Daily Archives: September 20, 2010

Jerome D’Ambrosio joins Virgin for Friday sessions

Jerome D'Ambrosio, also reserve driver for Renault, will now drive in FP sessions for Virgin

Jerome D'Ambrosio, also reserve driver for Renault, will now drive in FP sessions for Virgin

Virgin Racing have announced that they have signed Jerome D’Ambrosio as a test driver and as an “evaluation role” for 4 of the remaining 5 races this season. He will be replacing Lucas di Grassi in certain Friday Practice sessions for this season.

He will take part in these FP sessions in Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil, and the team will be continually assessing his performance. He will replace Lucas di Grassi for all of his racing time, alongside Timo Glock. At the moment, he is competing in the GP2 championship, and currently 10th.

It is also believed that he will take part in the 4-day test in Abu Dhabi after the season conclusion.

It is worth noting that while Timo Glock has 2 years left on his contract, Lucas di Grassi’s expires at the end of this year, although Virgin have the option to extend this. While D’Ambrosio may well just be being evaluated for a drive later on, the idea of him replacing Di Grassi next year can’t be ruled out.

At the moment, D’Ambrosio is part of the Gravity Sport Management, of which the CEO is Eric Boullier, team principal of the Renault team. Similarly, Jerome is a reserve driver for the Renault team, whose reserve drivers are all managed by Gravity Sports. Therefore we can’t rule out Renault using Virgin to try out the 25-year-old either.

Changes made to Singapore circuit

The Singapore Grand Prix circuit has seen several small changes to the track, ahead of its third race next weekend. These adjustments have been made primarily to improve safety and driver comfort.

The Singapore Grand Prix track has been revised for this year

The Singapore Grand Prix track has been revised for this year

One of the most famous facts about the Singapore track is its notorious bumps, which are severely demanding on the car’s suspension and the drivers. After complaints from many drivers, the track has been resurfaced in 2 places: Between Turns 3 and 7, and between Turns 14 and 19.

The Turn 10 chicane, otherwise known as the “Singapore Sling”, a series of tight left-right twists, which caught out Kimi Raikkonen in 2008, have been changed again, after the final turn of the corner was revised in 2009. This year, the kerbs have been reprofiled, to reduce the chance of the cars being speared into the barriers if they go over the corner too fast.

The pit lane has been lowered by 1 centimetre compared to last year, which should make it easier to rejoin the track. Nico Rosberg running wide of the white line last year showed the instability of the pit lane exit.

Also, the aesthetic image of the track will be improved by the track walls now being painted in bright colours, and run-off areas also changed to look better.

Overall, good changes, but I would be disappointed if the track turned out to be nearly as smooth as many of the other tracks on the calendar. The bumps (and sparks from the cars) are part of many of the spectacles of Singapore, and it would be a pity to see it go just because the drivers are uncomfortable.