A disappointed Lucas di Grassi will be forced to sit on the sidelines for the remaining opening practice sessions of the season, as Virgin Racing gives the well-funded GP2 veteran Jerome d’Ambrosio (pictured) a stint behind the wheel of the Cosworth-Jerome d'Ambrosiopowered VR-01.

With this weekend’s race in Singapore presenting the young Brazilian with his first opportunity to sample the Marina Bay circuit, he could do with all the time available at the wheel, and has expressed these exact sentiments to his native Agencia Estado news agency.

“This is my first time in Singapore. It’s a pity I am missing the first session as the circuit is one of the most difficult in the entire calendar,” he said.

“It’s going to affect my adaptation to the track conditions and also the balance of the car,” he added. “But I will do everything I can to make up for the lost time in the second practice.

“As a competitor, it’s a frustrating situation, but it’s a challenge that will not stop me from trying to do my best throughout the weekend.”

Rumours have been swirling the di Grassi’s future with the Manor Motorsport-run squad next year could come under threat if d’Ambrosio can raise €5M in sponsorship backing.

Di Grassi has endured a rather anonymous debut season in the backmarker Virgin Racing squad, after showing an impressive turn of speed in his GP2 days.

“It was a team decision based on a financial issue and I must respect it,” mused di Grassi.

D’Ambrosio was snapped having his seat-fitting in the VR-01 on Thursday in the team garages.

[Original image via LAT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.