Petrov to remain at Renault in 2011 and 2012

2011 F1 season

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 2010

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 2010

Vitaly Petrov has extended his contract to race with Renault for another two seasons.

The Russian driver confirmed the deal in a press conference in Moscow today. He said:

I am very happy to continue with the team and proud to be representing Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

I learned a lot about the sport, the circuits and the car this year. That will help me improve even more in the future. I am very excited about working with this great team once more, and I?m confident that I will deliver.

In many ways, 2010 was about learning. 2011 will be about performing. Today, I feel I am ready to rise to this challenge.
Vitaly Petrov

The news means Renault have both Robert Kubica and Petrov signed until the end of 2012.

Team chairman Gerard Lopez said:

We’re delighted to have Vitaly on board for another two years. Last season, he showed on several occasions that he clearly has the potential to deliver. It was just a matter of putting everything together during the same weekend, race after race, and this will be his target for 2011.

Also, thanks to Vitaly and the team, Russia is opening up to Formula 1. Over the past few months, we’ve established close links with this country and with some of its strongest companies. We’re looking forward to building on this special relationship and turning it into a very successful adventure over the next two seasons.
Gerard Lopez

Team principal Eric Boullier added:

We are very pleased to confirm that Vitaly will be staying with us for 2011 and 2012, in order that both he and the team can build on a promising 2010 campaign.

The entire team has been working flat out over the past months to improve our competitiveness, and a stable driver line-up is essential to achieving our targets. Robert Kubica provides a remarkable benchmark for both speed and consistency, and we are certain that Vitaly will move closer to this level of performance next year.
Eric Boullier

Renault issued the following Q&A with Petrov:

Vitaly, how does it feel to be confirmed at Lotus Renault GP?
It feels great. I learned so much this year and I know that I can come back stronger in 2011. I’m extremely proud to be part of this team and I’m determined to repay the faith they have shown in me.

Looking back on your rookie season, what did you enjoy the most?
There were a lot of special moments. The race in Shanghai is something that I will always remember when I overtook Schumacher and Webber to score my first points. Then, the first time I made Q3 in Turkey was an important step for me. And, of course, the race in Hungary was probably my best weekend when everything came together for me.

How has your life change since you became an F1 driver?
There’s a lot more travelling and not a lot of time for myself, but I will never complain because I love what I’m doing. I still feel like a boy at Christmas every time I get in the car. Life is not as easy as people think, of course, and there’s a lot more to F1 than driving the car, but it’s an amazing experience and I know I’m lucky to be one of just 24 drivers on the grid.

Do you feel at home at Lotus Renault GP?
Yes, definitely. Previous drivers have always said that there is a special atmosphere here and I have to say I agree with them. The team is very warm, friendly and open, and I get on really well with the guys.

Can you feel the growing support for F1 from Russia?
Definitely. I get more support from my country every week. In fact, recently one of the major lifestyle magazines included me in their top ten most attractive single men of Russia! You can feel that the sport is becoming more popular and soon we will have our own Grand Prix, which will create ore interest. Even our prime minister, Mr Putin, got a taste of F1 when he tried a Renault F1 car earlier this year.

What will be the main challenges of 2011?
There are quite a few changes that we have to adapt to as a team: new tyres, moveable rear wings and KERS, which I’ve never used before. There’s even a new race in India. So there are some things to adapt to, but they should improve the show and make for better racing. I’ve already seen the new car in the wind tunnel and it looks very promising. I also love our new colours and can’t wait to get back in the car and go racing.

What do you hope to achieve in your second season?
My objective is to continue improving as a driver and to become more consistent. There were times this year when I made mistakes and lost points, and I know this is where I can improve. I think I showed that I have the speed, but I need to be consistent over the whole weekend and get the maximum from every session.

What is your plan over the next couple of months before testing begins in February?
I was thinking about spending a few days in Maranello this winter, but I have been told it probably wasn’t the best idea… Seriously, after a busy year I’m taking the time to go back home and see my family and friends. It’s also the time to recharge my batteries so that I can come back fresh next year. I’m already working hard on my fitness and doing lots of training to be ready for the start of the season. Then, in January, I will be at the factory to see my engineers and for my seat-fit in the new car.

View the list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams.

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111 comments on Petrov to remain at Renault in 2011 and 2012

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  1. Yaroslav said on 22nd December 2010, 12:05

    Very Good!

  2. Thanks for this!

    I struggle to see any motivation bar money behind this move. I am disappointed. I think the drive would be better suited to Heidfeld.

    The pieces are now starting to fall in, I think Force India will announce Sutil and Hulkenberg before New Year as well, which is a massive shame for di Resta.

    Hope to see the Malaysia/Abu Dhabi spec Petrov next year more than the “crash happy” Petrov that showed up so often last year.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:14

      I think the drive would be better suited to Heidfeld.

      Heidfeld has had plenty of chances and has never made good on them. He has, at most, one season left in him. He’s admitted that he didn’t hit the ground running in the 2010 cars because they were alien to him, and he’s expressed interest in BMW’s DTM plans for 2012.

      • Though I understand what you’re saying, I feel Heidfeld has always performed. He matched Kubica at BMW, and nearly always beat his other team-mates. He has, I think, 8 (from memory) 2nd places and the win was so close!

        I’m disappointed. Though, as you say, Heidfeld has now had his chance, but I think he would’ve been a far better choice that Petrov.

      • I think that’s a bit harsh, but your right, Heidfeld is close to the end of his F1 racing years, Where as Petrov, even if not a great performer so far, has time to improve.

        Having said that, I’m of two minds. I don’t think he did well enough this year, but I’m happy for once they didn’t get rid of a new driver before he’s had a chance. I just hope Hulk gets a seat as well.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 22nd December 2010, 20:17

          Agreed. I feel a bit torn as well, since he really hasn’t earned two more years there, but it’s nice to see a team hang onto a driver and give them the chance to improve rather than kick them to the curb at the first mistake.

    • This tells me two things:

      1. Genii needed the money.
      2. Group Lotus has little to no money.

      Otherwise, they would’ve gone for a Heidfeld.

      Still, Petrov has good potential, as seen in Sepang, Budapest, and Abu Dhabi.

    • If he won’t perform like in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, then that’s a shame for Renault, that challenge for podiums, to have a driver out of contention for podiums.

    • Andy W said on 22nd December 2010, 20:56

      I think Petrov showed some real sparks of talent, F1 as incredibly tough on Rookies this season and they all made mistakes but I think Petrov might have it.

      I really hope di Resta gets a drive, he has shown enough in free practice to merit it… however Hulk also had a tough season but showed enough to me that I want to see what he could do given more time.

      Anyway congratulations to Petrov, I am surprised they signed for 2 years… but if he doesn’t cut it his contract won’t save him.

  3. Seems that any old Joe Bloggs can race in F1 nowadays.

  4. Brilliant!

    Long live Petrov! I hope he will show his best next season and blame his foes!

  5. Xezar (@xezar) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:19

    What a waste of good seat and money.

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:19

    2 years is too big a deal for him though he deserve this. I think 2012 deal have more to do for a Russian GP & sponsor with the team.So now built a good car & he a Kubica fight for it.

    • bosyber said on 22nd December 2010, 14:38

      Of course, in F1 a two year deal might end tomorrow, so I think this is more a vote of some confidence in Petrov and a please commit to any sponsors he might entice.

  7. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:21

    I’m confused, what are we to call this team now. Because aren’t Lotus Racing, Team Lotus Renault?

    So these are Lotus Renault GP?

    I know this has been going on for a while, I just got fed up and stopped following, now I find myself lost!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:26

      Lotus Racing have change their name to Team Lotus and carry Renault engines. Lotus Cars have done a deal with Renault F1 and are now known as Lotus Renault GP.

      • smifaye (@smifaye) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:30

        Yeah, so Team Lotus Renault and Lotus Renault GP. Thanks PM!

        • The green/yellow car is Lotus.
          the black/gold car is Renault.
          Epic Fail.

          • Not Renault, it will be Lotus, same as BMW Sauber was Sauber last season.

          • The Last Pope said on 23rd December 2010, 3:41

            This is right.
            Lotus Renault GP – Renault. Will be known as the Renault team, Kubica and Petrov will drive Renault cars.

            Team Lotus – Renault. Will be talked about as Lotus.

            @ d-d, Thats a completly different case. BMW Sauber was known as Sauber in 2010 becase they have always been Sauber and its in their team name, BMW was not said often because it made no sense to.

            A better example is. A Benneton was still a Benneton even when Renault had taken over in 2001. Also a Jordan was still a Jordan in 2005 even though Midland had taken over pre season.

            As mentioned before by others, To call a Renault a Lotus in 2011 is the same as calling a Mclaren a Vodefone, a Ferrari a Marlboro, a Mercedes a Petronas.

            Marussia motors is in the same position with Virgin as Lotus Group are with Renault. No one is suggesting that we call the Virgin cars Marussias now are they?

        • No they are:

          Team Lotus-Renault (The Team Formerly Known As Lotus Racing-Cosworth)

          Lotus Renault GP (The Team Formerly Known As Renault F1)

  8. Sush Meerkat said on 22nd December 2010, 12:22

    but they should improve the show and make for better racing.

    No, just no Petrov.

    *rolls up newspaper* BAD F1 DRIVER BAD!

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:22

    I’m happy he’s back in. 2010 was a mixed bag for Petrov, and I disagreed with the ranking he got in the Top 27 drivers. I think there’s a little bit of Ari Vatanen in him: he’ll get a result or die trying. Some of his accidents came from pushing just a little bit too hard. If I were a team principal, that’s how I’d want my drivers to write their cars off – by trying to find that extra something. Much better than the Nico Hulkenbergs of the grid, making foolhardy mistakes when any other driver would see that the pass is never going to stick.

    Hopefully Petrov can tap into whatever possessed him in Turkey, Hungary and Abu Dhabi next season. It was immediately apparent that he was onto a good thing as soon as he hit the ground on all three weekends; he just needs to channel is on a regular basis and I think he could one day lead a team.

    • Duchess said on 22nd December 2010, 14:11

      +1 to this comment. Hopefully this year he’ll have more chances for testing so he can actually get acclimated to the car before being shoved into the race. Now that he knows all of the circuits, we should expect to see improved performance.

      • bosyber said on 22nd December 2010, 14:40

        I do hope this happened, and that the new two year contract makes him less stressed into delivering the wrong things – he did show good things, let him increase the rate of those and stop the over eager mistakes.

    • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 22nd December 2010, 14:13

      Totally agree. In WRC they basically expect to spend the first year dragging their car out of the scenery, because that’s the only way to find where the limits are. See McRae, Gronholm, … Raikonnen…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2010, 14:50

      I agree on Petrov deserving a second season to prove himself. I just hope he cuts out the mistakes fast and we will not be speaking about him as we refer to Sutil in a few years (doing so after 4 years).

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 22nd December 2010, 14:59

      It’s so difficult to rate Petrov. On the one hand he was comprehensively beaten by Kubica. On the other hand, can we even compare Petrov to Kubica? Favouritism within the team aside (as i’m sure all number one drivers receive certain benefits), Kubica is possibly one of the most exciting drivers we have seen in F1. He is as fast as Alonso or Hamilton but driving a slower car. It’s kind of unfair to rate Petrov in that respect.

      Petrov drove some good races this year – and notably in Abu Dhabi withstood some serious pressure from Alonso and didn’t make a mistake. He deserves another season in F1 certainly. 2 seasons though? Well, Renault better have some faith in him – unless they are simply wanting some continuity in the team for when Kubica goes to Ferrari….!

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 22nd December 2010, 20:25

        Or was the Renault even better than anyone rated it this year, Kubica was really only as good as say a Button or Webber, and Petrov is terrible? It’s difficult to compare different cars in F1. I do think Kubica probably overachieved what the car was capable of though…

        • Whatever your rating of Petrov and Kubica to drivers in different cars, it’s fairly clear that Renault was probably 5th in pace over the season, an the only reason Renault had the chance to beat Merc, was Merc had their own driver off the pace.

          Regardless, it’s also clear that Kubica was a HELL of a lot better than Petrov this year, OMG he destroyed him. An this is my biggest problem with Petrov, Glock.

          Glocks a GP2 champion from a talented year, a fantastic driver at Toyota when the car was up to it, even better at Virgin, even thought the car was never up to it. If they wanted results they could have had Glock, truly challenging Kubica and pushing him further than he’s likley to go against Petrovs prang magnet. Probably make enough of a differance in the constructors to be worth it.

  10. zarathustra said on 22nd December 2010, 12:25

    And I thought Lotus Renault GP seriously wanted to fight for title next year…

  11. Girts (@girts) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:28

    Good news, I think this is the right choice. Money most probably played a big role in this decision but I believe that Petrov has the potential to become a very good driver. He definitely deserves another chance. Yes he made too many mistakes and collected too few points but one has to remember the circumstances in which he joined Renault and in which he had to spend his 1st season. The testing was very limited and Petrov was a clear number 2 in the team from the very beginning. If there was a sunny day during February tests then Kubica got to drive even though the initial plan was to give the car to Petrov. And this happened on more than just one occasion. Gerard Lopez openly admitted that Renault wanted to build the team around Kubica. I guess that Petrov sometimes did not get the latest updates to the car as well.

    I expect Petrov to perform better in 2011 and I think that we will see more performances similar to the ones he showed in Malaysia, Hungary or Abu Dhabi this year.

  12. P. Rippon said on 22nd December 2010, 12:29

    He will support Kubica well but I bet my wallet – Kubica to Ferrari before the middle of the season!!

  13. seems like money mainly.. but he aint a bad driver.
    He now has to show everyone what he can do..

  14. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:42

    In fact, recently one of the major lifestyle magazines included me in their top ten most attractive single men of Russia!

    I am not kidding you on this one: a major lifestyle magazine here in Australia recently included one of my cousins as one of the top ten most attractive single men of the country (for those of you playing at home, he created Beached Az), and the guys there were so attractive that I wanted to date them. For a moment.

    Now, I admit to being a Petrov fan … but, well, the dude looks like he’s been worked over with a larger-than-regulation-size ugly stick. Speaks volumes to the quality of their men. Strangely enough, their women are fantastic.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:45

      I was thinking about spending a few days in Maranello this winter, but I have been told it probably wasn’t the best idea…

      What he lacks in looks, he more than makes up for in the humour department. Am I the only one who found this hilariously funny?

      Maybe I’ve been hanging out with the Russians for too long …

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:52

        I like that :-)

        Drivers with a sense of humour = A Good Thing

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:58

          Oh, absolutely. That story about someone replacing Nico Rosberg’s passport photograph with Britney Spears’ photo reminded me of the days when Senna and Berger were so busy playing pranks on one another that it was a wonder they had time to race. In the ultra high-pressure world of Formula 1, drivers who can laugh at themselves are always welcome.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 22nd December 2010, 23:29

            Or Kobayashi saying the reason he’s so fearless at overtaking is because his small Japanese eyes make it so that he doesn’t actually even see the drivers he’s overtaking and simply drives right past them.

      • bosyber said on 22nd December 2010, 14:42

        Yes, I do like the bits of interview we saw with him this year, intelligent, and not taking himself too serious.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2010, 14:55

        So in the end we find out, he was thinking of beating Kubica to the Ferrari seat! Impressive thinking ahead.

        I got the feeling Petrov will be a nice addition to the field. Sounds great, with Webbers interesting remarks, Hamilton starting to open up, Button always good for a nice soundbite, Kobayashi being quit a nice guy making jokes, Petrov with humour, Rosberg being pranked by his engineer, and Schumacher being more open to the media as well.

    • marsianwalrus (@einariliyev) said on 22nd December 2010, 18:23

      their women ARE fantastic

    • I think the reason why he is so popular with the female population might be because when you have the right shots of him, he looks like Mark Hamill. Looking like an actor is always bonus points and while I cannot speak for the girls of that era I assume that dating Luke Skywalker was for those girls who were into Star Wars (apparently they exist…) a nice idea as well.

    • Maciek said on 22nd December 2010, 22:12

      Of course that depends on who you ask. Not everyone’s into the Ken and Barbie looks, you know.

  15. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 22nd December 2010, 12:47

    A two year extension? Wow. Talk about unexpected.

    That’s some serious cash he must be bringing. Petrov did not earn a two year extension by any stretch of the imagination last season. I’m slightly surprised he’s even coming back next year, but I think there was a bit of ‘who else do you sign’ that worked in his favour.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2010, 14:56

      The second year might just be an option or based on pionts gained etc.

    • Mag I’m now automatically seeing puns in your comments. I read part of that as “That’s some serious crash he must be bringing”.

      His cash might not be directly from him but just from Russian companies willing to sponsor Renault again because of him (perhaps why he was allowed to host the press conference rather than Renault?).

      I’m surprised it’s a two year deal though as at the maximum I expected one year for him to be fully up to speed and then a review and whether he’d be in or out.

      On a different note, I’m glad Keith is still calling the team ‘Renault’ as it makes life a lot more simple.

      Congratulations to Prisoner Monkeys who I imagine is beaming and possibly dancing about his room :P

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 22nd December 2010, 23:34

        On a different note, I’m glad Keith is still calling the team ‘Renault’ as it makes life a lot more simple.

        As much as the teams would like it, most journalists don’t refer to them by their sponsors’ names unless they’re trying to impress the team. When was the last time a journalists wrote about “Vodafone McLaren Mercedes” or “Petronas Mercedes GP?” Renault’s chassis and team name are still both Renault, Group Lotus is just a sponsor. Bahar’s definitely implied he’d like to change that in the future though.

    • I completely agree with you Magnificent Geoffrey.

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