Italian GP: Lotus update – D’Ambrosio to replace Grosjean at Monza
By Berthold Bouman
Belgian driver Jerome d’Ambrosio will replace the suspended Romain Grosjean for Lotus this weekend at Monza. According to Team Principal Eric Boullier, Grosjean will nevertheless attend the Italian Grand Prix despite his one-race ban. Boullier had nothing new to say about the weekend at Spa and Grosjean’s suspension.
“We’ve accepted the decision of the Stewards, we did not appeal, and Romain apologised to the drivers involved in the incident. We now need to move on,” said the Frenchman. He also said the choice to let d’Ambrosio race was an obvious choice, “He’s our third driver and he’s able to step in straight away. This is why we’ve chosen him last winter. Jérôme deserves this opportunity. That’s his big chance to impress.”
Asked about what advice he will give the Belgian driver Boullier said, “I’ll tell him to take things one step at a time over the race weekend. The worst thing to do would be to try and match Kimi’s pace straight from FP1. Jérôme will do his homework from Friday to Saturday, with the engineers he knows, according to a tailor-made programme.
“I’m not worried. He knows our processes, our set-up philosophy, and he also knows Monza like the back of his hand. It won’t be an easy weekend for us, but I’m not too worried.”
D’Ambrosio himself thanked Lotus for the opportunity, “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.”
Asked about the challenges this opportunity poses the 26-year old driver commented, “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.”
Like many drivers, he is a fan of the historic Monza track, one of the fastest of the season. “Monza is high-speed and low downforce. Parabolica is a very important and a great corner. Ascari is also not an easy corner. 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!”