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DTM an option as d'Ambrosio chases F1 future?

7 January 2013


Jerome d'Ambrosio could join the queue of F1 refugees knocking on the door of the three biggest German manufacturers as the DTM offers respite for their frustrated dreams.

Jaime Alguersuari and Bruno Senna are already thought to be in the running for seats at BMW and Mercedes respectively should they not be able to land either of the seats remaining in F1, and d'Ambrosio could yet join them as his hopes of returning to a full-time role in the top flight continue to fade.

The Belgian spent one year as a member of Marussia Virgin's race line-up in 2011 before being ousted in favour of Charles Pic last season, transferring to Lotus, where he served as test and reserve driver, standing in for the suspended Romain Grosjean at Monza. That run led many to suggest that d'Ambrosio might make a useful replacement for the Frenchman in 2013, but Grosjean was eventually re-signed to partner Kimi Raikkonen for a second term.

While d'Ambrosio apparently has the option of remaining as number three at Enstone – thanks to his relationship with Gravity Sports Management and team boss Eric Boullier – he is keen to pursue all avenues before accepting that he will not be racing in 2013. However, with only two seats remaining unfilled, at Caterham and Force India respectively, the options already appear slim for a 27-year old without substantial financial backing. On top of that, Vitaly Petrov is hotly tipped to be returning to Caterham [ see separate story], while other drivers have been told that they are no longer being considered by Force India…..

"I continue to strive for Formula One because that's my thing," d'Ambrosio, who could face opposition from GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi for the Lotus role, admitted to Belgium's Le Vif, "My management is working hard on a deal for 2013, but it is difficult because so many experienced drivers have not yet signed. We'll see what happens."

With the likes of Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi among those already conceding that they have little option but to focus on returning to the top flight in 2014, d'Ambrosio faces having to find as much as €15m – and quickly – if he is mount a late assault on an F1 race seat. Boullier, however, is apparently keen for the Belgian to find a ride in another series to keep him in competition condition, leading to suggestions that he could wind up in the DTM in 2013.

While sportscars could provide an alternative to touring cars, d'Ambrosio was among the hopefuls getting a run with Mercedes' DTM squad at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in early December. The Three Pointed Star has at least one seat on offer following Jamie Green's defection to Audi, but it would appear that there are a few high-profile contenders to replace him…..


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