This weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix, Toto Wolff be absent from the Mercedes garage as he undergoes surgery.
Wolff is set to undergo an operation between the Singapore and Japanese races for a long-standing knee issue, but a team spokesperson previously confirmed to RacingNews365 that he is expected back for the Qatar Grand Prix.
In his place will step Jerome d’Ambrosio, who has been working as the squad’s driver development director this season.
D’Ambrosio has stepped into team management in recent years, following a lengthy racing career that included a brief stint in Formula 1.
After several years in the junior formulae, d’Ambrosio joined the GP2 Series (now known as Formula 2) in 2008, spending three years in the category.
The Belgian took a handful of podium results during his stint, including a race win at the Monaco Sprint Race in 2010. D’Ambrosio also finished runner-up in the 2008-09 GP2 Asia Series, which was won by Kamui Kobayashi.
Having spent the 2010 campaign as a test driver for Virgin Racing in Formula 1, he was promoted to a race seat for the 2011 campaign, sharing the grid with some current F1 drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez.
D’Ambrosio departed the team at the end of the campaign and took on a third driver role with Lotus, supporting 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
His services were called upon at the Italian Grand Prix in 2012, when Grosjean received a race ban for his involvement in the infamous crash at the start of the Belgian race.
It would mark D’Ambrosio’s final participation in an F1 race as he drove to 13th place - his best result in the series.
Following a brief stint in the Blancpain Endurance Series, d’Ambrosio’s attention switched to Formula E and the maiden 2014-15 season of the all-electric category.
Competing with Dragon Racing, d’Ambrosio was instantly in a more competitive environment and ended the season with a race win and two further podiums under his belt.
His stay with Dragon Racing lasted four seasons in which he took a further four podiums, including another race victory. d’Ambrosio’s maiden season in Formula E would prove to be his most successful, finishing fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.
For the 2018-19 season, he switched to Mahindra Racing and bagged a podium and a race win in the opening two rounds of the year. His Marrakesh victory would be his last in racing, as at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, he announced his retirement from professional competition.
D’Ambrosio remained in the Formula E circle however and took on a new challenge by joining Venturi Racing as its Deputy Team Principal, working alongside Toto Wolff’s wife Suzie, who held the Team Principal role.
One year later, he was given the Team Principal position following a management restructure and under his leadership, Venturi finished second in the Teams’ Championship in the 2021-22 season with five race wins and 10 podiums.
In September 2022, d’Ambrosio left Venturi before taking up a position within the Mercedes F1 squad for the 2023 campaign.
Mercedes has been enduring a challenging period in F1, working to recover to the front of the field after dropping back in the order since the introduction of new technical regulations in 2022.