Abu Dhabi

Last Race: 23rd Nov Abu Dhabi

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3 Valtteri Bottas

Virgin axe D'Ambrosio for Pic

Monday 28th November 2011

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Virgin axe D'Ambrosio for Pic

Virgin axe D'Ambrosio for Pic

As expected, Marussia Virgin Racing announced in the wake of the Brazilian GP that Charles Pic would replace Jerome D'Ambrosio next season.

D'Ambrosio failed to shine in his first season in Formula One, more often than not qualifying and finishing grands prix behind his more experienced team-mate Timo Glock.

Following Pic's successful Young Driver test in Abu Dhabi, it appeared as if the writing was on the wall for D'Ambrosio.

And, with rumours claiming that Pic had been signed, the team confirmed in the wake of the season-ending Brazilian GP that D'Ambrosio was out for 2012 and would be replaced by GP2 driver Pic.

"I'm very pleased to welcome Charles to Marussia Virgin Racing as Timo's team-mate for 2012," said team boss John Booth.

"We naturally keep a close eye on the junior formulae and Charles is certainly someone we have been watching over the past few years. The real barometer however was our Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last week, where we put him through a series of tough tests to thoroughly evaluate his potential.

"This was his first time in a Formula One car so it should have been quite daunting, however Charles was extremely focused on what needed to be done and absolutely rose to the challenge. He continued to improve in every area but his race simulation work particularly caught our eye.

He added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jérôme D'Ambrosio for his hard work and important contribution to our team over the past 12 months or more. He has an exciting future to look forward to I'm sure and we wish him every success."

Pic, who finished fourth in last year's GP2 series with two wins, three pole positions and five podium finishes, is relishing his break into F1.

"I'm very happy to be making the step up to Formula One with Marussia Virgin Racing. As a driver you always feel you are ready for the next opportunity but in Abu Dhabi last week it was a tough test," said the 21-year-old.

"The team gave me some fantastic opportunities to learn new things but I also knew that I had to impress them and show them I was ready to do a good job. I was pleased with my performance, and obviously the team were too, so a very good start but this is just the beginning and I know that a lot of hard work is ahead of me to reward this chance.

"I like the team a lot; we worked well together in the test and I feel very comfortable. They want to do things the right way and I can see that there is a lot of determination to succeed, so it is very special for me to be part of that.

"I'm looking forward to working hard in every area over the winter to ensure I am ready for the start of testing and my first grand prix."

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