Jerome D'Ambrosio, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Wolff explains D’Ambrosio’s new role on Mercedes’ young driver programme

2023 F1 season

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Former Formula 1 driver and Formula E team principal Jerome D’Ambrosio has joined Mercedes as its driver development director.

Team principal Toto Wolff confirmed D’Ambrosio’s appointment after he was seen in the team’s garage early in the season.

Prior to being Venturi’s team principal in FE, d’Ambrosio spent six seasons racing in the series and won races with Dragon Racing and Mahindra. His F1 experience includes one season with Virgin Racing in 2011 and a one-off appearance with Lotus in 2012 as a substitute for Romain Grosjean while serving as the team’s reserve driver.

Wolff revealed d’Ambrosio will assume some of the roles previously held by James Vowles, who left his position as strategy director at the start of this year to become Williams’ team principal.

D’Ambrosio started his new job last week and will be responsible for the team’s simulator driver roster and other driver-related topics in addition to their junior team, Mercedes confirmed to RaceFans.

“He’s looking after the young driver programme in very close cooperation with Gwen [Lagrue], who has been doing it very successfully over the last few years.

“With Gwen’s team we are looking at grassroots motorsports from the early stages of go-karts. This is where Gwen is very active, he was the one working with James, and now within the Brackley structure it’s Jerome who has taken that over.

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“He’s looking at things and there’s plenty of plenty of scope that James did beyond the strategy work. So I see Jerome growing in the organisation, but at this stage, that’s his area.”

D’Ambrosio previously worked with Wolff’s wife Susie at Venturi. She was team principal while d’Ambrosio was deputy, and when she stepped up to become chief executive officer it then freed up the team principal role for d’Ambrosio to move into.

However the Mercedes team principal’s history with d’Ambrosio goes back further than that. “I have known Jerome since a long time, because back in the day when he was in the Renault driver development [programme], I thought about managing him,” he said.

“So it’s 15 or 20 years ago, and then we had a look again at him when he when he dropped out of the programme. So I’ve known him as a racing driver, but never from the human standpoint, and never from the managerial side.”

D’Ambrosio made a successful transition from driver to manager, said Wolff. “When Susie offered him the option to jump out of the cockpit into a management role, he took it with both hands and they were quite a good competitive duo, and Jerome led it into another year and finished second in the FE championship.

“He has the knowhow of having been a racing driver at a very high level. He was a go-karting world champion. He’s been in F1 and on the other side, the skills as a manager. Where that will lead him is a question. Today it’s at a very early stage. He is just coming in in the driver development part and administrative functions. And we shall see where that goes.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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2 comments on “Wolff explains D’Ambrosio’s new role on Mercedes’ young driver programme”

  1. He may have formally started last week but was already standing beside Toto in team clothing on the Bahrain GP weekend.

  2. playstation361
    26th March 2023, 18:29

    I have developed a feeling this year the true competitor for Red Bull is only Mercedes.

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