PARIS, Dec 9, 2011 (AFP) - French driver Romain Grosjean will drive for Lotus Renault GP next season alongside returning former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
"I'm smiling at the prospect of being back behind the wheel next year. I feel incredibly privileged to be offered this chance," said the 25-year-old Frenchman.
Grosjean competed in seven grands prix for Renault in the 2009 Formula One season, with mixed results, a 13th place his best result.
Backed by Genii Capital, who own the Lotus team, he returns to F1 having won this season's GP2 championship.
"It's a dream come true," Grosjean said. "When I got back into the car after two years, I compared that sensation to the way a child feels on Christmas Day. Now that I've got the seat for next year I still have difficulty expressing everything I feel.
"It's a bit like a flame that been lit inside me that's growing in intensity."
Grosjean insisted that his success on the GP2 circuit had been integral to his call-up to the Lotus-Renault team.
"My season in GP2 helped me get the seat as a nominated driver because what people expected from me was to show that I'd grown up and matured - that at that level I was already capable of being a team leader," he said.
"The two free practice sessions in the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian Grand Prix were also a kind of real live assessment to see if I'd improved, if I was able to cope better with pressure and if I was still as quick.
"All these factors added to my two GP2 titles with DAMS (his team) were certainly major influential factors that helped me get the drive with LRGP in 2012."
But Grojean did not commit himself to concrete results as he looked ahead to next season.
"My greatest expectations and ambitions for next year are to enjoy my season," he said.
"It shouldn't be forgotten that we're living a dream, and just how extraordinary it is to be an F1 driver. That's the main idea plus how much I'll enjoy every moment I'm in the car throughout the season. Obviously, we're there to score results. My aim will be to always get out of the car with a big smile on my face."