D'Ambrosio hopeful of Virgin race seat
|By Edd Straw and Matt Beer||Thursday, November 18th 2010, 17:10 GMT|
Virgin Formula 1 aspirant Jerome D'Ambrosio hopes he has now done enough to prove to his potential 2011 employer that he is worthy of a race seat next year after his performances in both Friday practice and the rookie tests.
GP2 frontrunner D'Ambrosio drove for Virgin in Friday practice in Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil, and again in Tuesday's rookie test, and then switched to Renault for Wednesday.
The latter outing was a reward for being the most impressive of Renault's junior drivers during the 2010 season, which saw D'Ambrosio take his maiden GP2 win, although he was only 12th in the championship and was briefly dropped by his DAMS team in favour of Romain Grosjean.
With D'Ambrosio believed to be vying for the Virgin seat with incumbent Lucas di Grassi and GP2 rival Giedo van der Garde, who AUTOSPORT understands could bring substantial sponsorship funding, the Belgian says he hopes that his performances in the car for Virgin have spoken for themselves.
"There are many things going on, but what is important for me is to do the job in the car," he said. "After that, time will tell."
He was second-fastest with Renault in the Wednesday test, but was not sure how significant a factor that would be in his chances of getting on the grid with Virgin next year.
"I don't know about the end result, time and everything," D'Ambrosio said. "It's good to be in that position because the times were pretty good, but the most important thing for me was to satisfy the team to see how I worked, the speed and everything.
"They were pretty happy, so that's good. Hopefully I'll be able to transform this into a race seat in 2011."
D'Ambrosio said it would be unfair to compare the Virgin and Renault cars, but felt that his grounding with Virgin had helped him impress when he got his hands on the much faster Renault.
"It's not fair to compare the two cars and the two teams. The only thing that I can say is that it was a great day today [with Renault]," he said.
"I learned that Virgin taught me a lot of things over the Fridays and yesterday and it contributed to the fact that today went pretty well as well.
"In terms of car performance, you cannot compare it. You cannot compare Renault, who have years and years of F1 and Virgin, which is a rookie team. They have done massively well compared to the other rookies and I've enjoyed being with them. Today was something exceptional as well. Renault is a top team and driving the car was fantastic."