JerÃƒÂ´me d’Ambrosio to partner Timo Glock at Virgin Racing
The 24-year-old Belgian is "thrilled" as he prepares to make F1 debut with his new team next year
Belgian JerÃƒÂ´me d’Ambrosio will make his Formula 1 debut in 2011, racing alongside Timo Glock at Virgin Racing.
The 24-year-old GP2 veteran had been tipped for a drive with the team after impressing under evaluation in Friday practice in the final races of the season. He replaces Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, who is now without a race seat for 2011.
“We had followed his progress in GP2 closely and it was clear he was Ã¢â‚¬Ëœone to watch’, but when we put him in the car for the four race weekends and the Abu Dhabi test he surpassed even our own expectations,” said Virgin team principal John Booth.
D’Ambrosio has spent the last three seasons in the GP2 Series with the DAMS team, securing just one win in the Monaco sprint race in 2010.
He has also competed in the F3000 Euroseries with Euronova and Formula Renault with Tech 1 Racing. He also held the role of reserve and test driver for the Renault F1 team in 2010.
Booth added: “He slotted into the team perfectly and everyone took a shine to him. Apart from his obvious skill at the wheel of an F1 car, he is an immensely personable young guy who is a pleasure to have around.
“He has secured this seat absolutely on merit and I think, coupled with Timo, we have the perfect blend of youth, experience, speed and potential, and we can’t wait to see what they can achieve together next season.”
The Belgian’s first experience behind the wheel of Virgin’s 2011 car -the VR-02 -will be at the Valencia test at the beginning of February. It is understood d’Ambrosio will also bring over $5m in sponsorship revenue with him to the team.
“I’m thrilled to have achieved my goal of a Formula 1 race seat with Marussia Virgin Racing,” said d’Ambrosio. “When I came to the team in September this year it was everything I could hope for.
“I had a tough test to complete because there was a lot of competition for this seat but, at the same time, I got on well with the team and felt that I had found my home.
“I feel very comfortable with them. They are extremely professional and ambitious people and it is exciting to think that I can be a part of shaping the team’s future.”
Timo Glock, who was also finally confirmed for the team for 2011, added: “My congratulations to JerÃƒÂ´me on joining the team and I look forward to working with him next year.
“After a tough but rewarding debut season for our team we now have a lot of hard work to do to take Marussia Virgin Racing to the level we should be performing at in 2011.
“I for one cannot wait to get started in the new car when testing begins in February.”