Jerome D’Ambrosio is set for a larger role at Mercedes as Toto Wolff adds on Angella Cullen’s departure and missing Nikki Lauda.

The former F1 driver D’Ambrosio was potted in Mercedes colours during the Bahrain testing but Wolff didn’t readily confirmed any formal role for the Belgian. But by Saudi Arabia, the Austrian revealed about the hiring of former Formula E driver in full capacity.

With the departure of James Vowles to Williams, Mercedes has a gap to be filled. D’Ambrosio won’t take up the strategy work but the other work that Vowles used to complete, such as the Mercedes drivers’ programme at junior level.

They have Gwen Lagrue looking after the programme but he more focused on the karting side, while D’Ambrosio will now mostly do what Vowles did at Brackely. For now, the Belgian has taken up that role but he could be handed more as time goes on.

“He’ looking after the young driver programme in very close cooperation with Gwen, who has been doing it very successfully over the last few years,” said Wolff. “With Gwen’s team we are looking at grassroots motorsports from the early stages of go-karts, and this is where Gwen is very active, and he was the one working with James, and now within the Brackley structure it’s Jerome who has taken that over, and he’s looking at things and there’s plenty of plenty of scope that James did beyond the strategy work.

“So I see Jerome growing in the organisation, but at this stage, that’s his area. I have known Jérôme since a long time, because back in the day when he was in the Renault driver development, I thought about managing him. So it’s 15 or 20 years ago, and then we had a look again at him when he when he dropped out of the programme.

“So I’ve known him as a racing driver, but never from the human standpoint, and never from the managerial side. And I think when Susie offered him the option to jump out of the cockpit into a management role, he took it with both hands and they were quite a good competitive duo, and Jérôme led it into another year and finished second in the Formula E Championship.

“I think he has the knowhow of having been a racing driver at a very high level. He was a go-karting world champion. He’s been in Formula 1 and on the other side, the skills as a manager. So where that will lead him is a question; today it’s at a very early stage. He is just coming in in the driver development part and administrative functions. And we shall see where that goes,” summed up Wolff on D’Ambrosio.

While Mercedes has got a new personnel, they have lost Cullen who has been with the F1 team and also Lewis Hamilton for several years now. In a statement, it was largely down to her wanting to pursue her dreams, but Hamilton didn’t wish to expand more on the partition when asked about it during media sessions.

For Wolff, it isn’t a problem since it is on Hamilton to decide what’s best for him in terms of his own team whether it is the physio and or manager. “Angela was part of the gang for a long time. I think in every team, whether that is his close circle, or also in the wider group, you know, this is not a static situation that you can freeze, because we all develop as people, we develop as an organisation and if things don’t work out anymore, then we need to be honest about it and then bring change.

“Angela will always be a mascot of the team. She’s the only one who has a louder voice than a starting car. But, you know, if this is what he decides, we will always absolutely support him, whatever direct direction he wants to take,” stated Wolff, who also admitted of missing the counselling of Lauda who would have helped hugely in this low period.

“Niki’s missed all those years because Niki always simplified things to really what mattered,” said Wolff. “And so I’m having to think what would he have said, and how would he have positioned and the two of us worked well together in that sense that sometimes oversimplification can lead you straight to the results but there are lots of nuances.

“This is a technical sport so maybe my role was to translate it in a way that we actually were able to execute it in the car design. But this is very simple: the stopwatch never lies, and we see on the data where we are missing and that needs to be corrected.”

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Here’s Lewis Hamilton on his words