Virgin has completed its driver line-up for the 2011 F1 season with the news that Jerome D'Ambrosio will partner Timo Glock
The Belgian driver, who took part in Friday practice at four events during the latter stages of the 2010 season, will replace Lucas di Grassi
for his debut season in the sport, with his first official role with the team being the launch of the VR-02 in the New Year.
As well as confirming D'Ambrosio, Virgin has also confirmed Luiz Razia as test and reserve driver for 2011.
“Jerome had been on our radar for quite some time as a driver we should seriously consider for a 2011 race seat,” Virgin team principal John Booth said. “We had followed his progress in GP2 closely and it was clear he was 'one to watch', but 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 and Luiz 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.
“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.
“Finally, 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.”
D'Ambrosio meanwhile said he was thrilled to have made it all the way to F1 having spent the last four years competing in GP2.
“I'm thrilled to have achieved my goal of a Formula One race seat with Marussia Virgin Racing,” he said. “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 showed in me and everyone at Gravity Sport Management for the support they have given to my career so far.”