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Grosjean to drive F1 for Lotus Renault next year

Updated: December 09, 2011, 03:46

PARIS(AP) Romain Grosjean will drive for the Lotus team in Formula One next year alongside former world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Lotus Renault said in a statement Friday that the Frenchman, who was a reserve driver during last season's F1 championship, impressed during practice sessions at the Abu Dhabi and Brazil Grand Prix at the end of the season.

"I am thrilled to be one of the team's race drivers in 2012. There's a big grin on my face at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of next year's car,'' Grosjean said. "To be racing alongside a former world champion and someone who is hungry and returning to Formula 1 will be a great experience.''

Russian driver Vitaly Petrov and Brazilian Bruno Senna now both have to look for a new team.

"I would like to thank Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team's performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future,'' team principal Eric Boullier said. "Romain has shown a lot of maturity in the past twelve months both through his GP2 Series victory and his development as third driver with us.''

Grosjean won the GP2 Series championship this year.

He was previously a test driver on the Renault F1 Team in 2008, and got a race seat in the second half of 2009.

"I feel that my successful season in GP2 Series has helped me mature a lot, and I am a much more complete driver than I was last time I was competing in this sport,'' Grosjean said. "I will not disappoint and I wish to thank all the people without whom this return to F1 would not have been possible.''

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