Charles Pic, Virgin, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Virgin confirm Pic to replace D’Ambrosio

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Charles Pic, Virgin, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Charles Pic, Virgin, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Virgin have announced GP2 driver Charles Pic will race for them in 2012.

The 21-year-old, who finished fourth in GP2 this year, will join the team as it becomes Marussia next year.

With Timo Glock already confirmed at the team the announcement leaves Jerome D’Ambrosio lacking a drive for next season.

Pic said: “As a driver you always feel you are ready for the next opportunity but in Abu Dhabi last week it was a tough test.

“The team gave me some fantastic opportunities to learn new things but I also knew that I had to impress them and show them I was ready to do a good job. I was pleased with my performance, and obviously the team were too, so a very good start but this is just the beginning and I know that a lot of hard work is ahead of me to reward this chance.

“I like the team a lot; we worked well together in the test and I feel very comfortable. They want to do things the right way and I can see that there is a lot of determination to succeed, so it is very special for me to be part of that. I?m looking forward to working hard in every area over the winter to ensure I am ready for the start of testing and my first Grand Prix.”

Team principal John Booth said: “We naturally keep a close eye on the junior formulae and Charles is certainly someone we have been watching over the past few years.

“The real barometer however was our Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last week, where we put him through a series of tough tests to thoroughly evaluate his potential. This was his first time in a Formula One car so it should have been quite daunting, however Charles was extremely focused on what needed to be done and absolutely rose to the challenge. He continued to improve in every area but his race simulation work particularly caught our eye.”

“Winter testing will be upon us before we know it, so it is actually a relatively short space of time ahead with a lot for Charles to get used to, but he is an extremely determined young guy and he worked very well with the team last week. He has an extremely mature head on young shoulders, so I have no doubt that he will be working very hard over the winter to prepare for his debut season.”

Booth added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jerome D’Ambrosio for his hard work and important contribution to our team over the past 12 months or more. He has an exciting future to look forward to I’m sure and we wish him every success.”

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66 comments on “Virgin confirm Pic to replace D’Ambrosio”

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  1. I couldnt even remember Di Grassi’s name until the post two above this one mentioned it. Marussia have to make a big step forward in marketing and race performance next year, to me they’re pretty anonymous.

  2. Note to all rookies: don’t sign for Virgin. Complete waste of time. They said the exact same thing about Di Grassi last year “I think Lucas has a bright future ahead of him”. Where is he now? Rookies can’t prove themselves at all in one year and I thought D’ambrosio had a good season on the whole and showed some good potential. I hope he comes back one day but I can’t see it happening in the near future.

  3. No point in slating Virgin, we would have all made the same decision in their position, Formula 1 is a harsh world.

    I guess for them to keep their No.2 driver he has to really stand out, which D’ambrosio hasn’t really done, but at the end of the day when your at that end of the grid money talks.

  4. D’ambrosio never really got a fair chance in that car, but he tried his best maximise the potential of it. He never really had a big accident except for in Malaysia due to a brake failure , and managed to at sometimes out-qualify and out-race Timo.
    Sadly this is another driver who has spent most of his life up till now working hard to get into F1 and when he gets to it, his career is over after one season due to circumstances out-width his control.

  5. Another hopeless nobody to replace the hopeless nobody from 2011. Who happened to have replaced the initial hopeless nobody in their first year. This team is hopeless.


  7. D’ambrosio is probably going to return to his Renault test/reserve role as I believe he is managed by Éric Bouiller. If not, he might test for the Renault-powered Williams team in 2012.

  8. Lotus have a future,HRT trying to make one,this team seems like they are going more & more backwards.

  9. Another rookie for Virgin. I think Jerome did quite good job as a rookie but another new one come with new year. I don’t know how good he is but I don’t think it’s a good idea.

  10. I wonder how Pic’s signing will affect Romain Grosjean’s chances of securing a drive? One of the biggest cards Grosjean had to play was that he is French (or at least that he races with a French licence), but now that Chales Pic is on the grid, he’s lost some of his thunder. Although Eric Boullier was on a “taskforce” to secure the return of the French Grand Prix, and although that organisation believed that getting a French driver into the sport was the key to this, it was never explicitly stated that that French driver had to be Romain Grosjean or that he had to drive for Renault – only that a French driver in the sport was necessary. Charles Pic satisfies that condition, so maybe Romain Grosjean’s stock at Renault has gone down.

    That said, I still think Renault will take Petrov and Grosjean in 2012. After an unnecessary collision and subsequent drive-through at Interlagos, Bruno Senna has proven that he is only good at finishing in a lower place than he qualified in.

    28th November 2011, 17:04

    How the heck can you even confirm or impress at such horrible teams like HRT or Virgin? Only by out qualyfying ur team mate, which D’ambrosio did a couple of time, but these teams are in a league of their own, how can u know if a driver is good? He only gets to fight against 1 driver…

  12. In my opinion this really shows how desperate the bottom teams are, I only say this as they would only surely be taking him on account of sponership, as even though D’ambrosio wasn’t the best of the new teams, he still finished ahead of experienced team mate Glock, I would say that is an achievement in his first season, this does not reflect well on Marussia and does show some financial worries if they are prepared to sack a 2nd driver who beat the 1st driver, even if D’ambrosio does not get a drive next season he will be back.

  13. Team principal John Booth said: “We naturally keep a close eye on the junior formulae and Charles is certainly someone we have been watching over the past few years.


    Last time I checked you had only just finished your second season in Formula 1.

    1. @andrewtanner – Manor (the team that operates as Virgin) have several teams in junior categories: GP3, the F3 Euroseries and Formula Renault. They’ve run the likes of Hamilton, Raikkonen, di Resta and Robert Merhi.

  14. cant really add to this apart from this, maybe virgin, marussia should just get out of F1, cos lets face it there a bit of a joke

  15. HAHA, I just saw a video of him on youtube…He still looks like a kid. I mean, is this formula1 or a kindergarden??? It’s ridiculous, but it will be fun to watch, how slow he will be in Melbourne.My bet is 15 secs of the pace at least and a spin for every lap on the circuit HAHAHA

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