30 July 2011
No rush to talk deal with d'Ambrosio, admits Virgin
Marussia Virgin Racing admits that it is in no great hurry to talk to Jerome d'Ambrosio about 2012 and beyond.
Although it already has Timo Glock stashed away for the foreseeable future, Marussia Virgin Racing insists that it is in no rush to confirm a team-mate for the German veteran.
Rookie Jerome d'Ambrosio is the man current in possession of the second seat, but the team believes that the Belgian already has enough in his plate with his learning curve and claims that it will not burden him with unnecessary contract talk until the end of the year, despite having opened negotiations with his managers at Gravity Sport Management.
"d'Ambrosio has done a very good job," team president Graeme Lowdon told France's Autohebdo, "He has shown great maturity in the races, but it is clear that it is not easy for new drivers, so we can't really discuss his performance at the moment. We will wait until the end of the season to discuss his contract."
Re-signing d'Ambrosio may not be a straightforward matter, however, as the Belgian's position in the team has been called into question on more than one occasion this season, amid rumours that his backers had not produced on the agreement that saw him signed ahead of several other prominent candidates. Despite that, d'Ambrosio remains the only Belgian in F1, giving the Marussia Virgin team a unique 'in' to the country.
Lowdon, meanwhile, admitted that re-signing Glock at last weekend's German Grand Prix gave the team - which is currently in a state of transition after some major restructuring - an important momentum boost.
"We have always had a very strong team spirit, as I think most people know, but I think now we have got really a good technical direction and there was a vote of confidence from Timo [in Germany]," he told journalists at the Hungarian GP, "He has committed to the team now for a long term, and has seen from inside the steps we are making, so that was an important announcement for us."
Glock's decision to remain on board was the latest in a series of announcements from the small Dinnington-based team, following the news that it had dispensed with the design services of Nick Wirth and was planning to move into a new facility in Banbury to coincide with a technical tie-up with McLaren.
"We've known McLaren for a long time," Lowdon pointed out, "We've worked with them in the past in F3, with the Young Driver Programme, going right the way back to Lewis [Hamilton], so we know the people there really well and it's not been difficult at all to engage the project. It is quite a big project and it is one that obviously we are hoping will move the team forward in a short space of time so that project has already begun and it is going very well.
"Banbury is a site that we have been using for some time with our previous technical partner, so we are now building that facility up and obviously using some experience from both within the team and our partners to do that. We will still run the race team from Dinnington for the rest of this season. [but] it is exciting times for the team. [There are] a lot of steps moving forward and these aren't things you just make up overnight. They have been well thought through and well planned and there is a real air of excitement within the team."
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