Jerome going nowhere, says defiant Virgin chief

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MARUSSIA Virgin Racing team principal John Booth has scotched rumours Jerome d’Ambrosio is poised to lose his Formula One race seat to Robert Wickens.

Question marks have been raised over d’Ambrosio’s future following revelations his sponsors have failed to fulfil the conditions of his Virgin contract.

The Belgian racer, who has finished in four out of the opening five races, was snapped up by the Dinnington-based team due to the significant financial clout he would bring to the backmarkers.

But, with d’Ambrosio’s sponsors falling short of their promised backing, speculation has mounted Virgin were considering ditching the youngster and hiring another rookie in Wickens.

Canadian ace Wickens, aged 22, drives in the Formula Renault 3.5 series and is sponsored in the championship by Virgin’s Russian sponsor and shareholder Marussia.

Of d’Ambrosio’s situation, Booth told The Star: “Everything is fine with him.

“You can never say never because you can end up looking a fool, but, as things stand now, I can’t envisage anything changing with Jerome until the end of the season.”

Booth has said d’Ambrosio is “one to watch for the future” and stressed he wants to retain his services, providing his sponsors do eventually stump up the cash.

He also played down the prospect of promoting Wickens, saying: “He is in our young driver stable but we certainly don’t plan on putting him in a F1 car yet.

“Robert is concentrating on his Renault series. He is doing a good job in that. We will then take it from there.”

Booth has turned his attentions to the Monaco Grand Prix this Sunday. He wants another two car finish at the street circuit.

He said: “This race always requires an extra level of preparation which, coming as it does just a week after the Spanish Grand Prix, makes it a tough logistical challenge. You never know what you might get caught up in at this circuit and track time for the drivers is absolutely crucial; a missed session can result in heavy penalties for them in terms of honing their car for the race.”