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. Richard (@dream28) said on 17th February 2012, 13:07

    When Colin Chapman died of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 54, both the Lotus and Caterham marques died with him. Lotus had great drivers when Colin was alive: Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Mario Andretti. (How much did these drivers pay for their seats? Oh yeah, NOTHING.)

    Petrov will never be the equal of these great drivers! In my opinion Petrov, as an F1 driver, is merely a well-bankrolled joke, as is Bruno Senna. This pay-for-a-seat will be the end of true F1

    • Bobdredds (@bobdredds) said on 17th February 2012, 14:20

      I cant agree with that. Certainly Chapman was an innovator but his cars were fragile and dangerous and were responsible for the deaths of some of the greatest drivers in F1 as well. I used to love the Lotus until I realised how dangerous they were. However it would be wrong to dismiss the importance or the innovations he brought to the sport and the fact that a high mortality rate was the accepted paradigm in all of this.
      I think both Catherham and Lotus teams are a fitting tribute and I’m sure he would have approved of Kimi in a Lotus and the steps both teams are taking today. Renault are great innovators and he would have loved that IMHO.

  2. Although the rumours of Petrov replacing Trulli have been around for a while I thought once the car had been launched and Trulli actually tested it that was Caterham’s driver line-up finalised for the start of the season so this announcement surprised me.

    While I fully understand the decision on both the driver side and the financial side and I don’t disagree with it, the timing of the change, after Trulli has tested the car seems odd. I assume they just couldn’t get the deal with Petrov finalised until now.

    But a driver line-up change at this stage of the season does not seem like the actions of a team which is settled and has the sort of ambitions that Caterham have.

  3. The Limit said on 17th February 2012, 13:47

    I won’t miss Jarno Trulli. His recent negative comments about other F1 drivers on the grid were not only hypercritical but ludicrous. When you think of the recent demise of Toyota in F1 for example, Jarno Trulli springs to mind when it comes to being overpaid and overrated. He has ambled around the F1 world for fifteen years with only a single race win to his credit. His fans can crow all they like about pole positions but its victories that count more.
    You can call the likes of Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Montoya arrogant, but atleast they have achieved something in F1 far more important and impressive than Jarno Trulli.

    • Won’t miss Trulli either. Overrated driver. Always complaning of others. Honestly i think he spent too much time in F1.

  4. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 17th February 2012, 14:19

    Peoplealways talk about money as it was the big curse for a F1 driver… So a driver has money backing him? That’s wrong about it? If the move favouring Petrov would have put out a driver such as Rosberg or Sharptil… sorry, Sutil, I could understand the surprise. But we’re talking about generation refresh… Vitaly is IMHO a good driver, he has already had a podium last year, A good choice

  5. sesku (@sesku) said on 17th February 2012, 14:23

    After Trulli left, Schumacher and De La Rosa is the only F1 driver who had experience racing in ’90s.

  6. Bobdredds (@bobdredds) said on 17th February 2012, 17:06

    I just realised, a Finn and a Russian in the same team. Hopefully that will help heal a few old wounds as they are portrayed together in their respective countries.:)

  7. Dougy_D (@dougy_d) said on 17th February 2012, 17:31

    Thanks for the memories Jarno! Good luck with the vino :)

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th February 2012, 21:13

    Good news. I was bored by Trulli and he could never match Kovalainen’s pace so I’m afraid that his time has passed. I thought Petrov, R31 aside, had a decent season last year and he displayed tremendous development between 2010 and 2011. I’m sure he will be a positive force for Caterham.

  9. Petrov might be better than Trulli currently, but why give Jarno such an illusion? He also drove in Jerez last week. He’s had a remarkable career, and deserves some respect.

  10. Wow, what a way to start the day! I was sure the musical chairs was done already…It’s hard to say Petrov is a lousy driver…he kept Alonso from being a 3rd time WDC…not many drivers can say that…he has been on the podium…not bad, and Russia has a lot of money and prospects for Caterham…there is more to racing in F1 than racing..we just don’t know about it all…Trulli might have done well this year due to the new steering wheel they designe for him…may be it was his going away present. Good Luck Petrov

  11. plutoniumhunter (@plutoniumhunter) said on 18th February 2012, 1:34

    I’ll miss Jarno Trulli, not the one that has been struggling for the past 2 years, but the one-lap specialist that we all could count on for some entertainment during qualifying, chucking his car into places that leave people scratching their heads.
    The moments that I remember the most fondly of Jarno is of course Monaco 2004, defending against JB with his “Trulli Train” skills was nail-biting to watch. And also, the occasional blitz starts:
    Occasionally he was the joke of this website, with his “pictures” and his 2011-spec complain of “Power Steering”, but still, he’s had his days, both good and bad.

    PS: Did not mean for this to sound like an eulogy. ;)

  12. Shimks (@shimks) said on 18th February 2012, 7:23

    The Flip Side of the Coin

    The decision to “divorce” Trulli from Caterham is the best decision for everyone. For Caterham, for Petrov, and definitely for Trulli.

    I can understand that as a veteran F1 driver, it must be virtually impossible to take the decision to leave the sport oneself. And often individuals don’t see what’s best for themselves. Trulli has, in my opinion, been going through the paces in a wholly unmotivated fashion for the past two seasons. He is tired of F1, even if he doesn’t know it.

    Now he has been set free, he will find his competitive fire again in another class of racing. This is the rebirth of Jarno Trulli, the racing driver, not the demise.

    On a side note, I do not feel the same way about Barrichello. He was burning with ambition right up until the end.

  13. Sergey Martyn said on 19th February 2012, 8:51

    Being a Russian myself I’m not a biggest fan of Petrov though I was more or less cheery when he scored the points.
    But this castling smells bad and I feel very sorry for Jarno.
    I follow F1 from late 70’s when the only available information about F1 in Russia was the Czechoslovakian magazine (Svet Motoru – i.e. The World of Motors) subscription and I received all the results only about three-four weeks after each race but me and my friends were excited no less than you folks watching all those battles live – oops, I’m sorry for too sentimental journey.
    What I want to say – those days we regarded F1 as a shining diamond castle atop of the golden mountain – pure sportsmanship etc. – we didn’t knew a thing about sponsorship and undercarpet machinations but since we got F1 coverage on Russian TV in 1992 it becomes more awful each year. The first couple of seasons were commented by very lame folks who didn’t knew a thing nor gave a damn about F1 racing (I recall one guy who told us – I’m not sure why the cars are placed on the grid in this particular order…) but then the quality of the commentary as well as the quantity of paddock rumours and speculations increased…
    Now I feel very sorry for Jarno – I’m not a fan of him either, but if the teams will keep on using the drivers like toilet paper will it lead to increasing F1 attendance or TV coverage? I believe it won’t.

  14. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th February 2012, 10:11

    Here come the roubles:

    Caterham F1 team has today announced that it has signed a deal with SIBUR to be an official Team Partner. SIBUR, the largest petrochemical company in Russia and Eastern Europe, has also confirmed that it is continuing the partnership agreement it began in 2011 with Vitaly Petrov in his new role as Race Driver for the Anglo / Malaysian Caterham F1 Team. The SIBUR logo will feature on the CT01 cars and on Vitaly’s race suits throughout the 2012 season.

  15. Jurgen Mueller (@jurgenmueller) said on 20th February 2012, 20:18

    I think the answer is US $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

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