Former F1 and Formula E Driver D’Ambrosio Considered for Management Role at Mercedes
Jerome d’Ambrosio, a former Formula 1 and Formula E driver, could be offered a position at the Mercedes Formula 1 team following his participation in pre-season testing and observations from within the team.
According to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, Jerome d’Ambrosio is present at the Bahrain pre-season test as a “friend” of the team. However, Wolff suggested that there may be a more permanent plan in place for d’Ambrosio, who has previous team management experience in Formula E.
In an interview with F1 TV, Toto Wolff mentioned that Jerome d’Ambrosio had served as the team principal of Venturi in Formula E, a team that finished second in the championship.
Toto Wolff stated that d’Ambrosio is currently present at the pre-season testing in Bahrain as an observer and friend of the team, and that there may be a possibility of a future role for him. If d’Ambrosio were to join Mercedes, it could potentially involve taking over some of the responsibilities previously handled by the team’s former strategy chief, James Vowles.
Mercedes has lost a key member of their team, James Vowles, who departed to become the team principal at Williams over the winter. Vowles was involved in various aspects of the team’s operations, including their work with young drivers.
Jerome d’Ambrosio has a relationship with Mercedes due to his previous team management roles, including with Venturi, a former Formula E customer of Mercedes. During his time at Venturi, he worked with Susie Wolff, who is the wife of Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff.
D’Ambrosio’s experience as both a driver and team executive would make him a suitable candidate for a potential role at Mercedes.
Jerome d’Ambrosio has a diverse motorsport background, having competed in Formula 1 for Marussia in 2011 and made a single start for Lotus in 2012. He then briefly transitioned to GT racing before becoming a part of the Formula E grid since its inception in 2014.
D’Ambrosio had a successful stint in Formula E, winning three races across six seasons in the championship. He then shifted into an off-track role with Venturi, serving as deputy to team principal Susie Wolff. After Wolff was appointed CEO, d’Ambrosio took over as team principal for one season before both of them departed the team when it turned into the factory Maserati program ahead of the 2023 season.
Jerome d’Ambrosio’s stint as an F1 driver was relatively short-lived. He competed in a full season with Virgin Racing in 2011 and made a one-off appearance for Lotus in the 2012 Italian Grand Prix, filling in for the banned Romain Grosjean.
D’Ambrosio’s F1 Career was More Impressive Than Perceived
In the Italian Grand Prix, d’Ambrosio lost KERS after six laps, which hindered his performance, but he still managed to finish 13th, his best result in F1. However, the fact that a non-points finish was his career high was largely due to the limitations of the 2011 Virgin car, rather than d’Ambrosio’s abilities. The team struggled throughout the season and made the decision to part ways with technical director Nick Wirth early on, diverting their focus to the development of their 2012 car.
The 2011 Virgin car was challenging to drive and struggled with the high-degradation Pirelli tires, which made it difficult for a rookie driver like d’Ambrosio to showcase his abilities.
Despite the tough circumstances, d’Ambrosio had a few standout moments during the season. He outqualified his experienced and quick teammate Timo Glock on a couple of occasions in China and Turkey, but had a setback when he crashed during Friday practice at the Canadian Grand Prix, damaging the car’s chassis.
However, he rebounded from the crash and had a series of strong performances later in the season. This included a superb qualifying lap in Japan where he outqualified Glock, as well as an impressive race drive in Singapore.
Unfortunately, despite his strong performances, d’Ambrosio was unable to finish higher than 14th in his debut season in F1. He had difficult weekends in India and Abu Dhabi before ending the season on a high note in Brazil, where he outqualified and outraced Glock.
Virgin ultimately decided to replace d’Ambrosio with Charles Pic for the following season. However, during his one full season in F1, d’Ambrosio impressed with his professionalism and intelligent approach, even if he didn’t exhibit the exceptional speed needed to ensure a long-term career in F1.
The fact that he was held in high regard is evident by the fact that he served as a Renault/Lotus reserve driver in 2010 and 2012-2013 outside of his Virgin season, before eventually focusing his attention on Formula E.
D’Ambrosio’s Performance in Team Management
Jerome d’Ambrosio’s role at Venturi evolved over time, from serving as the deputy team principal to Susie Wolff to becoming her successor as team principal in 2022.
After retiring as a driver in the fall of 2020, d’Ambrosio joined Venturi and played a pivotal role in the team’s second-ever win at the Puebla E-Prix in June 2021. Wolff was unable to attend the event as she had been in close contact with a COVID-positive individual, making d’Ambrosio directly responsible for the team’s success.
Jerome d’Ambrosio played an important role in integrating the Mercedes elements of the Venturi program, and was also successful in recruiting Lucas di Grassi when it became clear that Audi would be leaving the championship in the summer of 2021.
One of the most notable memories of d’Ambrosio’s time at Venturi is his adept handling of a tense situation between drivers Lucas di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara at the team’s home race in Monaco last year. Despite the issue, d’Ambrosio managed to keep the situation under control and maintain a united front for the team externally.
During the Monaco E-Prix in 2021, there was a clash between Venturi drivers Lucas di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara, and Mortara referred to his teammate as “the Butcher of Formula E” in an interview with F1Lead. In response, d’Ambrosio remained composed and ensured that the fallout from the incident was contained within the team.
After the incident, di Grassi’s performance improved and Mortara was briefly in contention for the championship in a four-way battle with Stoffel Vandoorne, Mitch Evans, and Jean-Eric Vergne.
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