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D'Ambrosio confirms he is paying for drive

ESPNF1 Staff
December 23, 2010 « Rome GP confident of 2013 introduction | »
Jerome d'Ambrosio will pay to drive for Virgin in 2011 © Getty Images

Jerome d'Ambrosio has confirmed he is paying for his drive at Virgin in 2011, after being confirmed as Timo Glock's new team-mate on Tuesday.

On announcing d'Ambrosio as a driver, team principal John Booth insisted he had been selected "absolutely on merit". But a few weeks ago, reports said the Virgin cockpit was up for grabs for €5 million, and at the end of October d'Ambrosio's management - Gravity Sports which is owned by Renault's majority shareholder Genii Capital - said it had pulled together "95% of the package" required.

"Of course there is talent, but also a commercial aspect," d'Ambrosio confirmed this week to RTL Belgium. "There are people, partners who are working with me in Belgium, as well as Gravity, who are always working with me, with Eric Boullier.

"We managed to put together the package we needed to be able to sign."

He said he sees his 2011 debut with Virgin as the first step in a long career in F1.

"I jumped like a kangaroo!" joked d'Ambrosio. "It's exceptional, extraordinary, but not an end in itself, because you have to have new goals now -- and it is to stay for as long as possible. At the moment we have a great outcome. Since I was little, I have dreamed of being in F1, and since 16, it has been my goal."

As for his approach to 2011, the Belgian explained: "The most important thing is to focus on myself, learning something each time I go onto the track. I am fortunate to have Timo Glock beside me, who has had some podiums in grands prix. This will be a valuable experience for me."