Date: 10th December 2011 at 9:40am
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Current GP2 Series and GP2 Asia Series Champion Romain Grosjean will return to Formula One next season as Kimi Raikkonen’s team-mate at Lotus [formally known as Renault].

The news means that Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna have now both been dropped from the team, ending months of speculation.

‘I am thrilled to be one of the team’s race drivers in 2012, There’s a big grin on my face at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of next year’s car, and I feel very privileged to be given this opportunity.’ the 25-year-old told the press.

‘To be racing alongside a former world champion and someone who is hungry and returning to Formula 1 will be a great experience, and I’m sure will help raise my level of performance too. I feel that my successful season in GP2 Series has helped me mature a lot, and I am a much more complete driver than I was last time I was competing in this sport.’

Team owner Gerard Lopez added: ‘Only last week I reiterated that the team is at the start of a brand new cycle.

‘Announcing Romain as our race driver alongside Kimi is great news and will help us achieve our aims of getting back to the very top. The announcements we made today and last week are exciting ones for our team and there is a real buzz surrounding us now.’


The news will come as a big relief to Grosjean, who just this week was testing a BMW DTM [German Touring Cars] and suggesting that he was prepared to give up on trying to get into Formula One.

‘Formula 1 is a difficult world. I will keep my fingers crossed, but I think if it doesn’t happen this time, it would be the time to think about something different.

‘I took the choice at the beginning of this season to try again for Formula 1. The idea was to win GP2 and to get back to the top. But if for any reason it doesn’t work out this way, then I think I will turn to an alternative.’
he told Autosport Magazine before the announcement.

Grosjean hasn’t competed in Formula One since 2009 when he started seven Grand Prix’s for Renault, with a best place finish of thirteenth in Brazil.

The news quickly followed the announcement Marussia Virgin Racing that 21-year-old Frenchman Charles Pic, will partner Timo Glock at the expense of Jerome D’Ambrosio next season.

With two less spots on the grid for the new 2012 season, with far more drivers from 2011 still in search of race seats, there could be some quality drivers without drives for next season, with the most high profile name being that of veteran Rubens Barrichello, who is aiming to compete in his twentieth season in F1.