Renault is edging towards signing Romain Grosjean to complete its 2012 driver lineup alongside Vitaly Petrov, according to the latest reports.
The Enstone based team has already announced that Swiss-born Frenchman Grosjean, the Genii-managed new GP2 champion, will drive in Friday morning practice in both Abu Dhabi and Brazil later this month.
“I don’t feel too much pressure going into this,” said the 25-year-old, looking to get back into F1 next year after his abortive part-season debut in 2009.
Clearly, however, the pressure is on, given that alongside Bruno Senna, Grosjean is a frontrunner for the full-time 2012 seat if Robert Kubica is unable to return from injury.
The French broadcaster TF1 has said it believes Pole Kubica will only be ready to come back long after next season’s world championship is underway.
“I think it is too early to say anything,” said Grosjean. “Robert is the key. We all wish him a speedy recovery.”
Confirmed team boss Eric Boullier: “We need to look at our options because we still do not know about Robert.”
Germany’s motorsport-total.com reported at the weekend that Boullier has already decided that Grosjean is in pole position for the seat.
“I do not expect to get in the coming days a definitive statement as to when he (Kubica) can test,” the Frenchman is quoted by the website.
“Unfortunately we need to have in mind the possibility that he cannot come back yet. We are ready — our 2009 car is ready for him in the garage, we could fire it up at any time.”
Brazilian Senna is the other main candidate.
“He has the remaining races to show us that he is the man that we should have in the car in 2012,” said Boullier.