17 January 2011
Lotus Renault to add Grosjean?
Sometime Renault F1 driver Romain Grosjean could be poised to rejoin the team in a test and development role.
Romain Grosjean hardly had the chance to impress in F1, having been drafted in to to replace Nelson Piquet Jr in the wake of 'crashgate', but could be poised for a second chance if the team's new management has its way.
The Frenchman could have gone on to claim the GP2 Series title had it not been for his call-up but, partnering Fernando Alonso, he struggled to get to grips with F1, and was dropped after just seven races to end the 2009 season.
Since then, he has flirted with sportscars and returned to the lower rungs of the single-seater ladder, eventually winning the AutoGP crown following a part-season in 2010.
That success has reawakened interest in the top flight but, ironically it appears that the team that dispensed with his services so quickly just over a year ago may be the one to open the door widest.
According to motorsport.com, the new-look management team at Lotus Renault F1, under the guidance of team principal Eric Boullier, is working on a deal to bring Grosjean back into the fold for 2011, although he would be limited to the third driver role unless anything happened to already-confirmed race pilots Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov.
Boullier, of course, has close ties with the DAMS team that took Grosjean to the AutoGP title, having previously headed its single-seater programme, and is currently involved with Gravity Sport, the driver management arm of Renault F1 shareholder Genii Capital which counts Grosjean among its clients.
"I would like to see a Frenchman on the podium, or at least with a good team," Boullier admitted to French magazine Auto Hebdo's website, "We talk about it at Enstone or Genii Capital very often and we are trying everything to reach a solution quickly, but nothing is simple.
"We need a number one [driver] at a very high level and we need Petrov and what he brings, [but] we are working very hard to get Romain Grosjean a seat and also to bring along other young people. France needs to have a good driver in F1."
Third driver duties at Renault were largely handled by Jerome d'Ambrosio, who has since signed to race with Marussia Virgin Racing in 2010.
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