Lowdon quashes talk of d’Ambrosio exit

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MARUSSIA Virgin Racing president Graeme Lowdon has scotched talk of driver Jerome d’Ambrosio leaving at the end of the Formula One season.

In the last 48 hours, Eric Boullier, D’Ambrosio’s manager, has claimed he will hold discussions with another unnamed team interested in d’Ambrosio’s services at the German Grand Prix later this month.

But Lowdon says he spoke to d’Ambrosio’s representative at the British GP at the weekend and has told The Star it is just idle speculation across the paddock.

He told The Star: “I spoke to Jerome’s manager at Silverstone and that is simply not the case. We are happy with the guys we have got and it would be nice to continue with the same line up next year.

“We are extremely happy with the drivers we have got and we have no plans to change it.”

D’Ambrosio, who has competed in the GP2 Series, GP2 Asia Series, International Formula Master, the F3000 Euroseries and Formula Renault in his fledgling career, joined Virgin in December.

Although he has regularly been outpaced by his teammate Timo Glock in qualifying on Saturdays, d’Ambrosio has held his own in the nine races. Indeed, he has notched the team’s highest finishes, two 14th places in Australia and Canada.

The Star understands Virgin will sit down and look at extending the Belgian ace’s contract in September.

“It is not unusual to chop and change your drive line up quite a bit but we have got two guys who are really good,” added Lowdon.

There are fears Glock is prepared to move on to pastures new having become fed up of competing at the back of the grid with the other two newcomers Team Lotus and Hispania.

Lowdon said: “Timo is doing a great job; he’s very experienced and is a real asset to the team. We have a great team spirit here and he is valuable part of that.

“I know Timo very well and we talk a lot about the future. He knows a lot about our plans and we know what his personal goals are too. We have an extremely open relationship so if anyone was talking with him then we would be the first to know.”

Glock crossed the chequered flag in 16th position at Silverstone while d’Ambrosio came 17th despite suffering from degradation of his front left tyre towards the end of the race.

Lowdon added: “It was a really good weekend. We didn’t have any mistakes or technical difficulties like other people had. We had a good strategy throughout so we have no complaints at how it went.

“Everything went well and now we are looking forward to performing well to the German Grand Prix.”