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D’Ambrosio replaces di Grassi At Virgin

The Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One team have announced that Jerome D’Ambrosio will be Timo Glock's team mate in 2011. The former GP2 driver impressed the team after successfully completing an evaluation role with Virgin at four of the final five F1 races of 2010, which saw him take part in the Free Practice 1 sessions of the Singapore, Japanese, Korean and Brazilian Grands Prix. Further to this, D’Ambrosio also conducted a half day programme at the wheel of the VR-01 race car during the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test following the 2010 F1 season finale. Marussia Virgin Racing Team Principal, John Booth, commented about the 25 year old, Belgian, saying: “Jerome had been on our radar for quite some time as a driver we should seriously consider for a 2011 race seat. We had followed his progress in GP2 closely and it was clear he was ‘one to watch’" Adding, "when we put him in the car for the four race weekends and the Abu Dhabi test he surpassed even our own expectations. He slotted into the team perfectly and everyone took a shine to him, including our partners and the media. Apart from his obvious skill at the wheel of a Formula One car, he is an immensely personable young guy who is a pleasure to have around. He has secured this seat absolutely on merit and I think coupled with Timo we have the perfect blend of youth, experience, speed and potential and we can’t wait to see what they can achieve together next season. D’Ambrosio who has raced for the last four seasons in the GP2 Series, also held the role of Reserve and Test Driver for the Renault F1 Team for the 2010 season. Jerome’s first official duties for Marussia Virgin Racing will commence early next year with the launch of the VR-02. He will then commence pre-season testing alongside his 28 year old German team-mate Timo Glock in Valencia in February. Speaking about his new drive, Jerome D’Ambrosio, commented: “I’m thrilled to have achieved my goal of a Formula One race seat with Marussia Virgin Racing. When I came to the team in September this year it was everything I could hope for. I had a tough test to complete because there was a lot of competition for this seat, but at the same time I got on well with the team and felt that I had found my home. I feel very comfortable with them - they are extremely professional and ambitious people and it is exciting to think that I can be a part of shaping the team’s future. I would like to thank everyone at Marussia Virgin Racing for the faith they have shown in me and everyone at Gravity Sport Management for the support they have given to my career so far.” D’Ambrosio team mate for 2011, Timo Glock added: “My congratulations to Jerome on joining the team and I look forward to working with him next year. After a tough but rewarding debut season for our team we now have a lot of hard work to do to take Marussia Virgin Racing to the level we should be performing at in 2011. I for one cannot wait to get started in the new car when testing begins in February.” Marussia Virgin Racing Team Principal, John Booth also spoke positively about Timo Glock's work with the team over the last year: “Timo has done an excellent job for us in our debut season, in often challenging circumstances. There is no doubt that he has helped us to establish a strong foundation from which to develop the team and the package. We look forward to being in a much stronger position to deliver the car he deserves in 2011." However, with the news that D’Ambrosio will drive alongside Glock in 2011, means that Lucas di Grassi, is now without a drive for 2011. John Booth also thanked the young Brazilian driver saying: “I must thank Lucas di Grassi for the important role that he also played in establishing the team. He contributed a great deal to our development and we wish him every success in his future career, which we have no doubt will be an exciting one.”

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