Jerome d’Ambrosio joins Lotus as third driver for 2012

2012 F1 season

Jerome d'Ambrosio, Virgin, Korea, 2011

Jerome d'Ambrosio raced for Virgin last year

Jerome D’Ambrosio will be Lotus’s third driver in 2012, the team has confirmed.

D’Ambrosio raced for Virgin in 2011 but was dropped by the team at the end of the year.

He was previously a member of the team’s young driver programme (when they were Renault) and tested for them in 2009 and 2010. The team said D’Ambrosio will take the place of Kimi Raikkonen or Romain Grosjean if either are unable to race.

D’Ambrosio said: “It?s a great feeling to be joining Lotus F1 Team. It?s an exciting next step in my career.

“I contested a complete season in F1 as a race driver for a smaller team where I learnt a lot about Formula 1. Now, I have the opportunity to work with one of the top teams with great potential for my future development.

“With my recent race experience, I know I can make a valuable contribution. Of course, I would love to be racing, but racing with a top team.

“Being associated with Lotus F1 Team should be more beneficial and this is the choice I have made. This opportunity is one I couldn?t afford to miss. My desire to get back in a race seat in the future is motivating me to do the best job possible in my new position.”

Team principal Eric Boullier added: “In Jerome we have someone we know well who integrates beneficially with the squad. He impressed as reserve driver for us in 2010 and at the end of that year he made a strong showing in the young driver test.”

See the updated list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams.

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31 comments on Jerome d’Ambrosio joins Lotus as third driver for 2012

  1. I Love The Pope said on 24th January 2012, 16:37

    He seems like a good guy and not that bad of a racer – he didn’t get as mauled by Glock like diGrassi did. Always nice to have another nationality behind the wheel, other than Germans and Englishmen and the occasional Brazilian.

  2. realracer (@realracer) said on 24th January 2012, 16:55

    D’ambrosio showed potential last season, I’m glad he’s still got his foot in F1.

  3. I read the headline and then was puzzled when I read he’d replace Kimi or Romain- it took me a while to remember that Lotus was Renault!

    I don’t really see him getting a shot as third driver roles are pretty useless these days and more symbolic than anything else but I think Jerome has potential so at least his name will still be associated with an F1 team.

  4. Jarv F150 (@jarvf150) said on 24th January 2012, 17:04

    Good for Jerome!

    Which teams out there had dedicated 3rd drivers ready to step in if the primaries are unavailable.

    Lotus seem to have about 4 available.
    Caterham seem to have Chandhok lurking around at all events.

    Ferarri you would think have after Luca Badoer’s performances after Massa’s accident.

    Sauber seemed to grab whomever was standing around the pit lane at Canada last year.

  5. gavmaclean (@gavmaclean) said on 24th January 2012, 17:06

    Good news, think he got a bit of a rough deal last season. I had thought he had a good first half last season.

  6. Gridlock said on 24th January 2012, 17:14

    He came up good against an experienced team mate (and of course we’re all biased because he’s english) so glad to see he’s not entirely gone, which is an achievement in itself when RBR has 5 seats tied up and there’s 6 WDCs in the running.

    And let’s be honest, if you were going to be a reserve driver theres worse places to be than LRGP

  7. Roald (@roald) said on 24th January 2012, 17:38

    Good news! I like D’Ambrosio, even though he’s Belgian (joking). He was probably the most likeable guy on the grid last year and I hope he gets to race again in the future. Would have saddened me to see him go without a real chance, because you could barely say driving a Marussia counts for a decent chance. Besides, he held his own against Glock, who is a pretty highly rated driver I guess.

    • Deurmat (@deurmat) said on 24th January 2012, 18:00

      @Roald But but but.. I’m Belgian :( (you must be Dutch?) Great to see Jeromeke still somewhat involved in F1! And like “I like the Pope” said good to have some more Nationalities involved as well.

      • Roald (@roald) said on 24th January 2012, 18:14

        Guessed that right! Naw, I’m more than not rooting for him BECAUSE he’s Belgian, not the other way around! I’d like to see him do good in the future.

        And yes, different nationalities are great for the sport, I’d say even better than having 10 different manufacturers. It’s much easier to get into a sport where someone of your nationality is competing in. Just look at what Jos Verstappen meant in the Netherlands, he was a superstar all along, no matter how badly he performed, whether it was his own fault or not.

        Imagine what a Turkish driver could have done for the Turkish Grand Prix…

        • Good for Jérôme, but Belgium unfortunately doesn’t give a **** about F1. Dutch people are much more fanatic, and get their companies involved more easily.

          I remember a lot of Belgians where rooting for Verstappen and later for Albers (although a bit less). Now it seems Giedo Van Der Garde is getting the HRT seat, the Netherlands will show Belgium how to support a sportsman in a world wide sport!

          Eventhough our little country has fantastic history in motorsports with Jacky Ickx and even Thierry Boutsen, it never gets to a frenzy. I bet d’Ambrosio could walk around on the streets of Brussels or Antwerp without being recognised…

          But on topic, great news for him. Although I don’t think he will get much running, I hope he takes this chance to get a drive later in the season, and doesn’t fade away!

  8. George (@george) said on 24th January 2012, 17:52

    I agree with the comments above, he did a very solid job last year (although it’s always difficult to judge with the slow teams), a good safe pair of hands to have on the bench.

  9. Klaas (@klaas) said on 24th January 2012, 18:47

    I kind of expected this, after all he has been Boullier’s protegee for some time, I just can’t understand what took Lotus so long to sign him. Hope he replaces Grosjean mid-season.

  10. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 24th January 2012, 18:59

    Saw this on Twitter about an hour ago, good news!

    I think he had a solid year at Virgin and I was impressed by him. He was certainly less accident prone than Di Grassi. He strikes me as a safe pair of hands, which is exactly what you need when you have to call up a reserve driver. De La Rosa did a great job for Sauber last year after Perez’s accident.

  11. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 25th January 2012, 1:47

    Not surprised, I think he deserve another chance.

  12. nackavich (@nackavich) said on 25th January 2012, 6:00

    For some reason my girlfriend has a bizarre crush on this guy, and staying up until 2 or 3am watching qualifying at some races would always result in grumpy curses from her until I tell her “your favourite guy is driving…”
    End grumpy curses.
    Still, I’d like to see him come back into a second driver role if Grojean doesn’t work out, or if he finds himself a seat in a solid midfield team next season.
    I just hope he doesn’t fade away like so many backmarkers.

  13. Hairs (@hairs) said on 26th January 2012, 12:57

    Eric Bouiller, CEO of Gravity Sport Management, Signs a Gravity Sport driver, at which the owner of his F1 Team, Genii Capital (owners of Gravity Sport management) express some delight. Falvio Briatore was unavailable for comment.

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