Boullier: No Friday outings for d’Ambrosio

Eric Boullier has admitted it is unlikely Jerome d’Ambrosio will make another appearance on the grand prix asphalt in 2012.

Lotus’ Boullier-managed Belgian reserve driver replaced Romain Grosjean at Monza recently, while the team’s French regular served his one-race ban.

D’Ambrosio is the team’s official reserve driver, who at the start of the 2012 season was slated to make some Friday morning practice appearances in the black Lotus.

But the E20 was ultimately so impressive that Kimi Raikkonen is now charging for the title, and Grosjean race wins.

It’s for that reason that team boss Boullier has sidelined d’Ambrosio for now, even though he insists the 26-year-old performed impressively at Monza.

“Jerome lost KERS at the start of the race and around Monza that is a big, big loss. In lap time it is nearly a second,” Boullier is quoted by the Telegraph.

“He did a very nice job. I was very satisfied.”

So does that mean the former Virgin driver might be given another chance to drive the 2012 Lotus, perhaps during a Friday morning practice session?

“I don’t think it’s under consideration,” Boullier answered.

“If we can afford to do it, we will do it, but with the championship being so close we want to fight and use any resources or means we can to give us all the chances to do well.”

D’Ambrosio to race for Lotus at Italian GP

Belgian Jerome d’Ambrosio will contest this weekend’s Italian grand prix in the place of Romain Grosjean.

There was speculation Lotus might overlook its official reserve driver for the Monza seat, after team regular Grosjean was given a one-race ban by the FIA for causing the spectacular first-lap crash at Spa last Sunday. Rubens Barrichello, Jaime Alguersuari and Adrian Sutil were speculatively linked with the one-off cockpit, but it now emerges that 2011 Virgin driver d’Ambrosio, 26, will race the competitive black and gold E20.

“We know that Jerome is well integrated into the team and that he did a good job when he drove the E20 at the Mugello test,” said team boss Eric Boullier. “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.”

D’Ambrosio said: “I will hand the wheel back to Romain after Sunday’s race and I hope that this one showing in Italy will allow me to show my capabilities fully.”

D’Ambrosio set to race for Lotus at Italian GP

Jerome D’Ambrosio looks set to race for Lotus at next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after race stewards handed Romain Grosjean a one-race ban.

Although the team have yet to confirm who will contest the Italian Grand Prix alongside Kimi Raikkonen, Eric Boullier has said it is very likely that d’Ambrosio will race.

When asked about the d’Ambrosio’s chances of competing in Monza, Boullier replied: “Very high. There are many drivers around who are looking for a drive. We will consider first Jerome, who is our third driver. He has most of the chance to drive the car.

“But I need to sit down with him. I need to do a couple of things and then we will see.”

No Friday outing for Lotus’ d’Ambrosio at Spa

He may be Lotus’ Belgian reserve driver, but Jerome d’Ambrosio has revealed he will not be driving the black and E20 in front of his home crowd next weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

According to Belga news agency, the former Virgin driver said earlier this season that he expected to get the opportunity to drive the Lotus during some Friday morning practice sessions at grands prix in 2012. But d’Ambrosio, 26, said it will not be happening at Spa.

“This is the result of a joint decision,” he is quoted by the Flemish newspaper De Morgen. “It certainly has not been imposed on me. If I was the director of the team, I would have made the same decision,” said d’Ambrosio. “Lotus is currently third in the constructors’ championship, after Red Bull and McLaren,” he explained. “We are only one point from McLaren and at the moment ahead of Ferrari.

“So of course this changes everything. Now, every minute and every detail counts. Right now I am involved in important behind-the-scenes work at the factory.”

D’Ambrosio said it is not clear if he will get the opportunity to drive the E20 in Friday practice at another grand prix this year.

“We are looking at everything race by race,” he said. “At the end of the season my contract is up and I have several (possible) avenues. For sure my credibility has only increased due to my work as third driver.”


D’Ambrosio latest name to be linked with Massa’s race seat

Rumours surrounding the future of Felipe Massa continue with Jerome d’Ambrosio being the latest driver linked to the Ferrari driver’s race seat.

Many in the paddock believe that either Mark Webber or Sergio Perez are more likely to be a long term solution for Ferrari, however some believe that the scarlet-clad team may be looking for a short-term solution – and d’Ambrosio may be the answer.

The French sports daily L’Equipe named d’Ambrosio, the Belgian driver who lost his Virgin/Marussia seat at the end of last season. He is managed by Eric Boullier, and now Lotus’ reserve driver.

Other F1 drivers who have also been linked to Massa’s seat include Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi.

However to L’Equipe states that d’Ambrosio “has the advantage of being immediately available, giving Ferrari time to find a more permanent solution” for 2013.


D’Ambrosio could drive 2012 Friday sessions

Jerome d’Ambrosio has revealed he could drive one of the Lotus cars during Friday morning practice sessions at some point in 2012. The former Virgin driver, who is managed by Lotus boss Eric Boullier’s Gravity company, was appointed as the team’s third and reserve driver for this year. But, until now, it was not known if the role would involve Friday morning practice duties.

Asked by the La Libre newspaper when he will be seen on the grid once again, Belgian d’Ambrosio answered: “I hope in 2013.”

He will get his 2013 campaign up and running on Tuesday, when he gets the chance to drive Lotus’ current E20 for the first time at the Mugello test. The 26-year-old said on Monday: “I will try to show what I can do every time I have the opportunity, not only tomorrow but also during the Friday morning tests that I can participate in.”

D’Ambrosio admitted he would rather be racing this year, but insists that his role at Lotus is a good stepping stone.

“I’m not complaining,” he said. “I remain convinced that my decision to become a reserve driver with a big team was the best thing for me.”

And he insisted he is not jealous of the similarly-aged Romain Grosjean, who took the E20 to the podium in Bahrain recently.

“Honestly not,” said d’Ambrosio. “I would be a fool to think that if Romain had crashed twice more I would replace him in Barcelona. Instead, what Grosjean has done confirms that young guys can be trusted. I am glad to see him succeed.

“I don’t come to grands prix hoping one of my teammates is hurt. I’m here to learn, not to laugh.”

He thinks Lotus could win a race in 2012.

“It’s possible, yes,” said d’Ambrosio. “The E20 works well when it’s hot, degrading the tyres not too much. In Bahrain, we had the best car in the race. We cannot afford to miss opportunities.”