Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 2010

Petrov to remain at Renault in 2011 and 2012

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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

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  1. Well he has potential, but as soon as I read the headline I thought sarcastically to myself: “I wonder why he was signed on for two years?” Money? Quite probable. To retain Russian interest in F1 for an extended period due to the proposed 2014 Russian Grand Prix? Definitely. But I still like him a lot, because he is kind of like Kobayashi in that he never backs down from a challenge, and his race in Korea until the unusual crash was actually quite admirable. Good on him, I say. :)

  2. This news is great, although I kind of like Heidfeld but Petrov should have little more time to adapt he has shown that there is a spark in him that can only get bigger. I cant wait to seem him perform on the new Pirelli’s, maybe he will cope with to them much better

  3. In many ways, 2010 was about learning. 2011 will be about performing.

    He hit the nail on the head there. I’m glad he’s retained his seat, he was good to watch in 2010, mistakes included. Look forward to seeing him develop as a driver.

    Good stuff on Log In link at the top Keith.

    1. IMHO he learned absolutely nothing in 2010.

      1. Then you clearly weren’t watching the likes of Turkey, Hungary and Abu Dhabi.

  4. Money obviously was a draw for the team, but Abu Dhabi certainly made the decision to keep Petrov easier. At the start of the season I thought Petrov would flounder after the number of crashes he was involved in, but the amount of time he held Fernando at bay in the end proved the Russian can cut it to a certain extent.
    One suspects more will be expected of him in 2011, but everybody has to start somewhere.

  5. The big news will be if Kubica stays there. Personally I think he and Massa will do a swap.

  6. Well, it’s good to hear that Petrov and his family will retain the use of their fingers.

    But seriously, folks – I do think he deserves another drive. Unfortunately, with the Mario Kart wings, it’s unlikely he’ll be given a chance to prove his mettle the way he did in front of Alonso…

  7. I’m also surprised by all the negative comments here about Petrov. Sure, he was outpaced by Kubica throughout the season but that’s like saying Button was outperformed by Hamilton, or Hulkenberg by Barrichello. He’s a decent driver with a world class team mate, not to mention the fact he’s still a rookie with plenty of room for improvement, which I’m sure he will given the chance.

    I’m glad he’s retained the seat.

    1. I personally think Petrov was the most out of his depth driver on the grid last season. He had the best car of all the rookies and more often than not put in a poor performance.

      His previous experience in other categories is hardly flattering either.

      For me the appointment of Petrov, who is clearly bringing a LOT of money to the team symbolises the fall of a once great team. Sure, they will do better for the money and fair enough, but it’s sad to see them in this position.

      All the best to Petrov for next season though. His poor performances this year appeared to be him struggling with the pressure the team were placing on him to keep his seat for 2011. With that out of the way we may see him perform.

      Bring on 2011.

      1. Agreed, but there has to be a lift on the testing. It’s hard for me to believe that a very good driver can not acclimate to the F1 environment.

        Having said that I can depose several CART or INDY drivers in the mix Yes they were champions in America but they didn’t make it in F1. There is something about F1 that is unique above all over venues. Jacques got it done, but he didn’t beat Hill to a WDC.

        Pet isn’t the league of even the best 2nd motor racing series.
        Pet is in F1 because of the money he can bring to Renault.

        Niki Lauda used to get loans from banks to buy a ride… but he was confident that he could pay them back with purses from the wins and so he did.

        Really, what’s Pet got to offer?

  8. I have mixed feeling over this, if Petrov wasn’t a rookie I doubt that he would have been given a second chance. Petrov had some decent races in 2010, but overall he was poor. Boullier should give him only half a season to get his act together, if he doesn’t improve, then he should be fired.

    Petrov was poor in 2010, but as a rookie, I guess he should get a second chance. But if he doesn’t improve by around Silverstone next year, then he shouldn’t be in Formula One.

  9. Its true that he performed badly more then any positive drives. But it was a rookie season and rookies make mistaks. Petrov will need to seriously raise his game next season if hes to last till 2012. Keeping him will atleast give him a chance to impress, which shouldnt be too hard given that he wasnt exactly setting the world alight this season gone.

    Agree with Journeyer, its a money thing more then anything else.

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


  11. “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.”

    Translation. We look forward to $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ from Russia.

    1. So what? Will a Russian GP make the sport better? You can buy a seat… but if all the fans of Russia are pulling for an incompetent driver… how does really help F1. All of my favorite drives are from countries that are not of my natural origins. Yes I am a fan of drivers…but I’m a lover of F1!

      Think of the sport not of where you are from!

      Think about it.

  12. I can’t understand this. Taken in isolation, yes, he showed moments of promise and you could understand giving him another season.

    But surely Hulkenberg, Sutil and Heidfeld would all have jumped at that seat. Hulkenberg is rated highly and looking for a seat. Sutil has an option to remain at Force India for another season but would surely relish the chance to prove himself elsewhere. And Heidfeld has been cast out in the cold again, but remains a reliable, proven talent of the second-from-top drawer. It’s hard to argue that none of them would outperform Petrov.

    This betrays Genii to be running the team from a finance perspective rather than a racing one. Yes, Petrov comes soaked in roubles, but once you put that above racing talent in your driver decision, you lose all credibility in my eyes.

  13. As long as he can bring lotus renault GP or whatever they are called now some money to give Kubica a car to fight for the wins i will be delighted. He really deserves a better seat, but there is nowhere to go really. Ferrari would kill him, Red Bull is filled, so is McLaren and Mercedes.

  14. That can’t be so bad – maybe the team is planning to open a new Petrov-based business, where F1 fans from all over the world could bet how many times he crashes his car in 2011. I suggest:

    1:1,5 – one crash per race
    1:2 – 15 crashes
    1:4 – 10 crashes
    1:10 – 5 crashes
    1:100000000000000 – no crash in season

    Always a good way to earn some extra money. Because money is the most important in racing, right Lotus-Renault?

    1. Oh man. You really have problems with your head. The things that could cost a life for drivers are not a reason for joking.

      Just say that you don’t want to see Petrov because he is a Russian and nothing more. And probably Maldonado or Perez who paid even more then Petrov whould deffinetly be much better candidates for his seat. Just say that or shut up!!!!

      1. Who cares if he’s Russian or not? He’s a bad driver, and doesn’t deserve to be in F1. He had his chance and finished high below expectations.
        Insulting me will not change the fact that it was a money-decision, sorry mate.
        Answering your question, I would rather see Sutil, Hulk or Heidfeld. Speaking of Maldonado, I could bet he will finish the 2011 season with a better result than Petrov.

        1. Ok, I will also bet!! I bet that Vitaly in next season will be near to Kubica, and he scores more then 70% of Robert points!!! Maldonado: I also like this guy. Wish him all the best and hope he will be in F1 many years!!!

          I don’t want to be rough and probably I need to appologize. But Vitaly was the only driver who wasn’t a test driver in F1(like Kobayashi, Hulkenberg or Heidfeld), he never participated in a Karting championship. He just won all championships that were possible in Russia where all cars are identical and then moved to Europe where he also had a success. He had created his career only basing on his talent and only after that (in 2009) some Russian companies understood that he could bring some money to them. That’s because someone called him as “Pay-Driver”. But if you look at his career more closely you will understand that the man who rised from dirt and then reached F1 at least can’t be called as “Bad driver”.

          1. Ok, I confess it was unfair to call him a “bad driver”. I agree he was a monster in Lada Cup/Lada Revolution and started driving well in his last two years in GP2. He made a lot of progress and certainly showed some skills in GP2, but that doesn’t prove that he is also automatically a good F1 driver.
            In my opinion he can’t feel the car. Makes too much mistakes, fears to use the full potential of the vehicle. He may be talented and a good F1 driver in the future but now he needs lots of training – maybe one season as test driver. Certainly not as a second driver in a team that will try to fight with the best.
            Maybe I’m wrong and he magically will improve and start showing us some real action, but that rarely works like this in F1 ;)

  15. The problem for Renault is that Petrov will be learning KERS, movable wing, and new tires all year long… again.

  16. Now Fernando Alfonso has all the winter break to devise better overtaking techniques, because Petrov stays in F1 :D

  17. So how much money is Vitaly bringing in to Renault?

  18. Reno are becoming a joke, first the Lotus deal, now two years for Petrov…
    What was formerly one of my favoured teams have severly dropped in the last month.

  19. I am really pleased Petrov is getting another chance. I want to see what he can do. My gut tells me he’s going to be pretty special for a pay-driver. He just needs more experience; I think he’s got the confidence.

    I never liked Heidfeld. He always gave me the impression of being very average. Not exciting at all, either.

  20. Its very clear that this is so Renault can attract a large amount of Russian sponsors. They don’t care that he’s a D grade driver, this is purely a business decision.

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