As expected, the Lotus F1 team has confirmed that its reserve driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio will stand in for Romain Grosjean at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix while the Frenchman serves out his one-race ban for causing the first-corner pile-up at the Belgian Grand Prix.
It will be the Belgian’s first Grand Prix race outing since he last raced at the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix with Virgin Racing – now Marussia F1 – before he was dropped by the team in favour of the better-funded Charles Pic, despite having had a largely impressive rookie season with the Sheffield team.
Since then, d’Ambrosio has served as the Lotus F1 team’s reserve driver, as well as taking on the role of co-commentator in SKY F1’s Friday practice coverage of the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekends, and the GP2 and GP3 support category championship rounds. He also co-commentates for the Belgian-language RTBF channel’s Grand Prix qualifying and race broadcasts.
Lotus F1 team boss Eric Boullier has set d’Ambrosio the target of claiming his first-ever F1 points finish, and possibly a podium, in his one-off outing for the team at Monza.
"Jérôme is well integrated into the team and he did a good job when he drove the E20 at the Mugello test. Now he has the challenge of a Grand Prix at the challenging circuit of Monza, in a car which is capable of finishing on the podium."
"I am grabbing this opportunity with both hands," d’Ambrosio added. "I can’t wait to take to the track on Friday.
"As thid driver I have worked with the team at every Grand Prix, attending all the briefings and meeting that the race drivers do, so I am well prepared in this respect.
"I am not underestimating the task ahead of me. I want to reward the faith that the team has placed in me with a good haul of points from the race. I hope that this one showing in Italy will allow me to show my capabilities fully."