Word on the street is that Jérôme d’Ambrosio’s sponsors haven’t paid up and that the Virgin Racing team is set to dump the Belgian and replace him with Canadian driver Robert Wickens.
Belgium’s Het Laatste Nieuws have claimed that Wickens, 22, could make the leap from his current post in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, where he is sponsored by Marussia, the sports car manufacturer and part-owner of the Virgin Racing outfit.
The situation has become so severe – his backers owe some €4 million, according to the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper – that Renault team principal Eric Boullier, who is also the boss of d’Amrosio’s management group, Gravity, is travelling to Belgium tomorrow for crisis meetings with his backers.
“This cannot go on,” Boullier is quoted as saying. “Anything said about Jérôme’s so-called sponsors doing what they promised is not true.
“People need to understand that when you make a commitment, you must keep your word. Everything is stuck.
“I have spoken to the folks at Virgin and they are starting to be impatient. They have said clearly that if there is no change, they will think about replacing Jérôme,” he warned.
Boullier confirmed that Gravity had stumped up some cash to cover the current shortfall in payments, but warned that d’Ambrosio’s sponsors must pay up or else.
“Some people make a real science out of making excuses,” he continued. “There are holidays, the banks are closed, you name it. But there comes a time when the nonsense must stop.
“Jérôme’s good performances and our personal relationships come in handy in this situation, but it cannot continue forever on that.”
Wickens has recently been linked with a promotion to the role of Virgin Racing’s test and reserve driver.
[Original image via Flickr]
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