Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 2012

Vitaly Petrov replaces Jarno Trulli at Caterham

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 2012
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 2012

Caterham have announced Vitaly Petrov has replaced Jarno Trulli at the team “with immediate effect”.

Trulli has driven for the team since it was set up in 2010. Last year they announced he would drive for them in 2012.

But since Petrov lost his place at Renault (now Lotus), also with a year to run on his contract, there has been considerable speculation linking him to Trulli’s place at Caterham.

Team Principal Tony Fernandes said: “We are all delighted to welcome Vitaly into our team and are very excited about the role he will play in helping us take the next steps forward in 2012 and for many years to come.

“When we first met it was immediately clear that Vitaly understands and shares our vision for how we want our team to grow. As the first Russian to race in F1 he carries the hopes of a huge nation with ease and his talents, experience with one of our current competitors and insights on and off track will play a huge role in our development as we fight to join the established teams ahead.”

Petrov said: “This is a very exciting day for me. I would like to thank Tony, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin for giving me the chance to join a team that made its F1 debut at the same time as me, and has grown from one of the new teams to a serious force for future honours.

“The passion and spirit that Tony and the whole team have to keep moving forwards is infectious, and I am honoured to be able to join them and play my part in helping the team mount a serious challenge to the teams ahead in 2012 and for many seasons to come.

“I have been training hard all winter and am ready to get back into the cockpit and go to work. From what I have seen already, our new car is another good step forward from 2011 and now I cannot wait to see how it feels when we get to Barcelona. I would also like to take this chance to thank all my fans and partners for their support and their patience.”

The news means Trulli has lost his place in F1. In a statement released by the team he said: “I want to take this chance to thank Tony, Kamarudin, SM Nasarudin, Riad, Mike and everyone in the team for the two seasons we had together.

“From zero we built up and established a solid F1 team. I’m really proud to have been part of it. I understand the decision the team has made and I want to wish to the whole team the very best of luck for the season ahead.”

See the updated list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams.

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Image ?? Renault/LAT

175 comments on “Vitaly Petrov replaces Jarno Trulli at Caterham”

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  1. Money makes the F1 world go round…

    1. @noomie Such is life. I’m happy with it.

  2. Wow, it actually went through!

    I’m glad, I like Petrov. I think he’s got something, and the fact he’s a tad crash happy makes him all the more likeable.

  3. Hah, if Luiz Razia’s latest tweet is anything to go by, it seems that Jarno was poised to lose his drive anyway!!/luizrazia/status/170455093496397825

    Google Translate: “Could have a Brazilian on @caterhamf1 if it was not a lack of sponsorship which does not only I but many pilots have to work problemas.Borá”

    1. I do think it likely Trulli knew they were talking with several drivers, and would perhaps take either of those if the money came through.

      After two seasons of F1, the team might feel that they can go for a single experienced driver, and a younger guy with some money to stir up things a bit, especially given Trulli’s problems last year meant he couldn’t push Kova even on Saturdays.

    17th February 2012, 10:38


  5. Anywho, I’m very happy for Petrov but at the same time I’m insanely gutted for Jarno. First Rubens and now him…

    I just want Caterham to do well this year.

  6. And Petrov moves from The Team Now Known As Lotus to The Team Formerly Known As Lotus.

    1. T’is true! :O)

    2. And missed out on being at either time while they were called Lotus.

  7. This is good news for Caterham. I’m sorry for Trulli – such a late decision – but Petrov is fresher, less tired of the whole circus, certainly more ambitious. Trulli really seemed to be finished with F1 for a couple of seasons now. Petrov and Kovalainen will make a good combo. I’ve been a fan of Petrov’s from the beginning. Sure, he’s not perfect. But he’s got potential, I reckon. And I bet the finance he’s bringing is huge.

  8. Petrov to The Team Formerly Known As Lotus? I am totally selling out!


    1. @prisoner-monkeys I never thought I’d see the day!

      1. I want to see him trounce Bruno Senna. That’s the one argument I want settled this season.

    2. @prisoner-monkeys that’s unexpected ;)
      Feel sorry for Truli but I got to admit that Petrov deserves a seat this seasson.
      It was schocking news for me that Burno nailed a seat this year sooner than Vitaly!

    3. Don’t you mean Team Fernandes?? ;)

    4. @prisoner-monkeys Hell has indeed frozen over!

      1. @andrewtanner – some classical interpretations of Hell (like Dante’s Divine Comedy) suggest that Helll is not made of fire and brimstone, but of ice and despair instead.

    1. Ah, that must be the biggest reason they don’t need Trulli: with KERS and DRS, such trains have become something of the past!

  9. Not surprised by this, it’s been rumoured for months, but the way it’s happened leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    I didn’t think Trulli should have continued this year, and when they announced him as a 2012 driver I was disappointed as I thought Trulli was dragging out his career and taking up a seat that could otherwise go to someone younger and with more potential. However, having announced he had a contract, letting him test the car and then dumping him just weeks before the season for someone with deep pockets just seems wrong to me.

    I’m sure that the reason it’s happened this way is that Caterham were waiting for the money to materialise, but ideally Trulli’s contract shouldn’t have been renewed and he should have left the team at the end of last season.

    1. Maybe Caterham left Trulli in the team simply to increase the price of the race seat.

      1. I think Trulli stayed in the seat largely due to Petrov taking time to produce sponsors. If he had offered them up sooner, Trulli probably wouldn’t have driven at Jerez.

        1. Exactly, showing that “hey, we do have this other guy if you won’t take the chance”. Both for Petrov, and perhaps Guido v/d Garde, and Luiz Razia too.

      2. or a backup depending on how much Guido and Vitaly (or Luiz, see comment above by @pamphlet) were able to “contribute” to the team, giving them the option of keeping him if none was good enough.

  10. I think Fernandes today replaced Bernie as the sport’s biggest cynic.

    1. Thats right, Ģirt.

  11. this is the first time in 40 years that the F1 championship will start without an italian driver on the grid
    the last time the championship started without an italian driver was in 1970 but during the season Ferrari hired Ignazio Giunti & Andrea de Adamich raced with a Mclaren-Alfa Romeo

  12. I’m kind-of not surprised, but at the same time I am surprised. Usually rumours like this are true, but I just thought it was too late in the day for this to happen now.

    1. I read somewhere that the teams had to inform the FIA of who will be starting the season by February 10th. Because today is the 17th, Caterham may have used up one of their driver changes for the season. But I can’t confirm it.

      1. So perhaps Trulli remains reserve driver then. Also as a way to prevent problems now-Lotus seemed to have with keeping Petrov’s money flowing to them, if one would be cynical …

  13. I think it definitely makes sense to have Vitaly in place of Trulli. FIrst, it brings money which most of the teams need . And second, Trulli was not able to match KOva and on the other hand, Petrov was at par with Heidfield who is also as much experienced as Trulli is so it looks like Petrov is at par with Trulli or may be better than him. Its a prudent move from Caterham. BUt I think they should have thought about signing Sutil instead of PEtrov.

  14. Feel sorry for Trulli but it’s a good decision on Caterham’s part… They need someone to compete with Kovalainen who has something to prove to push the team forward rather than cruise around at the back enjoying the life as an F1 driver.

  15. As much as I am a fan of Petrov, I have to ask … is he perhaps the least-attractive Formula 1 driver of all time?

    1. The Professor and RK spring to mind @prisoner-monkeys

    2. That’s a matter of taste. If one likes Russian boys in general, he shouldn’t find Petrov ugly. I wouldn’t call Vitaly very sexy but I believe he’s definitely more attractive than Trulli. But that probably wasn’t the decisive factor when the team had to choose between the two.

    3. What about Maldonado?

    4. Kubica and Ricciardo are uglier in my opinion.

      1. Really, is this discussion actually happening in an F1 forum. :)

        1. Think of it from a marketing perspective – who would you want fronting your advertising campaign: Heikki Kovalainen, who looks like he could have been in a boy band once, or Vitaly Petrov, who appears to have been beaten with an ugly stick?

  16. Petrov handled the situation perfectly. Unlike most young drivers, he didn’t make any noise or assumptions, just did background work.
    Seems a bolt of thunder struck Trulli out. Italy has no driver in F1 but do have 1 and a half racing teams.

  17. And he’d finally stopped complaining about the power steering too…

  18. Not so surprising considering that just a few days ago Sutil’s manager said that there was still one seat available on the grid.

  19. Has Trulli whined about the power steering again?

    1. No, that’s the surprising bit, to some.

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