objectives be in front of Massa would be very ncie as Lotus and Ferrari are very close, would be great to cover Massa.
      And indeed the most important is him getting back into the car and bringing data to the team, after this is bonus. But what’s nice with this car and switch is that he can almost finish anywhere from first to last, that makes it exciting (added to the fact that I’m belgian ^^ )

  11. I hope D’Ambrosio can show Marussia why they were wrong to drop him.

    1. @slr Nice to see him have a genuine opportunity to show what he can do.

  12. Drop Valencia!
    4th September 2012, 11:35

    Funny, in the unlikely event they are running 1-2 afte pitstops, they will want Dambro to pull over for Kimi, but with nothing to lose, no way he will!

    1. Mika Salo.

      1. Drop Valencia!
        4th September 2012, 14:31

        OK you win!

    1. I doff my cap to you, it’s probably a bit of an unfair use of examples, but, D’ambrosio still is lacking recent experience and is probably going to be more of a liability.

    2. Somewhat selective examples. I wouldn’t like to face you in a courtroom!

      1. Poor choices

        1. Really? hmmm…

          1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            4th September 2012, 23:45

            I think Dan’s upset because you did it better

          2. @danbrown180 – I’m assuming @deurmat deliberately made extremely “poor choices” to illustrate how you can make any ridiculous point by taking one moment of a driver’s career.

  13. D’ambrosio is a driver that has not made an F1 start in a while nor probably driven an F1 car nor raced competitively for a while. If I were racing this weekend I would be even more nervous.

    1. He is used to starting with a lot of cars around him. Never an incident on the first lap.
      1 season of d’Ambrosio: 0 first lap incidents
      half a season of Grosjean: 7 first lap incidents

      1. Well, he’s more used to starting with a lot of cars in front of him.

  14. Such a shame that without testing, it will be hard for him to pull off anything spectacular. Here’s hoping he can at least challenge for a podium..

    1. Also, his lack of talent will make it difficult.

      1. Yes, and he is not experienced.

        1. f1adrenalinerush
          4th September 2012, 17:19

          And this is the only way to get experience so he needs to sieze the moment.

      2. He was better in GP2 than Grosjean… Must be a real lack of talent…

        1. I meant better than Kobayashi 2 years in a row.

          1. We’ll have to see. That he was better 3 years ago has little bearing on how good they are in 2012.

  15. So this is offically the first change in drivers this season? It’s quite imperssive that some big money didn’t buy a drivers seat in some of the “new” teams – like Riccardo last year.

    1. William Brierty
      4th September 2012, 13:15

      Good point, I’m very surprised that Karthikeyan has lasted this long – I mean, he didn’t last year. Actually the class of 2012 seems notably better than 2011, because there are no drivers really screaming out to be replaced, excluding Karthikeyan obviously.

      1. Isn’t Karthikeyan pretty much single-handedly funding HRT through his sponsorship / technical deals? (hence their lack of sponsors compared to Marussia / Caterham) I don’t see him being dropped any time soon unless someone comes up with a real wad of cash.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          4th September 2012, 17:46

          He must be. Their only sponsor is Tata who he obviously brought in and with his performances this year, I can only assume that he’s in the team for one reason.

          It’s a bit of a pointless existence though isn’t it? If you can’t put some money in yourself and have to rely on a terrible driver to buy a seat, what chance do you have of moving forward?

      2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        4th September 2012, 23:48


  16. Can Lotus choose not to enter a 2nd car?

    I know it will be stupid not to and lose any constructors points he might pick up, but was just wondering whether it is mandatory to enter two cars per team or is there a leeway to skip one in case of driver bans such as this

    1. Marussia raced with only one car in Valencia when Glock was ill so I assume they can do what they want.

      They can choose to enter no cars if they want (US Grand Prix 2005)

      1. To used a third driver, this had has to take part in at least one practice… since Timo only got sick on sunday nad they have not run another driver neither saturday or friday they can only run with Pic…

  17. William Brierty
    4th September 2012, 13:05

    Looking at the comments above, it was just me that saw a rather handy driver in d’Ambrosio. Obviously, he’s not on the level of Raikkonen, or Grosjean for that matter, but he’s a consistant, measured and intelligent racing driver who is exceptional at looking after his tyres, all essential qualities in 2012. OK, he is notably lacking in raw speed, so he’s not going to get pole position, but I expect him to finish deeply in points. I’m rather excited really, I thought Virgin dumped him prematurely, and now we get a chance to see what he can do in a “proper” car, a car that has an excellent chance of winning the GP for that matter.

  18. Called it first on the forum.

    1. Selected quotes from the forum posts before yours in that thread:

      “the leading contender is, for obvious reasons, Jerome d’Ambrosio”
      “While it would be good to see some of the ex F1 drivers, Jerome d’Ambrosio is the most probable”
      “At first glance, I think Jerome d’Ambrosio is the only driver who makes sense.”
      “There probably isn’t enough time for Lotus to get anyone other than d’Ambrosio into the car”
      “d’Ambrosio is their third driver, this kind of situation is what he’s there for.”

      So I’m not really sure why you’re claiming to have called it first. I’m even less sure why you feel the need to brag about it.

      1. @estesark – Nice one :)

  19. It’s going to be amazing experience, I hope he enjoys is. Many drivers would love to have a Grand Prix in 2012 Lotus :)

    Best of luck!

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      4th September 2012, 17:42

      Amazing for him! He’s spent a year struggling at the back and now he gets to prove what he can do in a car that can genuinely win a race.

      I really hope that he’s careful at the start and doesn’t carry on as Grosjean left off!

  20. Good choice. He’s tested the car, he knows the team well and how they work. It’ll be difficult for him, but I’m sure he’s capable of scoring a few points.

  21. Just a small light hearted thought, if Jerome were to become Pastor Maldonado’s teammate, then Williams would have to become F1’s official chefs.

  22. Can somebody explain me the custard joke?

    1. Ambrosia is a brand of custard, Jerome d’Ambrosio sounds like a custard brand

  23. I would’ve hoped for Alguesuari or Barrichello.

  24. The only sensible choice.

    Now let us hope he outperforms kimi so Grosjean can stay at home for the rest of the season

    1. If he outperforms Kimi, shouldn’t it be Kimi staying at home for the rest of the season?

      1. Kimi isn’t a driver that makes error upon error like Grosjean.

  25. petebaldwin (@)
    4th September 2012, 17:40

    Good luck to him. Funny how he was interviewed before the race and was clearly disappointed to not have driven in practice yet but gave a really good “team” answer and now he’s racing!

    Good luck to him – it’ll be great to see how he gets on in a decent car as I was impressed with him in the Virgin last year.

  26. You know what’s happening today?

    Timo Glock is staring at the wall desperately trying to turn back time and get sacked from Marussia last year.

    1. he was crazy to turn down renault for 2010.

  27. It would be incredibly ironic if D’Ambrosio won at Monza…

    But in all seriousness, I hope he gets the chance to impress. I think he’s a decent driver who was suffocated by a bad car last year, so hopefully he’ll impress someone enough for a drive next year.

  28. Ah salud (my Italian is negligible) to you, d’Ambrosio.

    Go and shine.

  29. A sensible choice from Lotus and it shows that they actually have confidence in their driver line-up. I don’t think they’re well blessed with any other choices to be honest (they burned their bridges with Heidfeld when they ditched him) but a smart move nonetheless.

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