Spa boss doubts d'Ambrosio to make impact

The boss of F1's Spa-Francorchamps race is not sure the presence of a Belgian driver will boost the popularity of next year's Grand Prix. After it was announced that Jerome d'Ambrosio will race with the Virgin team in 2011, the circuit's chiefs...

The boss of F1's Spa-Francorchamps race is not sure the presence of a Belgian driver will boost the popularity of next year's Grand Prix.

After it was announced that Jerome d'Ambrosio will race with the Virgin team in 2011, the circuit's chiefs predicted the 24-year-old's appointment will have a "positive impact" on the Belgian Grand Prix next August.

But race promoter Andre Maes is not so sure.

"This can only be positive," he told La Libre newspaper.

"But will it boost ticket sales? I don't know. Did the presence of (1994 Lotus driver Philippe) Adams or (2004 Minardi Friday driver Bas) Leinders cause many more Belgians to come?

"So, the impact (on the GP) will depend on how he goes during the first races," added Maes.

Maes indicated that the likely problem will be not only the performance of the Virgin car, but also d'Ambrosio's personality.

"I do not know about his popularity," he continued. "He remained relatively unknown in GP2 -- he is not a star. I am convinced that nine tenths of the viewers on RTBF don't know the sound of his voice."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jérôme d'Ambrosio
Teams Minardi