Nov.9 (GMM) Lucas di Grassi insists he knew for some time he was not in the running to step up to a race seat at Renault in 2009.
The French team's third driver, who will test for Honda later this month, was linked with Nelson Piquet's seat for next year, until the Brazilian was last week re-confirmed as Fernando Alonso's continuing teammate."I've known for a long time the decision in Renault," di Grassi, also a Brazilian, said."Some people there are very well connected and it was not easy for me, even having the support of some Renault people, to get a race seat," he explained.The 24-year-old is clearly now targeting Rubens Barrichello's Honda race seat for 2009, but reveals he also would be happy to remain Renault's test driver."I can say I am very happy to stay at Renault, if I do," said di Grassi."But I want to move on: I have spent a year being third driver and I believe I could go a step further in my career and be a race driver."On the sidelines of a Renault event in New Delhi on Sunday, Piquet insisted he only learned of his new contract shortly before the public announcement."I was really happy when we reached the agreement," he said.