MARUSSIA Virgin Racing president Graeme Lowdon believes the Dinnington-based team have unearthed a gem in Jerome d’Ambrosio.
Young Belgian driver d’Ambrosio, who replaced Lucas di Grassi in the second race seat at Virgin in December, came in 14th position on debut at the Australian Grand Prix.
He seemed destined to make it back-to-back race finishes in Malaysia but his race was cut short with 12 laps remaining when he hit the kerb hard in turn nine, causing the powers switch to toggle off and the car stopped out on the circuit.
But despite that setback, D’Ambrosio brought his Virgin car home safely in China last weekend, finishing in 20th position, one place above teammate Timo Glock.
Lowdon told The Star: “I have been so impressed with the maturity Jerome has shown and he has gone about his job in exactly the way we wanted him too.
“He is obviously an experienced driver in the junior form but Formula One is completely different and is a big step up.
“We have got a bit of a find in him. He has proven to be an excellent addition to the team. He is only going to get better the more experience he gains.”
Lowdon added: “Jerome is a smart guy and he understands that he has a lot to learn at this level.
“Timo (Glock) has competed in 50 to 60 races so he is keen to learn off him. There is a good atmosphere in the camp and Jerome is doing great.”
Running a two-stop strategy in Shanghai, d’Ambrosio said he was pleased with his race.
“It’s my second finish so I’m happy about that,” said d’Ambrosio.
“I think I made progress throughout the whole weekend and my race pace was much better than in the previous two races.”