Jerome D’Ambrosio, who was dropped by Virgin Racing (the team now under the guise of Marussia) at the end of last season, has resurfaced at Lotus (the team formerly known as Renault) as their third driver.
The Belgian was replaced at Marussia by French rookie Charles Pic almost immediately after the Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of 2011, having just completed his first season in Formula 1.
The 26-year-old will travel to each race next season, and work with race drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, and will be stepping into the car if either of this duo cannot race for any reason.
“It’s a great feeling to be joining Lotus F1 Team,” said D’Ambrosio. “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.”
Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier explained why they had picked the Belgian. “To have a third driver who is highly motivated, fresh and talented and who contested the full 2011 season is highly beneficial for us. 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. He also showed strongly in his rookie season as an F1 race driver. I am looking forward to working with Jerome again and think he is a perfect addition to our driving strength.”