If Romain Grosjean still thought he was in with a chance of joining Robert Kubica at Renault F1 in 2010, the Enstone-based outfit's new team principal Eric Boullier has burst his bubble by proclaiming that of the five potential candidates for the available seat, only one of them is French - and he is the least likely to get the drive.

Before Christmas, Grosjean - who replaced Nelsinho Piquet at Renault in 2009 following the Brazilian's mid-season sacking, but generally failed to perform any better than his predecessor in the recalcitrant R29 - revealed that he has 'great confidence for the future' and 'trusts [the team] won't let me down after all the work we've done together since 2006' [see separate story - click here].

Boullier, however - who has been appointed at the helm following the majority acquisition of Renault F1 by Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital - seems to offer scant encouragement to the Swiss-born Frenchman, admitting that whilst a shortlist of drivers has now been reduced from ten down to five, a homegrown star in the second cockpit in 2010 is not looking likely.

Other drivers in with a shout look to be members of the Genii Capital-linked Gravity Sport Management programme, such as 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve or young guns Ho-Pin Tung and J?r?me d'Ambrosio, as well as experienced BMW-Sauber refugee Nick Heidfeld - who has partnered Kubica since the Pole's grand prix debut in mid-2006 - and well-backed GP2 Series front-runner Vitaly Petrov.

"There are several possible scenarios, one of them French," ex-DAMS GP2 and A1GP team manager Boullier told French radio station RMC, "but today, that is the scenario with perhaps the least chance of success. We have made progress, but are still far from being able to disclose the [driver's] name."