Alesi: Grosjean's sponsor was the main factor
13 December 2011 – Sponsors were the strongest factor when Lotus Renault GP chose its second 2012 driver, according to Jean Alesi. With backing from French petroleum company Total, Romain Grosjean was selected to partner returning 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen, leaving Bruno Senna on the sidelines and searching for a drive.
Former Grand Prix winner Alesi is an ambassador for the Enstone team, having retired from F1 in 2001 before spending a stint in German touring car series DTM.
“Grosjean is a beginner and he’s had a chance a few years ago, but France needs a French driver and I know he will have the support of Total, so why not?” French-Sicilian Alesi is quoted as saying by The Norwich Advertiser.
“For Bruno, what he did this year was great, especially as he started in the middle of the season. He had to jump in the car straight away and he has been quick. The performance of the car was sometimes good, sometimes not, but he managed to do his job in the best way. So it’s a shame – but Total did push very much for a French driver and they pay more…”
Also on the hunt for a 2012 race seat is Vitaly Petrov, who has been dropped by Eric Boullier's squad after spending two seasons with the outfit and scoring a maiden podium result at the start of 2011.