Jérôme D’Ambrosio has joined the team as third driver for the 2012 Formula 1 World championship season. Jérôme, who competed last year as a race driver for Marussia Virgin Racing, will attend all races in 2012, working with the race driver pairing of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean. The 26 year-old Belgian will participate in driver debrief sessions and be ready to stand-in for either of the two race drivers if required.
How does it feel to join the team?
It’s a great feeling to be joining Lotus F1 Team and 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 to the team.
What do you think of Enstone?
I have known the team for a number of years and I am familiar with Enstone. It’s a great facility and another world in size and amount of people; it’s bigger and has so much potential and will give me so much opportunity to learn and develop as a race driver.
There’s a new ‘Driver in the loop’ simulator being built – will you be using this?
The new simulator will make up a big part of my contribution to the team during the season and it will also keep me sharp; I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait to start working with it. I can contribute highly to the team in this area. It’s going to be a really intense programme once we’re operational in that area – it’s not just one session a week, it’s full on. It’s a really good tool for pushing development of the car and of myself as a driver so I am looking forward to doing a good job here.
As a driver who contested last season’s championship what can you bring to the team?
I had a great season in Formula 1 and it was a fantastic opportunity but now I’m looking to develop. I can bring a lot more to the team with my race experience than someone who doesn’t have any recent race knowledge.
When you’re first in Formula 1, everything is so new and so big. It’s difficult to know where your focus should be, and how you should work, but this improves as your experience comes together. I know the tyres, I know the different compounds, I have experience of the circuits and car set-up so I can contribute to the discussions with engineers and race drivers.
I am very motivated to help the two race drivers and the team in any way I can, and of course I am always ready to get into the car if the opportunity ever arises. Having contested the 2011 season I’m race fit and raring to go.
What do you think of your team- mates, Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean?
I’ve never met Kimi so I’m looking forward to meeting him. He’s a legend in Formula 1. I’m looking forward to watching him work with the engineers and understanding how a world champion goes about his work.
I know Romain pretty well as we’ve raced together and been team- mates, we’re the same generation of drivers, and we work well together.