Lotus Renault GP have today announced that GP2 champion Romain Grosjean will get a chance to drive for the team during FP1 at the final two races of the 2011 season.
The Frenchman, who replaced Nelson Piquet Jr. at Renault for the final seven races of the 2009 season, will drive Bruno Senna‘s car for the 90-minute session in Abu Dhabi, and Vitaly Petrov‘s at the final race in Brazil.
“I am delighted to be given this opportunity and I feel very excited about driving the R31 for the first time during a Grand Prix weekend,” said Grosjean. “It will be a big responsibility for me and my priority will be to do the best job I can for the team.
“I know all the team's mechanics and engineers, am familiar with the methodology and processes and I know the two tracks I'll be testing on. I also feel that the racing I did in the GP2 Series this year will stand me in good stead fitness-wise. Finally, I did some F1 testing for Pirelli during the winter at the beginning of this year, so the tyres shouldn't be too alien to me.
“I believe all the right elements are in place to make this a great experience, and I don't feel too much pressure going into this. My aim, of course, will be to help Lotus Renault GP prepare for the race weekends, to offer the best feedback I can and to be reliable and consistent. Getting an opportunity like this is always a massive boost in a driver's career and I'll make sure I make the most of the chance I've been given.”
Renault team principal Eric Boullier said that he is confident Grosjean will do a good job for the team with these appearances. “Romain has been part of the LRGP family since February and we feel this is an appropriate time to give him a chance to drive for us during two Free Practice sessions,” he explained.
“Putting his skills to the test in two consecutive Friday sessions will offer him precious experience of driving the R31 during a race weekend and will make him a better driver. I'm sure that his feedback will be useful for the team, especially as he raced in F1 only two years ago. Since then, he has improved in every area and I'm sure he'll do a good job for us. We will be able to do this without compromising our usual Friday set-up work in any way, and as of Free Practice 2 at both race weekends, Bruno and Vitaly will return to their cars.”