New boy improves by being a Glock watcher

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A BUNDLE of energy and enthusiasm, Jerome d’Ambrosio is ready for the step up to Formula One.

The 25-year-old will be one of four new drivers in the 2011 season, having replaced Lucas di Grassi in the second driver seat at Marussia Virgin Racing in December.

D’Ambrosio will become the first Belgian to compete in the sport for 17 years when the new season starts in Australia a week tomorrow.

“It is not going to be easy but F1 isn’t meant to be easy,” he said. “I have dreamt about this since I was a kid.”

It was in four practice outings at selected grands prix last season that d’Ambrosio caught the eye and impressed Marussia’s hierarchy.

D’Ambrosio, understood to be funding part of his race seat with the Dinnington-based team, previously spent four seasons competing in the GP2 Series following earlier stints in GP2 Asia, F3000 Euroseries and Formula Renault.

He is under no illusions at the size of the task facing him and admits he has a lot to learn from teammate Timo Glock.

“I get on great with Timo,” said d’Ambrosio. “He is the lead driver. He is more experienced and achieved podiums so it is great for me.

“He is someone I can learn from and I want to get as close to him as possible.”

D’Ambrosio pipped di Grassi, Nico Hulkenberg and Giedo van der Garde to the second seat at Marussia.

Of his new teammate, Glock said: “I get on well with Jerome. Our views are very similar in terms of the direction of the team, which makes it easier for engineers. He is a good guy, quick, and I think we can spur each other on.”