Romain Grosjean will take a big step towards returning to F1 in September.
Italy’s Autosprint reports that the Swiss-born Frenchman is set to stand in during Friday morning practice in Singapore for Renault’s Nick Heidfeld.
Heidfeld, who is substituting for the injured Robert Kubica this year, also sat out practice in Hungary last month for the team’s Brazilian reserve driver Bruno Senna.
Two weeks before Grosjean’s Singapore outing, the GP2 series will conclude at Monza and the Frenchman is likely to be champion.
Autosprint also said that at Monza and the Spa-Francorchamps round that precedes it, Senna will be back in action to practice on Friday in Heidfeld’s car.
And French media sources, including the Le Journal du Dimanche, say the Eric Boullier-managed Grosjean is a candidate to race Heidfeld’s car number 9 later in 2011.
As for 2012, Renault team owner Gerard Lopez insists the 25-year-old has earned a full-time place on the grid.
“It was clearly a mistake for a person (Flavio Briatore) to put him at a team in trouble alongside Fernando Alonso in 2009,” he is quoted by the French Toile F1 website.
“Now, with what he has shown in GP2, Romain is ready for F1. He really deserves a second chance to be in F1 next year.
“We are working to find a place for him. We are talking with several teams, and there are several seats that are less fixed than they seem.
“Lotus Renault GP is of course a possibility, but I do not think for a moment that Robert will not return next year.
“But if he doesn’t, we will have two options: hire an experienced driver alongside Vitaly, even though experienced drivers without contracts are not numerous.
“The other option is to focus on a young guy and Romain would be ideal, especially as he is a Gravity driver.
“If Romain returns to F1 next year, it should be with a team with a profile similar to that of Lotus Renault GP,” added Lopez.