Ex-F1 driver joins Mercedes while Toto Wolff takes a leaf from Red Bull
Ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it has been confirmed that former F1 driver and former Formula E team principal Jerome d’Ambrosio has joined Mercedes as the new Director of Driver Development.
D’Ambrosio’s F1 career as a driver was short-lived as the Belgian had driven for Marussia in 2011.
Marussia was naturally a backmarker team as D’Ambrosio failed to score a point for the team.
His best results for the team came in Australia and Canada, where he finished 14th in both venues.
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Interestingly, he achieved his best result in Formula 1 in a one-off appearance for Lotus in 2012 after finishing 13th at the Italian Grand Prix.
D’Ambrosio replaced Romain Grosjean at Monza after the Frenchman was given a one-race suspension after causing a multi-car collision at the first corner of this year’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Since 2012, the Belgian has driven six seasons in Formula E, where he has achieved three victories.
Towards the end of 2021 he became team principal at Venturi before leaving the team at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
Since then, he has been spotted a few times in the Mercedes garage alongside team boss Toto Wolff; In the past, however, the Austrian has simply referred to D’Ambrosio’s presence as “here as a friend”.
“He was in Formula E and he was Venturi’s team boss and he finished second in the championship,” Wolff said during pre-season testing, as reported by Autosport.
“And he’s here as a friend, he’s watching. Maybe something in the future, but not yet.”
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It has now been confirmed that he has indeed joined Mercedes as the new head of driver development, with the Belgian tasked with looking after young drivers that the Germans have on the books.
It is a role similar to that of Dr. Helmut Marko at Red Bull, which means Mercedes may be hoping to take better care of its younger up-and-coming drivers.
Williams’ new team boss James Vowles had filled the role ahead of the Belgian’s appointment, meaning D’Ambrosio is likely to feature at several races this season.