Oct.1 (GMM) Lucas di Grassi is a serious contender to make his formula one race debut with Renault in 2009.
The highly rated Brazilian was a test driver with the French team this season, and also a GP2 contender, where despite his late start he finished the championship third.Amid speculation that his countryman Nelson Piquet might not retain the seat next year, reports have surfaced that di Grassi, 24, is in pole position to replace him.He told the Italian website 422race.com that his best chance of debuting with Renault is if Fernando Alonso stays at the team."If Alonso leaves, I think it would be difficult for the team to rely on two inexperienced drivers: Nelsinho as the first driver and a rookie at his side."It would be impossible for a competitive team to make a decision like that. If Nelson goes, perhaps I have a chance."Now we are waiting for what happens with Fernando and Nelson. It doesn't depend on me, but it is up to Flavio (Briatore)."Renault are much happier with my results in GP2 this year compared with last year, but we have not yet talked about next year," di Grassi added.He won three GP2 races in 2008, despite missing the early part of the season.