Robert Kubica has signed to be Renault’s star driver for 2010, as expected. Toyota made a late bid to try to lure the Kube into their midst, but the Pole sided with the beleaguered Renault squad. It seems to underline that Renault are indeed here to stay, although you can never say never in the Pirahna Club.
After Ferrari finally signed, sealed and delivered Fernando Alonso’s three year contract, the driver market is on the move again. Now Kubica has taken up residence at Renault, who will partner him next season? Romain Grosjean is yet to convince many, but really shouldn’t be pushed aside for the final two races for the lurking Lucas di Grassi, as some are suggesting could happen. It takes time to get used to a modern F1 car, the challenge they pose is unique and the track time just isn’t available to the young (or old) drivers anymore. Poor Badoer was left looking silly by the testing restrictions, so we certainly won’t see Grosjean at his best for a while yet.
Experience is a boon in F1 right now, so maybe it won’t be Grosjean or Di Grassi taking up residence at Renault in 2010. Heikki Kovalainen is a solid pair of hands who knows the team well and is unlikely to be seen in silver after the season’s end; what price a return to the Reggie for him? We may not find out the identity of the second Renault appointment until a few more key drivers make their minds up, such as Kimi ‘interesting’ Raikkonen who is reportedly eyeing up McLaren, Toyota or even Red Bull for 2010. Choices, choices. Ferrari’s golden handshake and a few podiums is smoothing Kimi’s path for next year, so contrary to the speculation earlier in the summer, he may not be going rallying any time soon.
The latest rumour is from Germany’s Sport Bild who have speculated that Nick Heidfeld could also be making the jump from the sinking BMW ship to Renault. To be fair to Quick Nick, he has matched up well to Kubica, so this is a logical if unadventurous option. It’s reminiscent of when, under the guise of Benetton, the team pinched Alesi and Berger together from Ferrari, a move that didn’t deliver the goods. In the past it seemed that Briatore’s interests as a driver manager have limited Renault’s options, now it seems that anybody is in with a shout.