Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Romain Grosjean will return to F1 in 2012 as Kimi Raikkonen’s team mate.

The pair will drive for Renault, who are set to become Lotus next year.

The announcement leaves Vitaly Petrov, who signed a two-year contract with the team 12 months ago, without a drive.

Grosjean spent seven races with Renault in 2009, partnering Fernando Alonso. But he was not retained for 2010 and eventually returned to GP2. He won the feeder series championship this year driving for DAMS.

Grosjean said: “There?s a big grin on my face at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of next year?s car, and I feel very privileged to be given this opportunity.

“To be racing alongside a former world champion and someone who is hungry and returning to Formula 1 will be a great experience, and I?m sure will help raise my level of performance too.

“I feel that my successful season in GP2 has helped me mature a lot, and I am a much more complete driver than I was last time I was competing in this sport.

“Returning to Enstone as a race driver feels like coming home. I will not disappoint and I wish to thank all the people without whom this return to F1 would not have been possible. Total, [who have supported] me since 2006, and Gravity Sport Management, are first on this list.”

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “I?m delighted that Romain Grosjean will side [with] Kimi next year.

“Romain has shown a lot of maturity in the past twelve months both through his GP2 Series victory and his development as third driver with us. We were impressed when he drove for us in the first practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

“We are confident that drafting him in to one of our driver?s seats will help us in our rebuilding process. I would like to thank Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team?s performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future.”

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237 comments on “Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen”

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  1. Totally did not see this coming but great news that the star of GP2 this season will get his deserved shot at F1

    Petrov had one good race in Australia but cant think of anything else aside from cash that he’s done to get a F1 seat can see him popping up at the back of the grid if he can outbid some of the young drivers with cash trying to buy a seat.

    Senna on the other hand had some decent runs especially in qualifying in a poor car but will we see him in F1 again? who knows

    Kubica wow hard to see where he’s going to appear through all this if he is fit enough to make a comeback i guess we’ll have to wait on that one.

    Ok so seats left are Suitil, Hulkenburg and Di Resta going for the Force india and the red bull jr team, probably a young Spanish driver in the HRT then everyone else after the faster williams seat

  2. I’m happy for Grosjean, and interested to see what he can do next year. What I don’t understand is the politics at Renault. Exactly what did the team’s statement of ‘Petrov has until December 10 to decide what he wants to do’ mean? At face value, I would take it to mean that Petrov was weighing up his options, and was apparently no longer interested in driving for Renault.

    With regard to Petrov’s outburst, I did not find it that dramatic (he stated that the team had made too many mistakes, which it had, and that he was contractually not allowed to talk about it, which was not so clever), and after Petrov’s apology, Eric Bouillier said that the matter was closed. How much stock should I put in future statements from team Renault?

    Next year will be slightly strange for me in that I would like both Grosjean and Raikkonen to do well, without having much sympathy for (then) Lotus.

    1. I share some of your ideas about the teams credibility in what they say: I don’t really believe Bouillier or Lopez at face value. In that respect I find them worthy successors of Briatore.

      But then again, what F1 team manager would you trust on their word really, if they see a change to get a very good driver, or good money, or technical advantage?

      Makes me just shake my head at it, and think I don’t like the managers, but I wish the guys in the team, including their new drivers, all the best success for next year.

      1. “But then again, what F1 team manager would you trust on their word really”

        Ross brawn :)

  3. Ok so let’s assess possibilities:

    Renault Lotus – Kimi/Grosjean (Didn’t Kimi want to buy a stake in the team? A problem for Williams, but perhaps a means of ejecting Senna/Petrov out of Renault..?)
    Williams – Maldonado/Sutil (?)
    Force India – di Resta/Hulkenberg
    Marussia – Glock/Petrov (?) (The Russian team, with the Russian driver.. Russian GP!)

    I suspect Bruno will find a test drive with a team looking for his sponsorship.

    I can see Ferrari taking Kubica on (he’s manager claimed he is no longer working with Renault) for this year and letting him drive some old Ferrari’s to get back up to speed, timed perfectly for 2013 – the two pals Fernando/Robert!

    1. I suspect Marussia could find a way to demote Pic and give him Friday drives with a promised drive for 2013?

  4. Ok, that’s a seat.

    Now i hope that KR will shake that lousy LRGP team up, cause their recent lack of form was quite appalling !

    I think he’ll compare favourably against KR.

  5. I think this is the latest in a string of mistakes from Eric Boullier. I’m not saying that because I’m a Petrov fan – looking back on some of Boullier’s decisions, I think a split was the best thing for Vitaly.

    – Neither Kimi Raikkonen nor Romain Grosjean bring sponsors to the team. Raikkonen was also said to be asking for a $12 million salary for 2012. Petrov, on the other hand, had $15 million in sponsors to his name. Boullier has left the team some $30 million out of pocket, nearly a quarter of the team’s 2011 budget.
    – The team has a close association with Dany Bahar, who was perhaps the most-hated man in Formula 1 after the war of words with Tony Fernandes, a legnthy and pointless court case, and the general attitude up and down pit lane. Most people think that Bahar’s plan to sponsor racing teams is only a good idea if his ultimate aim is to send Lotus into receivership.
    – Boullier dropped Nick Heidfeld in the middle of the season in favour of Bruno Senna. In retrospect, this was a mistake because Senna under-performed and Heidfeld could have aided in development of the R31.
    – Speaking of the R31, the car itself was dismal. Renault started the season as the most promising team with two podiums to their name. They finished it with just one point in four races.
    – The team’s internal finances are a mess. Genii bought the team with a host of loans, and the Malaysian government suspended Lotus’ payments to the team because they did not like the way taxpayer funds were being used to pay off a debt to a Lithuanian bank. While we’re on the subject of that Lithuanian bank, its directors have just been arrested on fraud and embezzlement charges.
    – Vitaly Petrov’s contract forbade him from speaking out against the team. I’m willing to bet that Heidfeld and Senna had similar arrangements in place. I can understand a team not wanting their drivers to bad-mouth them at every turn, but most drivers have the ability to call for change if change is necessary. Renault’s drivers weren’t even allowed to do that because of a totalitarian contract.

    I cannot help that feel that Romain Grosjean was promoted to Formula 1 because Kimi Raikkonen is in the team. Eric Boullier manages Grosjean, and with Raikkonen racing, then whoever was paired with him would get a healthy dose of the limelight. I think Boullier’s desire to see a French driver in Formula 1, and to see a French driver get a lot of attention might have been the driving factor behind this decision – to make a “name” out of Grosjean. Ironically enough, Boullier was brought in to replace Flavio Briatore, but this is exactly the kind of thing Briatore did, favouring his own drivers over anyone else.

    1. I think Total have paired up with Grosjean, so there may be a little more money coming in than the last few seasons.

      Also, didn’t Kimi want stake in Williams when they were in talks? Is there not a possibility that Kimi’s management are putting some money in (perhaps through sponsors?)?

      1. Nope. It was ratheran ultimatum on Total’s side. As the team is no longer Renault from 2012, the French oil company made the seat for Grosjean a prerequisite to continue sponsorship beyond 2011. It’s no secret they prefer RB which is de facto Renault works team.

    2. Well @prisoner-monkeys, a lot of what you say rings true to me, the management is a bit erratic, and has been since last year. As I said before, somewhat worthy successors to Briatore, though he clearly did have business acumen enough to never let rumours of interesting dealings get out to the F1 world.

      But I also agree with @ECWDanSelby that perhaps the money aspect isn’t so one-sided as you state, with possibly a higher Total sponsorship thanks to Grosjean, and perhaps money coming to/with Raikkonen.

      I think you have to agree that sporting wise, the new combination of drivers looks like it could be a very strong one, if given the chance.

      I agree that Petrov’s lack of success was for a considerable part this years car not being up to much after that promising start, but fact is, he couldn’t out-race Heidfeld much even though he started well ahead. Senna was better in quali than Heidfeld, and though a bit spotty, still didn’t lag him much in results. As you say, it isn’t very sure Petrov (or Senna, or Heidfeld) would be able to shine in this team.

    3. “Renault’s drivers weren’t even allowed to do that because of a totalitarian contract.”

      Sorry, but its just common sense not to slag off your team.

      Surprise surprise you think this is a mistake, but forgetting about the money for one moment, perhaps you might want to consider that Petrov is just not that good.

      1. @john-h

        Sorry, but its just common sense not to slag off your team.

        You clearly didn’t read the whole post. I admitted that teams don’t like their drivers bad-mouthing them, but they usually have some leeway to call for changes or for the team to re-think their strategies. We’ve seen it plenty of times in the past. The difference here is that Renault forbade their drivers from expressing any dissenting opinion. It was as if they did not want to hear any criticism of the team, no matter how justified it was.

    4. Excellent post about Boullier and the team @prisoner-monkeys. I had high hopes for Eric when he came into the sport but he’s managed to run the team back into the ground in the past year, with no external pressure to do so that I can see.

      I wonder how much the absence of Kubica paid into that? By reputation, he’s a man that likes to spend all day every day talking to the mechanics and engineers, rather than the grid girls. Was there little technical leadership from the drivers, falling onto Eric’s shoulders to analyse their form? He certainly seemed to make a balls of it, losing two high profile, championship winning, well respected engineers, and replacing them with a guy from Arrows, who left after a few months.

      Without some strong and effective team leadership, the team is in danger of freefalling down the grid, like Williams have done under Adam Parr. With Eric, Kimi and Romain in key positions, I think that’s highly likely.

    5. I think Grosjean has proved his talent with his GP2 performances and could be a good decisions but I still agree with your post about Eric PM. Despite the promise of last year they really do seem in a mess in some ways.

    6. @prisoner-monkeys Boullier really winds me up at times. He was incredibly unfair on Heidfeld. How much could you expect from a reserve driver and similarly so, how much could you then expect from Senna, a reserve driver for another reserve driver. No disrespect to Petrov, but their season was over before it started with Kubica being injured. This season should have been damage limitation for them but instead Boullier seemed to think that they could compete with Senna instead of Heidfeld.

      The mind boggles!

      1. @andrewtanner

        their season was over before it started with Kubica being injured

        I initially suspected that the team was banking on Kubica’s swift recovery, and that he could return to racing mid-season. When it became clear that Kubica would not race in 2011, they scaled back development of the R31, and began working on what would have been known a the R32. Now I see that it was just mismanagement by the team, rather than a conscious decision to play the long game the way Ross Brawn did with Honda in 2008.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys There is no doubt an element of truth in what you say regarding their thoughts on Kubica. Wishful thinking and I can’t blame them for that. I do think that ditching Heidfeld was unnecessary. They panicked.

          1. @andrewtanner – My understanding is that Genii borrwed heavily from Vladimir Antonov and Bank Snoras to buy the 75% stake from Renault. Dany Bahar put up money for the sponsorship, but the Malaysian government was not happy that taxpayer money was being used to pay off a bank in Eastern Europe, and suspended the payments. Renault therefore needed an alternate source of income, and picked up a raft of sponsors with Bruno Senna, using his money to pay off the debts.

  6. Also, I just wondered @prisoner-monkeys what your thoughts were on Grosjean?

    You don’t seem to be keen on the way he was bought in for next season, but do you not think he deserves another chance?

    I wasn’t convinced on his first outing in 2009, but after watching some GP2 (even a little Auto GP), the guy’s just gone out there and got better, full stop.


    1. @ecwdanselby – that is perhaps the most difficult question you could ask me. When Grosjean joined Renault in 2009, there was an oppressive atmosphere within the team. Nelson Piquet Jnr. had just been booted, the R29 was a terrible car, and Flavio Briatore was only interested in Alonso; if a driver was struggling within the team, he had to find a solution on his own before he started getting some resources. You really got the sense that the only reason why Briatore ran a second car was because he was obligated to; if he had his way, he would only run Alonso.

      Anyway, Grosjean was certainly qualified for Formula 1 in 2009. But he wasn’t ready for a team that was built so heavily around Alonso. Nobody was. Getting in with Renault was just as difficult as getting into Formula 1, if not more so. It was a real career-killer, and joining the team was a mistake. But whatever the case, if Grosjean was ready then, he is certainly ready now.

      The reason why I’m saying all of this (instead of giving a simple yes or no answer) is because ultimately, I don’t think it matters whether Grosjean is ready or not – I see the team heading down the same path now as it did two years ago. The team has been mismanaged, the finances resemble a tangled skein, the sponsorship is questionable, and it is all headed by a man who, it seems, favours the drivers he manages over all others. Grosjean is already on his second chance, and few drivers ever get that much; one disappinting season could kill his career for good. He may not even get that far, since Boullier has said that he would be willing to give Robert Kubica a mid-season start if Kubica thinks he is up to it. As a young driver trying to break into the sport, Grosjean has to take whatever opportunities present themselves as they present themselves – but I fear he has painted himself into a corner by joining Renault, and no amount of preparedness is going to save him.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys All fair points.

        I think another way of looking at it is similar to Schuey/Rosberg at Mercedes back in 2010 (perhaps without the team stability..).

        If Grosjean can go out and beat his fancied returning World Championship winning team mate, then he’s done a blinding job and suddenly puts himself in a great position.

        But as you say, I think it’s more down to his environment around him and their direction/decisions…

        1. If Grosjean can go out and beat his fancied returning World Championship winning team mate, then he’s done a blinding job and suddenly puts himself in a great position.

          But has he? Raikkonen has been out of the sport for two years. There are a few hurdles that he will have to overcome before he gets up to full speed, chief among them the Pirelli tyres. Michael Schumacher admitted he was still struggling to understand the tyres as recently as the Indian Grand Prix, so it’s not necessarily going to be something Raikkonen masters in a matter of days. GP2, on the other hand, ran on the Pirellis in their races this year. Grosjean already has considerable experience with them. That tips the scales in his favour, but I think it will be lost on most people – they’ll just see a former World Champion against a man with seven race starts to his name. This is why I suspect that Grosjean was promoted because Kimi Raikkonen is his team-mate; it will make Grosjean look better than if he was racing alongside someone like Pastor Maldonado.

      2. Was it a wise move then for Raikkonen to move to swuch a volatile team?

  7. Only 6 from the 24 seats left to be confirmed
    2 at Force India (likely di Resta and Hulkenberg)
    2 at Toro Rosso (maybe Buemi and Alguersuari stay)
    1 at Williams (doubt Barrichello will stay – think Sutil)
    1 at HRT (think Danial Ricardio will continue)

  8. Whoah!! Certainly Renault likes surprising everyone!

  9. And conveniently Kimi doesn’t have to face an experienced team-mate with F1 continuity, and look as foolish as Schumi did last year – wouldn’t want your big investment looking ordinary would we Eric?

    1. I could never see Petrov beating Raikkonen. Rosberg is much much better than Petrov.

      1. I could. Petrov is no slowpoke. If Massa can beat Raikkonen in the same car, Petrov sure as hell could!

        1. Massa isn’t as good as he was when Raikkonen was his team mate. With Petrov, one weekend he is good, the next he’s rubbish.

    2. Perhaps it’s more likely that he will beat Grosjean, but I actually think this has the potential to be embarrassing for Räikkönen.

      If he had been beaten by Petrov, a driver in his third year at the same team, he could have put it down to his two years out of the sport. If he gets beaten by Grosjean, basically a rookie, what is his excuse?

  10. Personally, I think Grosjean is a better driver than both Petrov or Senna, so I’m pleased about this. Although, Petrov has improved a lot and it will be a shame to see him without a drive next season. I believe his chances now come down to a straight fight with Sutil for the other seat at Williams. Petrov edges that for me, better sponsorship and the Renault engine connections.

  11. The announcement leaves Vitaly Petrov, who signed a two-year contract with the team 12 months ago, without a drive.

    Renault apparently told Petrov that the decision on whether he raced for them in 2012 was up to him. If that is the case (and Renault have no reason to lie), then I doubt Petrov would leave the team without some solid plan for 2012 in place. I don’t think he’s being thrown into the wind on this one – he’s already said he’s talking to three other teams.

    1. I think thats quite possible. I’m thinking he is probably part of a backup plan for Williams -who even though confirming Maldonado- are expecting his PDVSA money be prooven illegal.

      There is no one here who would believe that Maldonardo with no sponsorship would stay in favour of Petrov with sponsorship.

    2. I heard that too PM and I hope it’s true because I agree that if he’s turned down the drive then he should have some plan. If it’s not true though then I’ve lost a little love for Renault although that’s probably hypocritical of me given how Ferrari treated Kimi :P Do you have any idea which teams Petrov’s meant to have been talking to? Any info or even rumours would be great thanks :)

    3. I think it’s half-true.
      They must anticipate Kubica’s comeback and want to have a clause in second seat’s driver to fire him in that case.
      And to that Petrov didn’t agree.

    4. “Renault apparently told Petrov that the decision on whether he raced for them in 2012 was up to him.”

      Nonsense! If you’re talking about that interview with his manager from the other week she never once said he was offered a race seat (just talked about him possibly staying with the team).

      You’re living in cloud cuckoo land if you think Petrov is in a position to turn down any offer of a race seat.

      1. I remember reading rhe interview (I think it was linked on one of the round ups) where it said Renault were waiting until the 10th of Dec for Petrov to make a decision on his future. I could well be wrong though as I don’t have the best memory and there’s no need to have a go at PM :)

        1. That’s the one I’m talking about.

          Grosjean was annouced shortly before 6am on December 9. Unless he and Renault were up all night discussing the contract and annouced it as soon as the ink was dry, the timing suggests that the earliest Grosjean signed a contract was on the evening of December 8. Petrov, however, was given until December 10 to make up his mind. If he wanted to stay at Renault, he had an extra two days up his sleeve, and that’s assuming Grosjean signed a contract two minutes after Petrov told the team he was leaving. Allowing for time to negotiate with Grosjean, Petrov could have left a week before the deadline. With just a handful of seats available, I can’t see him consciously deciding to leave Renault without a plan in place – especially considering that Renault gave him the choice and were apparently quite happy to keep him in 2012 if he wanted to stay.

          1. My view on it is, that the team told Petrov how much money he would have to be able to confirm bringing into the team by the 10th of December (probably to counter whatever Total was putting behind Grosjean+ a bit extra).

            So it looks as if Petrov’s management was certain enough that they would not be able to do so, or was reluctant to do so for Renault, taking their backers elsewhere with better chances before the set deadline.
            Probalby because they had relatively better opportunities at other teams.

  12. The big question now is where does Petrov go? Can’t see him at Force India or Toro Rosso. I think he may wind up at HRT, as they probably could do with the money. Perhaps if Williams didn’t sign Maldonado up, Petrov could’ve gone to Williams and take his money there, negating the need for Maldonado. Williams are probably kicking themselves right now.

    Also, what about Senna? As with Petrov, can’t see him at Force India or STR, and can’t see him returning to HRT. I would like to see him at Williams, and perhaps we may see him there if Force India retain Sutil. Personally, I think Senna will stay on at Renault as 3rd driver.

    1. According to Renault that won’t happen – ”

      Team principal Eric Boullier, who has pushed hard for Grosjean to be given another F1 chance, is confident the GP2 Series champion will do a good job next year – as he also wished Petrov and Senna good luck.

      “We were impressed when he drove for us in the first practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil,” he said. “We are confident that drafting him in to one of our driver’s seats will help us in our rebuilding process. I would like to thank Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team’s performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future.”

      It seems they are leaving

  13. i hope Kubica starts testing an f1 car in 2012 and maybe replace Romain towards the end of the season.

  14. Oh goody – the stupid bright red endplates stay. I was really hoping they’d ditch Total for 2012. Please Gerard, at least try and get them to go along with your own colour scheme (a la Red Bull)! I’m not cheering on another car that looks like Total have been sick on it.

    1. I may be in the minority but I actually really like the red end plates @jonchuckle

  15. I think this is à good choice, given they want to have à fresh start. I can only hope for Senna / Hulkenberg / DiResta / Sutil / van der Garde that all will end well. For that, we only need Trulli to leave Lotus (Caterham).

  16. Grosjean deserves a drive no doubt and Petrov has thoroughly underwhelmed me in his two years in the sport so why not give Grosjean the spot. Kimi and Grosjean must be bringing some sponsors, or Kimi’s management team putting in some money as otherwise why would they let Petrov take his large sum of money elsewhere.

    I hope Grosjean gets a decent shot this time, sadly I can’t see Kubica back this year if at all so he should get the season at least. As for Petrov, if one of Di Resta, Hulkenburg or Sutil loses out on a drive because of Vitaly’s money that would be very disappointing but a sign of how the F1 grid currently works.

    It’s a shame Maldonado’s already signed up for Petrov in that regard because Williams already have money, so can pick the strongest driver available for the second spot and that definitely isn’t Petrov. That’s assuming the Venezuelan government deal doesn’t go pear shaped which in all likelihood could happen, in which case Williams should snap Petrov up.

  17. I’m not surprised but it makes me feel a little uneasy about Renault or Lotus or whatever they’re called. I’ve always been a Ferrari fan but I had a mega soft spot for Renault but the way they treated Heidfeld and now ditched Petrov despite the contract really doesn’t sit well with me. I liked Petrov and Senna and thought both had talent. I’d personally have preferred a line up consisting of Senna, Grosjean or Petrov as it would have been a good step for the future of the sport. Congrats to Grosjean though as it would have been really harsh if his career had been defined by 09 when he was chucked in the R29 in awful circumstances when the team was a shambles but he’s definitely proved his talent since then. I bet that Grosjean outqualifies Kimi at the first GP weekend too :P

    1. @Steph I promise you that I didn’t read your comment before posting mine below!

      1. @damonsmedley what’s that saying about great minds? :P

        1. @Steph I’m not sure, but it offends me to have my mind compared to yours! :P

          1. @damonsmedley well, if it’s any consolation I’ve just posted a long comment disagreeing with pretty much everything you say! :P

  18. A slightly surprising decision by Renault – my impression was that Petrov and Senna had done enough to show they were a safe enough number two for Raikkonen in 2012. But a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

    A good move for Grosjean – he’s always been quick but has been a bit reckless and prone to unnecessary incidents in the past. His GP2 season suggests he may be getting over that, in which case he should put in a decent showing alongside Raikkonen – he knows the team and should be reasonably familiar with the 2012 Renault/Lotus from the first race.

    Grosjean didn’t get a fair crack of the F1 whip last time around – he was parachuted into Renault at the last minute, with no testing, in a dire car and in direct comparsion to Alonso. He deserved another chance and now he has one – but he has to perform: there can be no excuses in 2012.

    So where next for Senna and Petrov? There are seats available for 2012 but Force India and Toro Rosso are likely to utilise the drivers they already under contract. What chance of Senna in a Williams-Renault?

  19. I think it’s damage limitation by Renault.
    They couldn’t get Kubica to race from start of the season.
    So they hired Raikkonen and needed second racer to have contract on race-by-race basis (in case Kubica will come back).
    Petrov didn’t agree on that term. So they signed Grosjean who is eager to get into F1 so much that he’s willing to risk to have a partial season seat in order to make good impression.

    I think less and less of Renault. First Heidfeld, now Petrov. Why do we have contracts in this sport?

    PS: BTW, i think Grosjean is excellent racer and deserved his place. So don’t think that i’m hater…

  20. Renault aren’t doing much to endear themselves to the fans, are they? This whole Lotus saga is ultimately down to money and marketing; they don’t want to “restore a classic name to the sport” or whatever it was their press release said.

    I forgave them for the events of Singapore 2008 as I could see they were making an effort to start anew. They started 2010 with two new drivers, a brand new and delightfully good looking livery and new management. I really thought they conducted themselves well and they certainly won me over.

    But they’ve undone all of their hard work this year. First there was the Lotus/Lotus naming feud which was just ridiculous (I still believe Renault bullied Team Lotus when they could have just left it alone), and now there’s the way their drivers have been treated. Kubica had an accident and despite all of the support and the lovely ladies holding those “get well soon” signs for him in Melbourne, it’s looking very likely that even if we see Kubica fit to drive next year, he’s going to be without a seat. Then they ousted Heidfeld and thrusted Bruno into his seat without any preparation (which he handled very well and proved to me that he does have talent), before dropping Petrov despite the fact he supposedly had a contract for another season.

    Bruno, Vitaly, Nick, and Robert are all good drivers and very nice chaps. But the way they’ve been treated throughout 2011 has made me lose any respect I had for Renault. I want to like them, but I can’t, and I think that’s very sad.

    1. I forgave them for the events of Singapore 2008 as I could see they were making an effort to start anew.

      I didn’t have a problem with Renault then. They were found innocent and it was just the 3 fools involved so that’s who I lost respect for. I actually felt very sorry for Renault that their name and team were dragged through the mud like that and thought that when it all came out in 09 they handled it maturely and calmly and it was great that they got the podium at Singapore.

      First there was the Lotus/Lotus naming feud which was just ridiculous (I still believe Renault bullied Team Lotus when they could have just left it alone)

      They’d argue they had every right to and were sticking up for their own cause. I thought both sides were wrong and selfish with that and didn’t think of the sport or the fans but nothing changes there.

      Melbourne, it’s looking very likely that even if we see Kubica fit to drive next year, he’s going to be without a seat

      I think they’re harsh but wise. After Massa’s accident I was sure Ferrari wouldn’t give him the seat back given the injury but they shocked me with how devoted they were. Kubica’s in an even worse situation because he’s been out so long. They should let Kubcia test and then take it from there. The problem was they seemed to make all these grand promises before that he’d be back and now they’re very quiet on the issue which makes them look like they’re ditching him.

      I agree with your point about quick Nick.

      I still like them ish but only because I’m stubborn but I do think they’ve made a big mistake with signing Kimi, how they’ve treated Nick and Petrov and I don’t think much of Eric as a leader given all of that and how badly Renault have done this year.

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