“My ultimate goal has always been to race in Formula One and I am delighted to get a step closer,” said the Belgian driver. “I wish to thank Virgin Racing and Gravity Sport Management for their confidence. I won't disappoint them.
“This drive is a fantastic opportunity and I am looking forward to helping the team in every way I can, as well as gaining experience on four of the most demanding tracks of the F1 calendar. Looking at the 2011 season, this will be very useful. Also, I will be very proud to wear the Belgian colours on my helmet during these official practice sessions, as it means a lot to me.”
The 25 year-old is expected to run in car number 25 for the 90-minute opening session, alongside Timo Glock, before handing over the reins to Lucas di Grassi for the remainder of the race weekend. In addition, Virgin will run D’Ambrosio at the young driver test sessions taking place in Abu Dhabi after the season finale.
He has spent the last four seasons competing in the GP2 Series, which he joined after spells racing in GP2 Asia, International Formula Masters, the F3000 Euroseries and Formula Renault. Alongside his 2010 GP2 commitments he has also held the role of reserve and test driver for the Renault Formula One team.
“We are very pleased to welcome Jerome to Virgin Racing and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to drive the VR-01 during the first free practice session of the next four race weekends,” added Graeme Lowdon, CEO of Virgin Racing. “We have a contract with Timo Glock for another two years and an option on the services of Lucas di Grassi for next year.
“Both drivers have done an outstanding job for us in our debut season. We are always looking to progress new racing talent and the team out of which Virgin Racing was born has a long history of this. Jerome is a real racer and very deserving of this opportunity. We are looking forward to evaluating his performance with effect from next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.”
D’Ambrosio joins existing long-term reserve driver Luis Razia, who is to continue in his role supporting the Virgin team.