Who should Renault sign for 2011? (Poll)

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

With the top seats at Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes already taken for 2011, the most coveted place left to fill on next year’s grid is the second Renault alongside Robert Kubica.

The team have been clear about their expectations for Vitaly Petrov, who had a mixed weekend in Spa with a points finish despite a crash in qualifying.

Has he done enough to keep his place in the team – or should Renault look elsewhere for a 2011 driver?

The disappearance of BMW and Toyota at the end of last season left some big-name drivers in small teams this year, including the likes of Jarno Trulli (Lotus) and Timo Glock (Virgin).

Unsurprisingly there have already been rumours one of these drivers might move to the increasingly competitive Renault next year as the team enjoy a resurgence in form.

Then there are the newer drivers who have come into the sport recently such as Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Lucas di Grassi. Have any of these done enough to merit a drive with what could be a race-winning car next year?

And what of Kubica’s former BMW team mate Nick Heidfeld? His time spent tyre testing for Pirelli will surely make him an attractive pick for the team, along with his decade of F1 race experience.

It’s not easy being an F1 rookie these days as testing opportunities are so limited. Petrov’s best chance of keeping his seat is if he keeps bringing the car home in the points, potentially helping Renault beat Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.

Should they keep their faith in him for next year, or look elsewhere? Should they look beyond the pool of current F1 drivers? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Who should get the second Renault seat in 2011?

  • Adrian Sutil (18%)
  • Jarno Trulli (1%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (7%)
  • Timo Glock (7%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (1%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (0%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (3%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (25%)
  • Nico H?â??lkenberg (1%)
  • Bruno Senna (6%)
  • Karun Chandhok (4%)
  • Sakon Yamamoto (1%)
  • Lucas di Grassi (1%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (17%)
  • Someone else (9%)

Total Voters: 2,739

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165 comments on Who should Renault sign for 2011? (Poll)

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  1. Klien?

    rubens isnt going anywhere. so other than trulli who is on the wayne career wise then only nick heidfeld has achieved more than Klien out of the group above.

    the guy was fast. and was coming on nicely. qualified 7th for his final race in a rubbish red bull in 06. he blew away liuzzi so i was amazed that he was given another chance but Klien.

    Renaults problem is money apparently. so perhaps if thats the case then they should stick with petrov.

    but either nick for his pirelli knowledge or Klien. maybe Glock.

    • Bruno Senna because i would just like to see what he could do with a decent car not that the hrt is bad or anything but you never know he still has time to develop his skills and live up to the senna name.

      • Speed Damon said on 6th September 2010, 14:30

        Why isn’t Kobayashi under consideration? He’s put in some solid drives this year e.g Valencia and is good in quali

  2. I’m going to say Nick Heidfeld.

  3. Kimi Raikkonen (I wish he would just forget about money)

    • I don’t think Kimi cares about the money half as much is made out personally.

      I think he drove the highest price because that’s what all drivers should do plus he really wanted to go rallying. We’d hear things like how he demanded too much money, then it was the PR days that were a problem, there always seemed like some excuse. If he wanted to race in F1 he’d have taken the Mclaren deal. He’s done with F1 now he has his title. I’ll be surprised if he comes back or even wants to come back.

      • I think your absolutely right there. Sure Raikkönnen wanted much money and hardly any PR work from McLaren, that was to see how far would they go, not because he was very keen to drive for them.

        Kimi is finsished with F1, he has the WDC title, and now he is doing something new and exiting, where there is a new challenge for him.
        He is smiling a lot and doing more PR work than he did in his years at Ferrari combined. What could any team offer him? Maybe he would be interested in Virgin, for the Virgin Galaxy experience, but otherwise nothing inspiring in it.

    • patrickl said on 3rd September 2010, 12:55

      I think his manager went for the money, but Kimi wanted the team with a chance to go for the championship.

      So his manager had a great possible deal at Toyota, but Kimi didn’t think they’d be competitive.

      In the end Kimi is not after just the money.

      • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 3rd September 2010, 12:58

        I think the reason he didn’t drive for McLaren this year was basically he was bored of F1 and unless McLaren were going to pay him more to drive than Ferrari were for him not to drive he wasn’t going to bother.

        I’d love to see Kimi back but he nothing left to prove in F1, if he could become moderately successful in rallying that would boost his reputation far more.

        • F1iLike said on 3rd September 2010, 13:37

          I think the reason Kimi didn’t drive for Mclaren this year is cuss Mclaren thought it would be cool to have the two most recent World Champions and plus their from GB. Kinda a Mclaren dream team for them. Pretty superficial. But that’s Mclaren for you :)

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd September 2010, 23:30

            Not as bad as making up a reason why someone did something, then using it to judge them.

          • Funny reasoning, maybe McLaren were not that much convinced of his drive to race, something Button was offering (and being the champ, and being cheaper). I do think Ads21 is closer to the truth here than you are.

    • Yeah I would love Kimi to be in that Renault.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 3rd September 2010, 18:25

      See you didn’t put Kimi Raikkonen on the list this time Keith. If you had, he’d have 99.9% of the vote by now.

  4. Nehpets said on 3rd September 2010, 12:25

    Someone should tell Sakon Yamamoto that voting in this poll won’t get him a drive with Renault.

    I think they should definitely give Petrov more time. He has been the most impressive rookie this year for me, granted, he has the best car but he has had some very impressive moments.

    • dyslexicbunny said on 3rd September 2010, 15:51

      I agree completely. There really isn’t a point in bringing up a rookie to your team then if you give up on them after one season. As much as I would say that a minimum of three seasons should be enough time to evaluate talent, I speculate most teams would only accept two.

      Petrov has been impressive enough and after struggling in Turkey, Canadia, and Valencia, he’s stepped up his game.

      I have no idea why Yamamoto was an option. He should have just been under “someone else”.

      • Casanova said on 5th September 2010, 19:24

        I agree – Petrov has certainly done enough to keep his seat in my opinion. I particularly enjoyed his pass on Webber earlier in the season and Rosberg in Spa.

        • Casanova said on 5th September 2010, 19:27

          Oh yes, and I want Petrov still to be in F1 next year, as every time I read the FOM contraction of his name during the TV coverage (PET) I read it to myself in a Geordie accent…

  5. I would love to see Kamui Kobayashi in the second car.
    As we saw last year and at times this year, with a good car, as the Renault now is, he can produce some very good results and seems to have the racing brain needed despite his relatively young age and low experience.

    • ledzep4pm (@ledzep4pm) said on 3rd September 2010, 14:45

      Definalty a rising star and has shown he can be consistent this year with a struggling sauber. A seat at the 4th team ( Renault) is just what he needs

    • Andy W said on 3rd September 2010, 18:15

      I agree Kobi is an interesting talent and certainly a driver with prospects… but so is Petrov, he has had a number of great drives this season and has shown he can race.

      My fears are that if Petrov looses his Renault seat he could well be out of F1, and he certainly deserves more of a chance.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 3rd September 2010, 18:20

        I agree. I’d rather see Kobi in the faster car, but if Petrov looses his seat he may loose out altogether, and they really both deserve to be in F1 (probably more so than some established drivers on the grid).

    • Petrov is very similar to Kobayashi in many ways. It will be interesting to see the two of them develop over the coming years, I expect them to both become top drivers.

      Petrov is well suited at Renault (his $35M is especially well suited), Kobayashi could use a bit more time in a Sauber to build up experience (nothing like spending every race, week-in and week-out in the middle and back of the back fighting other drivers and your own car)

  6. Robert McKay said on 3rd September 2010, 12:31

    If he wants the drive, give it to Sutil.

    If not, ask Glock, or Heidfeld given his insider info on the Pirellis.

    I do actually like Petrov, I think he’s shown enough flashes of speed to merit being in Formula 1, and I won’t be unhappy if he’s still there next season – when he should do a better job.

    But when you look at the table this season, with a better second driver Renault would easily be ahead of Mercedes in the WCC – and still might overhaul them regardless.

    • Andy W said on 3rd September 2010, 18:22

      following that logic there is no room for rookies in any team… because every team is trying to compete for points, and if they aren’t then they shouldn’t be in the sport.

      I really think the FIA needs to address the issue of rookie drivers and create a mechanism to give them more in car and on track experience. An obvious idea to me would be to have an extra practice session available at race weekends where only rookie drivers are allowed to practice (with extra tyres given for use in that session only). I would also suggest that teams on zero points (this could be increased as the season progresses) can also take part to allow the back marker teams a chance to close up on the front runners.

      • I am sure that is exactly the reason why top teams are now reluctant to put Rookies in their cars.

        Good job on Renault they gave Petrov a chance (even if money and PR strategy were behind that), it would not make sense to drop him now when he has learnt the hardest lessons and can only improve. I think they will keep PEtrov.

        And I agree with your thougths on allowing testing for rookies (drivers and teams) to learn the ropes.

        • Nice idea guys….but can you create a watertight definition of a rookie that will not be abused by some smartass ?

  7. voted Glock as he is not happy at Virgin either and really hope its not Sutil… without Sutil Force India would be destroyed…

  8. Richard Brown said on 3rd September 2010, 12:34

    Kovalienen for me. He’ll thrive now in a far more responsibly/non-Briatore run team, compared to his rookie season with them. Plus, he now has 4 seasons of experience and wisdom under his belt, and his determined yet humble personality would compliment Kubica well.

    That said, given he’s happily put up with Lotus this year, he’ll probably be keen to see the fruits of their first full car development in 2011.

    • Victor. said on 3rd September 2010, 14:07

      I agree. Apart from that I think he’s a hugely underrated driver. His McLaren years killed his reputation, and although I agree with the fact that Lewis totally outshone him, I think that the surrounding didn’t exactly suit him. Neither seemed the car – his Lotus performance this year seems to show that.

      Moreover, he won’t demand an unreasonable sum of money, and neither will he suffer with Kubica being no.1 too much.

      Apart from that I really like him :).

      • Button’s experience is rehabiliting him a little bit. Button is no faster than Hamilton in relative terms than was Kovalainen, though Button may be a better and more consistent in the races.

    • dyslexicbunny said on 3rd September 2010, 16:09

      I’d love to see him at a more competitive team. But at the same time, I’d love to see him stay with Lotus and help them continue to develop. I’m really fine whatever he does.

      • daykind (@) said on 4th September 2010, 17:12

        I like Kovalainen, and after 2007 I tipped him as a future world champion. He must find a strong team, like Reanult, and would benefit from someone like Kubica as a team mate, but I voted for Petrov.

        • daykind (@) said on 4th September 2010, 17:14

          I like Kovalainen, and after 2007 I tipped him as a future world champion. He must find a strong team, like Reanult*, and would benefit from someone like Kubica as a team mate, but I voted for Petrov


    • J.A. Brown said on 5th September 2010, 13:51

      It makes no sense for anyone in a new team to leave that team after one year. In the second year, the fruits of the first year’s development can be reaped.

  9. Alex Bkk said on 3rd September 2010, 12:35

    I like Pets style. He needs a bit more experience, but with testing bans I can’t see Renault signing anyone else.

  10. Romain Grosjean

  11. Petrov. He’s shown speed to beat Kubica at Hungary…not just in the race but the full weekend he was quicker. He has the hardest teammate out of the rookies and has any other rookie (minus HRT as they’re both newbies apart from Sakon but let’s not even go there) so thoroughly beaten their teammate on a weekend? I can’t recall.

    He’s made some silly errors but he lacks experience. He more than made up for his qualifying bludner in Spa by his storming and clever drive. Spa and China showed he has great race craft. and He brings a whole new market and fan base and it would be an absolute waste of a year if he wasn’t signed.

    What are the options? Virgin said last weekend Timo was sticking with them. Sutil? He’s the 4th best German on the grid, possibly 5th if you rank Timo higher, he’s doing well this year but basically all that requires is for him not to crash and to beat Liuzzi who is hardly a champion. Heidfeld? If Renault are moulding the team around Kubica he isn’t an obvious number 2 as he beat Kubica last time they were together plus the two drivers require very different things from the car. It depends how desperate they are for tyre information.

    Petrov shows the best promise out of all the other alternatives and brings something on the market/commercial side,

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 3rd September 2010, 13:01

      Pretty much 100% agree with Steph.

      Would love to see Heidfeld get an F1 drive again but I don’t think having the contrasting styles of Kubica and Heidfeld would work.

      • Ben Curly said on 3rd September 2010, 14:01

        Oh, come on, he’s the only rookie to beat his teammate only once. All the other rookies managed better ;)

        Just kidding. He’s a good driver, probably most promising from the new bunch, but right now he’s far from Robert. Vitaly had one really good weekend in Hungary, and Robert had a bad one. It happens. Don’t think it was a benchmark race.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 3rd September 2010, 13:07

      Petrov is this year costing Renault 4th in the campionship. He has less than 5 times the points that Kubica has. An while he is improving no team with their eyes on race wins and truly making waves and the sharp end of the table can afford a driver so far off the pace of his team mate. Kubica might be pretty special but if Petrov has scored half the points he had Renault would be a comfortable fourth, it’s the reason Heikki Kovalinen had no place at McLaren after 08, theres no room for beeing off the pace at the top, you can’t have one driver 1st and the other seventh.

      Petrov doesn’t deserve a top seat for 19 points, thats a riduculously poor return, he is being beaten by Kobayashi for crying out loud.

      As for Sutil, you do him down too much, he has this year outwitted both Hamilton and Vettle driving superior cars than he, Liuzzi ain’t great but he’s experianced and Sutils handed him a giant thrashing, he’s beating Schumacher in the championship and the race where his car should be strongest is next. In fact looking at the championship standings it’s Sutil whose in contention to be best-of-the rest beating man who was originally held to be a championship contender.

      Petrov deserves an F1 drive, maybe one day a top drive, but no one 85 points behind his teamate, being beaten by another rookie in a car as much as a second slower thatn his deserves a top seat.

      • The problem is the testing ban. Heikki had testing and a year at Renault so I don’t think it is fair to compare the two.

        Points don’t always reveal the full story. Kobayashi also has an easier teammate, they have Key now and the car has also came on leaps and bounds. I don’t think it’s the best to compare rookies against each other, against their teammates and how well they do on that front eys but they have different circumstance and equipment and some just require more time. It’s pace and race craft. Petrov’s mightily upped his game in the second part of the season.

        Sutil has good racing craft on occassion (he’s sued the Fi’s top speed well and been clever enough to defend very well in Mal and Silv) but he didn’t do anything to make Fisi think he should retire before. It was Fisi who got the pole and took on the Ferrari at Spa. Sutil’s been here for a while now and yet he’s never looked like moving up in the F1 world. Liuzzi has experience but so does Yamamoto and Klien but they are fairly useless too.

        Renault gave up on 4th in the constructor’s the day they hired a rookie. If they get 4th it’s a massive achievement but if they don’t it’s perfectly understandable I think. Right now, they need to start building a winning team and Petrov has shown he can take on the field. He just needs experience.

        • Scribe (@scribe) said on 3rd September 2010, 13:56

          Fisi did very well to get that Pole and podium, he was in great form that weekend. However for most of the year the car was easily slowest or 2nd slowest and Sutil threatened points many times, partiularly Germany, often he was wiped out in situations that wern’t his fault.

          Regardless however much you think the C29 has come on it’s still and always has been vaslty inferior to the Renault, an Koba is still getting more out of it that Petrovs getting out of his car.

          Petrov hasn’t shown the qualities required by a championship chasing team, the testing bans fault it may be and the talent he may have but top teams don’t carry baggage, Petrovs racecraft appears to consist of CHARGE and nothing else, some times this works out and he gets minor points, mostly not.

          Finally Petrov is no use to Kubica, who needs help and experiance on the otherside of the garrage to help with development and set up, Glock or Sutil, both highly intelligent and experianced would benefit the Renaults speed and set up far more than someone in their second full season ever could.

          Renault is now a top team again, they don’t need to think about the plight of F1 rookies, they can reach out and get the best available and the best fit for themselves. Petrov is no where near the best Renault can get, so sod him, this F1, if he deserves a drive he can learn his craft and the bottom of the ladder like most people then work his way up.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 3rd September 2010, 14:01

            Ohh incidentally what do you think about Barrichello? Huh? hear me out:

            Proven race winner, praised as giving some of the best technical feedback on the grid, incredbile at setting up his car and indeed providing set ups for the other guy, fanatastic championship support if you don’t tell him thats whats happening, an great at getting the best out of the car and brining in maxiumum constructors when the overs lads having an off day.

          • I still don’t think we can compare drivers in different cars so well. Massa looks crap compared to Kubica but Kubica’s car was made for him, it fits like a glove and he’s a fussy boy. Massa’s been off form anyway but you can only really compare him to Alonso like we can only compare Kobasyhi to dlr.

            I think he is the best they can get. Glock’s tied in with Virgin it seems and Sutil is better temporarily but I don’t think long term and certainly Petrov brings more because of his Russian connection.

            Scribe I love debating with you but I think we could be at this all day :) I do see where you’re coming from though.

            Barrichello? Agree with everything you say about him. A good choice for Renault but Williams seem to love him. It would be a good choice and I’d support it but I don’t think it’ll happen.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 3rd September 2010, 17:48

            Yes Rubiho’s latest move does seem somewhat far fetched, alas.

            Also was Kubicas car really made for him? The R30 was developed mainly at the end of Alonso’s time, it may have been upgraded for him. Still Petrov’s lack of imput does mean it’ll stay Kubica’s car hmm.

          • Sorry my fault there for not being clear I didn’t mean literally made for him I meant that it suits his style perfectly.

            I think Rubens would do better at Renault however, I’m happy he’s at Williams. I don’t think Williams aree turning into the down and outs Tyrell saddly did but they need a serious boost. Rubens passion, experience and speed can help them as while Hulk grows.

    • Anybody could have performed better than Petrov with the speed the Renault has.

    • Errr hardest teammate out of the rookies? What about Hulkenberg, it’s not although Rubens is a pushover. Petrov can’t hold a candle to Kubica, he really should be doing better than he is, even when you discount his schoolboy errors (spinning in Q1). He just isn’t F1 material.

      • Yes the hardest teammate. Kubica rated as a future champ. Rubens is still damn good but even in his prime he wasn’t rated as high as Kubica.

        Petrovn actually can hold a candle to him as he thoroughly beat him at Hungary :P

  12. xtophe (@xtophe) said on 3rd September 2010, 12:36

    Keep Petrov or take in Sutil in my opinion.

  13. I voted Senna… he should get a chance even though he hadnt shown anything special this year…

    Although Sutil is probably the best option by far… (Vitaly had a spectacular weekend at Budapest, but thats about it)

  14. Icarus said on 3rd September 2010, 12:41

    I’m going with the Romain Grosjean option too.

  15. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 3rd September 2010, 12:48

    Anthony Davidson.

    Why? Because why not, eh?

  16. Felipe Massa – a swap with Kubica :)

    • graigchq said on 3rd September 2010, 13:02

      i saw an article on planetf1 about that, rumours that Kubica and Massa could swap places for 2011 – even though both have signed for Ferrari/Renault already.

      Personally, i think that would be Kubica’s worst career move possible, unless Alonso is taken out of the rankings somehow.

      Any driver paired with him will have to deal with this toy-out-the-pram-throwing antics, and Kubica – like Hamilton before – has the skill needed to beat him. If Kubica was next to Alonso in the Ferrari, there will be fireworks, and unfortunately, Alonso will get what he wants, cos he always does. Stay with Renault, and beat Alonso from there. That’ll annoy him more than anything!

  17. patrickl said on 3rd September 2010, 13:01

    I’m amazed so many people vote Petrov. He’s just not good enough and he needs to grow first. The deal that was rumoured to put Petrov in Lotus sounds a lot better than keeping him struggling in a Renault.

    he might have shown some occasional nice overtakes or things like that, but come on. He has 19 points when Kubica has 104.

    Renault just can’t afford to have a rookie in their team. Atthe very least it’s bad for the constructors championship. Also, Kubica was complaining that Petrov (being a rookie) is no help in setting up the car and in his feedback to the team.

    With two experienced drivers they could get a lot more work done and ultimately have a better car. This would help them both in the WDC and the constructors.

    That Renault is the 4th car yet they are 5th in the standings because of Petrov. A position higher in the constructors championship might even give them more money than that Petrov brings in through sponsor money.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 3rd September 2010, 13:10

      Agree with all of this, Petrov doesn’t have the nouse to support Kubica, the speed to support Renault, the experiance or temprement to keep it out of the wall or really any of the qualities deserving a top seat.

      Glock Sutil one of the two. Glock probably better to support Renaults championship tilt.

      • But next year Petrov will be better than now, he knows the team, the car, his team mate, the tracks, i.e. he will not be a rookie anymore.
        So a lot of the mistakes will be cut out, the racecraft can stay and he will have more experience to get the most out of the car during quallifying.
        To me it makes no sense to go for a rookie (and risk throwing away points with that) and then dump him for the next year, unless he is seriously disappointing.

        But Sutil might be a good choise as well, as Glock seems to feel committed to another year of Virgin.

    • sumedh said on 3rd September 2010, 17:17


      Petrov is being out-scored 5:1 in the same car, and we aren’t even sure if the car is really that slow as much as we readers make it out to be. Perhaps the Renault is indeed quicker than Mercedez but Petrov is just slow.

      I would still prefer Nick Heidfeld as Kubica’s teammate.
      Remember, next year the weight limit is going to be increased by 15 kgs so, whatever disadvantage Kubica had in 2009 due to KERS will be lesser next year. Plus, Nick brings in knowledge of the Pirelli tyres which is a big plus especially in the first year. Also, Nick will be cheaper for the Renault team as Nick is bound to be desperate for a drive at this stage of the career.

      Their driving styles might be different but that is not a problem which cannot be solved. Mclaren are doing an incredible job providing a competitive car to both its drivers whose styles are quite different. No reason why Renault can’t do it.

    • Then again, I heard the Lotus will be Renault-powered next year. Perhaps Petrov may swap with either of the Lotus drivers?

      • Jarred Walmsley said on 4th September 2010, 11:40

        I think thats the plan, put Petrov in a lower car so he can gain experience and then take him back later on to boost their performance

  18. I would love to see Kamui Kobayashi in the second car.
    As we saw last year and at times this year, with a good car, as the Renault now is, he can produce some very good results and seems to have the racing brain needed despite his relatively young age and low experience.

    Second that, nobody from the list above would excite me as a team manager.

  19. claudioff said on 3rd September 2010, 13:02

    I always thought the comparision between Hülkenberg and Pretov very unfair. Despite of the fact that Williams isn´t in its glorious days, no one is questionning if they are going to be in the grid next year. Frank has already said that Hukenberg is the future of Williams. On the other side, Renault is struggling for survivor. All atention is going to Kubica. Briattore is already history, but the habit of orbiting the team around only one pilot is still there. I think the Kubica´s team mate, if choosen from the above list, is going to have a tough time. On top of it, Kubica is driving brilliantly. I voted for Heidfeld.

  20. verstappen said on 3rd September 2010, 13:05

    Ho Pin Tung or Guido van der Garde.
    Just being chauvinistic.

    In the real world I think Perez would be a good choice, also from a sponsorship point of view (get him before Sauber does)

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