Romain Grosjean will get his chance to stake a claim for a 2012 Lotus Renault seat when he drives in FP1 in the last two races of the season.
He will replace Bruno Senna in Abu Dhabi and Vitaly Petrov in Brazil, which will ensure that Senna has a full weekend on track at his home race.
Grosjean, who won this year’s GP2 Series, last raced in F1 with Renault in 2009. However he did some running in Pirelli’s Toyota test car earlier this year.
He joins a list of potential 2012 LRGP candidates that includes both of the current drivers, and Robert Kubica.
Team boss Eric Boullier said: “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. 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.”
Grosjean added: “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.”