Petrov Said Grosjean's F1 Future Was Compromised by 2009 Error

A couple of years ago, French-licensed Romain Grosjean was listed as one of the most promising young drivers in formula racing. At his very debut in the GP2 Series, he emerged as winner of the Asian series and later challenged for the title in the main series. Mid-way through last season, while leading the GP2 Series, he was offered a seat with Renault F1 and took it without thinking of the repercussions.

According to his former teammate at Barwa Addax – in the GP2 Series – this was the mistake that marked his early career in Formula One. Vitaly Petrov has no doubt in his mind that, hadn't it been for Grosjean accepting to replace Nelson Piquet Jr. at Renault last year, he would have been the French manufacturer's primary option for the season to come.

Grosjean erred by landing in F1 in mid-season. There was much more to lose than to win, especially with a car in which Alonso did not do any good. A team asked me in mid-2009 (to race) and I refused, and my father supported me. It is necessary to start with a whole season (ahead),” said Petrov, according to France's Auto Hebdo.

Petrov recently secured his race seat with Renault for the entire 2010 season in exchange of approximately EUR15 million in funding, as reported by several media in France. Unless the first payment will enter the Renault F1 accounts by March 1st, it is believed the Russian will be immediately ousted from the Enstone organization and replaced with another fund-securing racer.

As for Grosjean, another reason why the Frenchman was ousted from Renault – besides his lack of sponsorship money – was the fact that he used to be championed by disgraced F1 manager Flavio Briatore. Following the crash-gate, the team wanted to break any link whatsoever with their former employee, and getting rid of Grosjean was presumably on the list. This information was however only a rumor, with no confirmation whatsoever by either of the two parties.

During his stay at Renault last season, Grosjean failed to score a single point for his team, having debuted in the series without a single lap of testing on the 2009 cars.
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