Ex-F1 driver joins Mercedes as Toto Wolff takes a leaf out of Red Bull’s book

Jerome d'Ambrosio's best F1 result was 13th at the 2012 Italian Grand Prix.

It has been confirmed ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that ex-F1 driver and former Formula E team principal Jerome d’Ambrosio has joined Mercedes, as their new driver development director.

D’Ambrosio’s F1 career was short-lived as a driver, with the Belgian having raced for Marussia in 2011.

Marussia were, of course, a backmarker team, with D’Ambrosio having failed to score a point for the side.

His best results for the team came in Australia and in Canada, where he finished in 14th at both venues.

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Interestingly, his best result in F1 actually came in a one-off appearance for Lotus in 2012, after he finished 13th at the Italian Grand Prix.

D’Ambrosio replaced Romain Grosjean in Monza after the Frenchman received a one-race ban, after he caused a multi-car collision at the opening corner of the Belgian Grand Prix that year.

Since 2012, the Belgian driver went on to race in Formula E for six seasons, where he claimed three victories along the way.

He went on to become team principal at Venturi towards the end of 2021, before leaving the team following the conclusion of the 2022 season.

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Since then, he’s been spotted a few times in the Mercedes garage alongside team principal Toto Wolff; however, in the past the Austrian has simply labelled D’Ambrosio’s presence as being “here as a friend”.

“He’s been in Formula E and he’s been a team principal of Venturi and finished second in the championship,” Wolff said during pre-season testing, as reported by Autosport.

“And he’s here as a friend, he’s observing. Maybe something in the future, but not yet.”

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It has now been confirmed that he has, in fact, joined Mercedes as their new driver development director, with the Belgian set to look after junior drivers that the Germans have on the books.

It’s a similar role to Dr Helmut Marko’s at Red Bull, meaning that Mercedes are perhaps hoping to take better care of their younger junior drivers.

New Williams team principal James Vowles had occupied the role prior to the Belgian’s appointment, meaning D’Ambrosio will likely be seen at several races this season.