Renault on Tuesday announced Romain Grosjean will take the Formula One team's second race seat for this weekend's Grand Prix of Europe and the rest of the season. The team's third driver, Grosjean takes over for Nelson A. Piquet, whom the team ...
Renault on Tuesday announced Romain Grosjean will take the Formula One team's second race seat for this weekend's Grand Prix of Europe and the rest of the season. The team's third driver, Grosjean takes over for Nelson A. Piquet, whom the team confirmed is out.
The announcement follows by a day an International Automobile Federation (FIA) International Court of Appeals decision that the team can race this weekend in Valencia, Spain. Stewards at the Grand Prix of Hungary just over three weeks ago had suspended the team for one race after a wheel came off the car of lead driver Spaniard Fernando Alonso. In overturning the suspension, the Court reprimanded the team and levied a $50,000 fine.
Tuesday's announcement is the team's first comment to confirm Piquet's ouster, news of which the Brazilian driver posted on his Web site after the race in Hungary with elaborate comments on how he felt the team treated him in a season and a half as Alonso's teammate.
Piquet, who scored 19 points, good for 12th among 22 drivers last year, had not scored this season. Three other drivers, Kazuki Nakajima at Williams F1, and the Force India drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, have not scored. All of them drove for their respective teams last season. Alonso has demonstrated Renault's R29 capabilities with two front-row appearances this season, including pole position in Hungary.
In announcing Grosjean's promotion, Renault's statement said he has attended every race this season, "which has allowed him to gain experience and become fully integrated with the team."
"We are happy to give Romain the chance to start racing with the team," team principal Flavio Briatore said. "He is an impressive young talent, and we expect him to show his skills driving alongside Fernando as we take an aggressive approach to the second half of the season. We would also like to thank Nelson for his contribution during the time he has been with us and wish him all the best for the future."
A Swiss-born driver who also holds French citizenship, Grosjean, 23, has benefited from Renault support for the past five years. He joined the Renault Driver Development program in 2006 as the French Formula Renault champion. He won the Formula Three Euro Series in 2007 and the GP2 Asia Series in 2008. Grosjean has won two GP2 races this season with the Barwa Addax team.
"I am very proud that the Renault F1 team has given me the chance to become a race driver," Grosjean said. "I'm looking forward to driving the R29 and helping the team get the best results possible. It's also an honor to be Fernando's teammate, and to make my Formula One debut alongside a double world champion is especially motivating."
Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi takes the reserve driver duties in Valencia as he continues racing in the GP2 series.