Lotus stand-in Jerome d'Ambrosio admits that he cannot wait for the Italian Grand Prix weekend to get started, having been named as the replacement for the suspended Romain Grosjean.
Although, as team reserve, he was immediately tipped to step into the Frenchman's shoes alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Monza, there were rumours that Jaime Alguersuari, Adrian Sutil and Rubens Barrichello were chasing the drive, and d'Ambrosio had to wait until Tuesday afternoon to be confirmed. Now that his name is being added to the side of the cockpit of the #10 machine, however, the Belgian is keen to get on with things, particularly after missing out on a Friday morning practice run at Spa last weekend.
"I can't wait to be in the car!" he enthused, "I understand the circumstances in which the drive has come about but, for me, it's a great opportunity and great challenge. I first want to thank the team for having faith in me and allowing me to step in the car for this race at Monza. I will do everything I can to do the best possible job. I've worked hard outside the car this year and tried to prepare as best I can just in case something like this happened. I want to make the most of this weekend.
"As soon as I got the call on Sunday night, I drove back to Spa to speak with Ayao Komatsu, who will be my race engineer. We checked my seat and talked through everything I need to know. I will be spending time in the simulator, fine-tuning myself with all the procedures, and I'll be speaking a lot with the engineers so I'm as prepared as I can be heading into first practice on Friday.
"It's a massive challenge, especially because I've not driven much this year and Monza is a unique low downforce track, but I don't want to focus on what will be hard or difficult. I just want to focus on what I can achieve. It will be challenging, but I am already part of the team, I know everyone and I will have great support from them to do the best I can. I will be focused 100 per cent to make full use of free practice because that could be the key for me this weekend."
d'Ambrosio, who last raced an F1 car at the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix already knowing his tenure at Marussia Virgin would not be extended for this season, is shorter than either Grosjean or Raikkonen, but that is not expected to cause too many headaches for the Lotus team, which was quick to snap up the Gravity-managed prospect as its reserve for 2012.
"My focus is on the race," he insisted, "I had a complete season in F1 last year, and also I've been with the team this year, and this is a good thing because I know how an F1 weekend runs. I know it's really busy at a grand prix, but in a good way because it's a lot of work with engineers which I like.
"Monza is high speed and low downforce. Parabolica is a very important and a great corner, and Ascari is also not an easy corner, so there are some good challenges. It's a different track from most these days and there will be plenty to do. I'm looking forward to being there and looking over all the data, but most of all I'm looking forward to being there and driving."
The inaugural Formula Master champion has mixed memories of Monza, enjoying success on his way up the ladder, including a podium in GP2, but not so much when he reached the top flight in 2011.
"It wasn't too good as preparation [for this year] as my car broke down on the warm-up lap!" he recalled, "I'm definitely hoping for something better this year. My last real memory of Monza is from GP2, when I was on the podium, but I'm going to be 100% focused to get a good result this year and am really looking forward to being on the grid watching the start lights. It's also going to be a special event in general, because it is the last race in Europe and Monza always has a very special atmosphere. I'm really looking forward to it."