Lotus has confirmed that its reserve driver Jerome d'Ambrosio will take Romain Grosjean's seat for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.
Grosjean was given a one-race ban for causing the Belgian GP startline crash. Team boss Eric Boullier had said following the announcement about Grosjean that there was a "very high" chance of d'Ambrosio getting the stand-in role.
"When we signed Jerome as our third driver we signed a man who is highly motivated, fresh, talented and who contested the full 2011 season," Boullier said. "We hope that this will pay dividends when he drives the car this weekend in Monza.
"We know that Jerome is well integrated into the team and that he did a good job when he drove the E20 at the Mugello test. Now he has the challenge of a grand prix at the challenging circuit of Monza, in a car which is capable of finishing on the podium."
D'Ambrosio raced for Virgin – now Marussia – last season before losing his seat to Charles Pic for 2012. Part of the Lotus-affiliated Genii driver pool, he moved to the former Renault team as reserve.
"My desire for 2012 has always been to get back into the seat of a Formula 1 car so I am grabbing this opportunity with both hands," he said. "Monza is a fantastic circuit and I can't wait to take to the track on Friday. As third driver I have worked with the team at every grand prix, attending all the briefings and meetings that the race drivers do, so I am well prepared in this respect.
"Monza is a superb circuit, but it is also quite a technical one so I am not underestimating the task ahead of me. I want to reward the faith that the team has in me with a good haul of points from the race. I will hand the wheel back to Romain after Sunday's race and I hope that this one showing in Italy will allow me to show my capabilities fully."
The 26-year-old Belgian already has experience of the Lotus E20 from the Mugello test in May.
OPINION: d'Ambrosio a sensible choice
By AUTOSPORT F1 editor Edd Straw
Jerome d'Ambrosio was not just the leading contender to fill in for Romain Grosjean, he was the only sensible one.
You only have to look at how long it takes even veteran drivers when they change teams to adapt to different steering wheel layouts, ways of working, operating systems to realize that this is a very specialized job. D'Ambrosio has at least driven the Lotus E20 and sat in on engineering debriefs throughout the year, meaning he is as well-prepared as he could be in these days of next-to-no testing.
He's an intelligent driver as well, which means he will approach the weekend determined to do the most effective job possible without letting over-enthusiasm cloud his judgment.
That's not to say it will be easy. Any driver jumping in cold faces a near-vertical learning curve given such limited track time, so if d'Ambrosio can make a useful technical contribution and bring the car home, even if he's some way off Kimi Raikkonen in terms of pace, he will have done his job.
A points finish would be an overachievement for any driver with his preparation, even in such a good car.