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D’Ambrosio admits: Funds clinched Virgin drive

Jerome D'Ambrosio says a commercial deal helped him secure a drive with Virgin for the 2011 F1 season
Jerome D'Ambrosio has admitted that a financial package played a key role in him securing his drive with Virgin for the 2011 F1 season.

D'Ambrosio was announced as team-mate to Timo Glock last month and will make his race debut this year having taken part in a number of Friday practice sessions with the team towards the end of 2010.

Virgin's press release announcing D'Ambrosio's signing had said the Belgian driver had earned his seat 'on merit', although the GP2 graduate has now revealed that he was able to take a commercial package to the Manor-run team in order to secure his drive.

"Of course there is talent, but also a commercial aspect," he told RTL Belgium. "There are people, partners who are working with me in Belgium, as well as Gravity, who are always working with me, with Eric Boullier.

"We managed to put together the package we needed to be able to sign."

Bosses at Spa had suggested that D'Ambrosio's graduation to F1 could be a boost for the Belgian GP although race promoter Andre Maes said he wasn't convinced that the 24-year-old is the right man to attract fans to the event.

"I do not know about his popularity," he told La Libre. "He remained relatively unknown in GP2 - he is not a star. I am convinced that nine tenths of the viewers on RTBF don't know the sound of his voice.

"It can only be positive, but will it boost ticket sales? I don't know. Did the presence of Philippe Adams or Bas Leinders cause many more Belgians to come?

"The impact will depend on how he goes during the first races."



Related Pictures

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Jerome d`Ambrosio - Virgin Racing   [pic credit: Virgin Racing]
Jerome d`Ambrosio - Virgin Racing   [pic credit: Virgin Racing]
Jerome d`Ambrosio - Virgin Racing   [pic credit: Virgin Racing]
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