Eric Boullier has reaffirmed his conviction that recently-crowned GP2 Series Champion Romain Grosjean is now 'ready to step back into F1' – adding weight to the mounting speculation placing the Lotus Renault GP test and reserve driver in a race cockpit at the Enstone-based outfit next season.
Grosjean was initially parachuted into F1 to replace Nelsinho Piquet at Renault in the wake of the explosive 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing revelations just over halfway through 2009, but coming in mid-season and forced to contend with not only a less-than-competitive car but also an ultra-competitive team-mate in the shape of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso left him on something of a hiding to nothing and did his reputation and stock within the paddock few favours.
Despite performing respectably enough in the circumstances, the Swiss-born Frenchman was not retained into 2010, and following a brief flirtation with sportscar racing, Grosjean returned to the feeder GP2 Series towards the end of last year.
In the feature race at Spa-Francorchamps just over a week ago, the 25-year-old then sewed up the 2011 crown a round early following an imperious run with DAMS that has seen him claim five victories and nine podium finishes. Boullier reckons he is now eminently more prepared for a second crack of the whip in the top flight.
“He did it all in the correct manner, which is very important,” reflected Lotus Renault GP's managing director, who is also directly involved in the management of Grosjean's career via the Gravity offshoot of the team's owner Genii Capital. “Everybody is talking about him in the paddock now; he became the new GP2 Champion three races before the end, which is impressive. He's done a good job in that discipline, and I think he's now ready to step back into F1.”