D he list of unconfirmed driver positions for the 2011 Formula 1 season is one name shorter. While Renault, Force India, Lotus and Hispania have yet to confirm the driver pairings, VirginF1 has now made things clear. Timo Glock is driving his second season for the English racing team, and he gets the Belgian Jérôme d‘Ambrosio as a new team-mate.
D'Ambrosio inherits di Grassi
The 25-year-old from Etterbeek is no stranger to VirginF1. He replaced Lucas di Grassi in Friday training in Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil. And now d'Ambrosio is inheriting the hapless Brazilian as a regular driver.
Whether the 12th of the past GP2 series can continue the era of Belgian Formula 1 stars, from Olivier Gendebien to Jacky Icks and Thierry Boutsen, is rather questionable. The new VirginF1 driver has so far not attracted any great success on the racetrack. In 2003 he drove a monoposto series for the first time in the Belgian Formula Renault. Since then, d‘Ambrosio has also had close ties with Renault. He was accepted into the youth squad of the French automotive group in 2004. He is now part of the driver pool of Genii boss Gerard Lopez, who owns 75 percent of the Renault Formula 1 racing team. D‘Ambrosio took part in the GP2 series from 2008 to 2010, but never came above a ninth place overall. He had to wait 44 races for his first and so far only victory, the 2010 sprint in Monte Carlo.
Team principal John Booth nevertheless came to the conclusion: 'Jérôme's GP2 appearances made us realize: That is one you have to keep an eye on. In his Formula 1 tests he even exceeded our expectations. With Timo he forms the perfect combination of experience and speed. '
D'Ambrosio felt like he was in seventh heaven: 'The tests in the VirginF1 were a tough affair because there was a lot of competition for this cockpit. But I immediately felt at home with VirginF1.' Timo Glock commented on the newcomer: 'Congratulations to Jérôme for getting the seat. For my part, I can't wait for tests to start in February. We have a lot of work to do to get VirginF1 there to bring where we should be. ' Glock leaves no doubt what he means by that. His team has to make it to the rear midfield in 2011.