Official: D'Ambrosio subs for Grosjean at Monza
4 September 2012 – Lotus has confirmed that Jérôme d’Ambrosio will make an F1 return alongside Kimi Räikkönen at Monza. The Belgian, who raced for Marussia Virgin last year, substitutes for Romain Grosjean who is banned after causing the heavy first-corner crash at Spa.
D’Ambrosio, 26, joined Lotus as reserve driver after being replaced at Marussia by Charles Pic. He remains on the market as a possible full-time pilot with another team for 2013, meaning Italy comes as a crucial opportunity for the Etterbeek-born man.
“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,” he admits. “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. 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 has full confidence in his replacement driver.
“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 begins. “We hope that this will pay dividends when he drives the car this weekend at 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…one thing is for sure, he’s half Italian and I think I know which driver the spectators will support apart from Fernando (Alonso)! It’s a tough task for Jérôme, but we will be supporting him in every way to achieve a good result.”
So far in 2012, d'Ambrosio has provided television commentary on the world feed of GP2, alongside Will Buxton, as well as F1 practice punditry for Sky Sports with David Croft. Lotus will continue to delay the race debut of its much-awaited ‘Super DRS’, as the rear wing-stalling device would yield no advantage at such a low-downforce circuit.