Vitaly Petrov replaces Jarno Trulli at Caterham

2012 F1 season

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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175 comments on Vitaly Petrov replaces Jarno Trulli at Caterham

  1. noomie (@noomie) said on 17th February 2012, 10:32

    Money makes the F1 world go round…

  2. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 17th February 2012, 10:35

    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. Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 17th February 2012, 10:36

    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”

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 17th February 2012, 12:38

      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.

  4. rUN_FOR_IT_SCOOBY said on 17th February 2012, 10:38


  5. Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 17th February 2012, 10:38

    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. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th February 2012, 10:41

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

  7. Shimks (@shimks) said on 17th February 2012, 10:43

    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. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2012, 10:53

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


  9. Don Mateo (@don-mateo) said on 17th February 2012, 11:01

    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.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 17th February 2012, 11:06

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

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2012, 11:10

        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.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 17th February 2012, 12:42

          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.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th February 2012, 11:11

        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. Girts (@girts) said on 17th February 2012, 11:02

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

  11. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 17th February 2012, 11:09

    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. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 17th February 2012, 11:17

    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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2012, 11:31

      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.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 17th February 2012, 12:44

        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. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 17th February 2012, 11:25

    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. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2012, 11:28

    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?

  16. OOliver said on 17th February 2012, 11:35

    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. PJ (@pjtierney) said on 17th February 2012, 11:40

    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. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 17th February 2012, 12:08

    Has Trulli whined about the power steering again?

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