Jerome D'Ambrosio will next year become the first Belgian driver to compete in Formula One since 1994 after signing for Virgin Racing today.
D'Ambrosio to drive with Virgin Racing next year
LONDON // Jerome D'Ambrosio will next year become the first Belgian driver to compete in Formula One since 1994 after signing for Virgin Racing today.
The British team said D'Ambrosio will take the second seat and partner their lead driver Timo Glock for the 2011 season, Virgin's second in F1.
The last driver from Belgian to appear in F1 was Philippe Adams, who started two grand prix races with Lotus.
D'Ambrosio, who impressed Virgin bosses in practice ahead of four grand prix at the end of the past season, will replace Brazil's Lucas Di Grassi.
"There was a lot of competition for this seat but at the same time I got on well with the team and felt that I had found my home," D'Ambrosio, 24, said.
"I feel very comfortable with them - they are extremely professional and ambitious people and it is exciting to think that I can be a part of shaping the team's future."
D'Ambrosio spent the last four seasons competing in the GP2 Series after spells in GP2 Asia, International Formula Master, the F3000 Euroseries and Formula Renault.
"Jerome had been on our radar for quite some time," said the Virgin team principal John Booth. "Apart from his obvious skill at the wheel of a Formula One car, he is an immensely personable young guy who is a pleasure to have around.
"He has secured this seat absolutely on merit and I think coupled with Timo and Luiz [Razia, the test and reserve driver] we have the perfect blend of youth, experience, speed and potential and we can't wait to see what they can achieve together next season."
Neither Glock nor Di Grassi, who is without a team for next season, won a point in Virgin's debut year in F1.