Renault to Announce Drivers' Lineup on Wednesday

Unlike Honda, Renault have confirmed that they'll announce their 2009 drivers lineup as early as this week, so the French team could get on with their testing for the upcoming season. Shortly after the Brazilian Grand Prix, as everyone was expecting an official statement from 2-time world champion Fernando Alonso concerning his final decision for next year, team boss Flavio Briatore confirmed that Renault would make up their minds by Wednesday.

“We will announce both drivers on Wednesday,” admitted Briatore earlier this week. Alonso also insisted he will announce his future team this week, as everyone expects him to continue his collaboration with Briatore's team for yet another season.

Honda are also expecting this Wednesday's statement from Renault, as the Brackley-based team is also pending their decision to name a future lineup based on Alonso's choice. Should the Spaniard decide to stick with Renault for 2009, Honda will most likely turn to GP2 runner-up Bruno Senna as future teammate for Britain's Jenson Button. Either way, veteran Rubens Barrichello is more than likely going to step down as racing driver for Honda in 2009.

Renault's only uncertainty for next season is finding the appropriate teammate for Alonso to be able to challenge for top positions in the constructors' classification. Current driver Nelsinho Piquet ended his debut season in Formula 1 in 12th place, highlighting an incredible 2nd place at Hockenheim Ring and scoring an overall 18 points in the season.

Piquet started to challenge for point-scoring position constantly in the second part of the season, shortly after Renault stepped up their game and gave their drivers a more competitive car to work with. The Brazilian made a habit out of qualifying for Q3 on Saturdays and that gave him a boost for retaining his racing seat with the French team this season.

Should Renault choose not to extend Piquet's contract for the upcoming season, the French team has two options for 2009: either GP2 Asia champion Romain Grosjean or 3rd placed in the GP2 Main Series this year Lucas di Grassi.
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