Romain Grosjean has described how he is eagerly anticipating his third driver role for Renault in Formula 1 in 2009 – even though he will have to juggle it with his bid for glory in the feeder GP2 Series and despite the considerable cut in testing mileage this year.
The Swiss-born Frenchman has been a member of the Régie's
Driver Development programme (RDD) for the past three years, and last season conducted testing duties for the double world title-winning outfit, though he was not officially third driver in 2008 as that position was assumed by fellow GP2 star Lucas di Grassi.
That being so, his elevation into the role this year is a significant boost to Grosjean's burgeoning career, and an opportunity he is clearly keen to grasp with both hands.
“It's a real honour to be part of the team and to be involved in Formula 1,” he enthused. “Having been a test driver for Renault, becoming the third driver is another step forward in my career as I will be attending all the grands prix. The year ahead therefore promises to be an amazing learning experience, and I intend to make the most of the opportunity to be part of a world championship-winning team.
“I've already worked with the team and I know a lot of the people as I go to the factories in Enstone and Viry quite regularly. In 2008 I had my first test with the team and so I've been able to build a relationship with the test team, which has been a really valuable experience. Now I'll be able to strengthen my relationship with the engineers and learn more about how the team operates, which is really exciting.
“Taking part in race de-briefs with Fernando [Alonso] and Nelson [Piquet] will be very valuable too, as will understanding how the team works. I shall learn all that I can and, if I become a race driver one day, I will have this valuable experience to draw upon.”
Insisting that there is no added pressure with his new role, the 22-year-old was also adamant that there will be no difficulties in balancing his work at Renault with his assault on the laurels in GP2, where he will be bidding to improve by three positions on the fourth spot he achieved during his rookie campaign in the category with ART Grand Prix in 2008.
“I'm not too worried about that,” underlined the inaugural GP2 Asia Series Champion. “On European race weekends, when I will have to complete both roles, the priority will be to win in GP2 and I will be taking that very seriously. I think that with a bit of organisation, I should be able to combine both roles without too much trouble.
“It's not really a case of it being a reward or added pressure; it's the logical result of what I have achieved with Renault since I joined the RDD in 2006. This opportunity gives me a year to learn about the team, to try and win the GP2 championship where I will also be racing, and to become even stronger for 2010.”