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D'Ambrosio for Lotus at Monza

2012-09-05 08:13

JEROME D'AMBOSIO: He'lll be driving in place of Romain Grosjean for Lotus at the 2012 Monza F1 GP.at Monza

Alan Baldwin

Jerome d'Ambrosio could become the first Belgian to score a point in Formula 1 in 20 years when he replaces the suspended Romain Grosjean at Lotus for Sunday's 2012 Italian F1 GP.

Frenchman Grosjean was banned for one race after causing a pile-up and smashing into championship leader Fernando Alonso's Ferrari at the first corner of the 2012 Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps.

D'Ambrosio, of Italian extraction and who drove for Virgin (now Marussia) in 2011 without scoring a point, is the team's official reserve and will partner 2007 World champion Kimi Raikkonen at Monza, Lotus said.


"My desire for 2012 has always been to get back into the seat of an F1 car, so I am grabbing this opportunity with both hands," D'Ambrosio said. "I want to reward the faith the team has in me with a good haul of points."

The most recent Belgian to finish in the points was Thierry Boutsen, who finished fifth for Ligier at the 1992 Australian GP in Adelaide. There are no Belgian or Italian drivers in the 2012 championship.

Lotus has quick and reliable cars and is ahead of Ferrari, which can count on most of the support at Monza, in third place in the Constructors' standings.

Raikkonen is a title contender, despite not winning in this his comeback season after driving in the World Rally circus, with four podium finishes in his last five starts and six this season in total. Grosjean has also had three top three placings.


Monza, the quickest circuit on the calendar and Ferrari's backyard, is the last race of the season in Europe and D'Ambrosio recognised it would be a "massive" challenge.

Last year his car broke down on the warm-up lap and he has not raced on the circuit since he was in the GP2 support series, when he finished on the podium.

Team principal Eric Boullier said D'Ambrosio deserved his chance. "The car he'll drive should be able to fight for the podium but he won't have much track time to get ready. That's a challenge but I'm sure he can surprise a few people."


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