F1 » 4 September 2012
Alguersuari presses Lotus claim for Monza
Jaime Alguersuari - and others - admit that they would jump at the chance to fill in for Romain Grosjean at the Italian Grand Prix.
Despite official Lotus reserve Jerome d'Ambrosio being heavily tipped to act as stand-in for the suspended Romain Grosjean at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, rumours of a possible Jaime Alguersuari comeback are also gathering pace.
d'Ambrosio, who was denied a chance to run at his home circuit when Lotus opted to focus on further development of its 'double DRS' system, was the first name in the frame when news of Grosjean's one-race ban was announced in the wake of his start-line collision with Lewis Hamilton, which subsequently triggered the first corner pile-up that also accounted for points leader Fernando Alonso and Sauber's Sergio Perez. The Belgian drove for Marussia Virgin last season and was snapped up by Lotus on his release from the Banbury team ahead of 2012, but team boss Eric Boullier has refused to confirm that he is the automatic selection for Monza, despite Auto Hebdo claiming the decision has been made.
"We'll announce the name of [Romain's] replacement a bit later in the week," Boullier told reporters, "We are thinking of [using] our third driver first of all, [but] there are many drivers looking for a chance."
The name rising to the top of the alternatives is Alguersuari, who reportedly turned down the chance to join Lotus for 2012 out of loyalty to Toro Rosso and Red Bull. When the Italian team and its Austrian paymaster subsequently axed him from their plans, doors had closed, leaving Alguersuari to accept an analyst's role with the BBC and, more recently, the opportunity to test on behalf of tyre supplier Pirelli.
While he made no mention of stepping back into a race seat while summing up the Belgian race for his British employer, the Spaniard made no secret of his interest when pressed on the matter by AS in his homeland.
"I'm ready to run," he admitted, "It is a big team with possibilities, and I would climb into the car tomorrow, no problem. Of course, I have no idea how things are, but I am here ready to do anything. However, I cannot tell you any more, because I do not know..."
Rubens Barrichello, who does not have a clashing IndyCar date and makes no secret of having unfinished business in F1, and Adrian Sutil currently unemployed following his release from Force India and under a cloud following his assault case, have both expressed an interest in stepping into Grosjean's shoes for the Monza weekend. Both have enjoyed strong runs at the Italian venue, with Barrichello winning there as recently as 2009 with Brawn, and Sutil finishing fourth after qualifying on the front row for Force India in the same race.
"People ask if I would drive for Lotus at Monza if they ask me," Barrichello revealed via his Twitter feed, "My answer is YES!"
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