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.”

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175 comments on Vitaly Petrov replaces Jarno Trulli at Caterham

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

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

  2. 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

  3. 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 …

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

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

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

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

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

    Has Trulli whined about the power steering again?

  11. coefficient (@coefficient) said on 17th February 2012, 12:21

    Rubles Limoncello

  12. GT_Racer said on 17th February 2012, 12:23

    Jackie Stewart seems to think Petrov has a lot of potential, He worked with Petrov last year & said that he really see’s something special in him.

    Jackie often points out that Petrov didn’t come through karting & started racing very late in a Lada championship & that his rate of learning & improvement since he moved into single seaters has been very impressive.

    I also get the impression that there are some at Lotus who believe that given more time Petrov has the potential to become a regular front runner.

    • TheBrav3 said on 17th February 2012, 13:41

      Yeah i suspect it’s nothing to do with the fact that since RBS went lactation excreters up JYS has had LOTUS GENII stencilled across his shirts.

      To be clear i love the guy and I’m sure petrov is good i believe that regardless of what jys or anyone says. Isn’t it funny though?

  13. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 17th February 2012, 12:40

    I know this is entirely the correct move, but as a Trulli fan, and as a Formula 1 fan, this is a sad day for me.

    The first F1 season I watched in full was 1997. After his Monaco win the year before Panis was already my favourite driver, but in 1997 I took a shine to two young drivers: Fisichella and Trulli.

    Now Panis has been gone for some years, Fisi bowed out gloriously in 2009 and, now that Trulli’s gone, none of my original ‘favourite drivers’ are in the sport any more. It’s a personal end of an era for me, and I’m very sad now.

    Trulli was one of the good guys. Always friendly on the grid, always with a big smile on his face and he was one of the guys you always felt happy for when he got a podium. His qualifying performances were at times mesmerising, and I think the ‘Trulli train’ was a combination of his Saturday performances and another underrated talent he had – defensive driving.

    All the best to Petrov though, he deserves a seat and I hope he does well.

  14. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th February 2012, 12:41

    For sure money brought him here more then anything else, but what will happen to Trulli? He still have a contract with the team?

  15. Adam Blocker (@blockwall2) said on 17th February 2012, 12:57

    I think it is the right decision, Petrov is much better than Trulli, and he comes with sponsorship. This could be what gets Caterham into the points this year!

    This also means this season will be the first season EVER that there will be NO Italian driver on the grid (unless someone uses one as a replacement, which I do not see happening). This is remarkable considering how much the Italians love Formula One (and Ferrari).

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