Nelsinho's Seat - Still Uncertain!
“We've said we'll do everything at the end of the year. One single race doesn't change our ideas. At the end of the season, we'll look at what we're going to do. He drove a great race and it was important for him to finish and score some points. It was great for Fernando, for Renault, for Piquet, for everybody”, stated the Italian after the race at Mount Fuji.
The 23-year old rookie is currently on a 50% race-finishing percentage for Renault, having secured four point-scoring performances throughout the season. His best result so far was a 2nd place finish at Hockenheim, which most F1 critics considered was based on luck. At Mount Fuji however, Nelsinho received help from no one and, despite starting the race from 12th place, he went on to secure a 5-point finish in a quite chaotic race.
If not picked up for 2009, Nelsinho will most likely be replaced by one of the drivers in the Renault youth programme, Lucas Di Grassi or Romain Grosjean. The former finished 3rd overall in the GP2 Europe standings this season, while the Frenchman clinched the GP2 Asia title at his very first appearance in the championship and ended his GP2 Europe debut in 4th place overall.
Until then, Renault are still trying to convince Fernando Alonso to stay with the team for at least another season, despite the Spaniard's announcement last week that his contract with the French manufacturer is due to expire at the end of next season. Honda are allegedly expecting an answer from the 2-time world champion these days, as CEO Nick Fry himself admitted his team are still negotiating with a 'certain driver' for a seat in 2009.
“We want to announce both drivers at the same time, and at the moment we're not in a position to do that because we're awaiting a yes or a no from a certain person. So until we get that we're just going to hang on”, said Fry according to ITV. On the other hand, Alonso said that his final decision will be announced shortly after the Brazilian Grand Prix, despite admitting that he has already made up his mind about his future team.