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Petrov holds onto Renault seat for two more seasons
Petrov holds onto Renault seat for two more seasons
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Dec 2010   |  2:08 pm GMT  |  106 comments

Petrov: In F1 for two more years (Darren Heath)

The Lotus Renault GP Team has confirmed today that it has signed Vitaly Petrov for another two seasons.

This is a great vote of confidence in the Russian, who was a rather erratic performer in 2010 with some very strong showings, such as Hungary, but also a tendency to lose the car when on slick tyres on a damp track. But he showed enough in the closing stages of the season to retain the drive and now has the security of knowing that he is in for 2012 as well as 2011. So he can build on the positives from this year.

As well as stringing a whole weekend together, rather than just individual moments of strong performance such as practice, qualifying or race, Petrov’s biggest challenge will be to get closer to the pace of his team mate Robert Kubica.

The gap between the two in terms of average grid position across the season was the largest in the field this year; seven places. Kubica averaged 6th place, Petrov 13th. His low points score also contributed to Renault losing the chance of fourth place in the Constructors, as a second driver would normally be expected to score 50% of the points of the lead driver, which would have put them on a par with Mercedes.

Team boss Gerard Lopez was very keen for the Russian to stay on board as he opens up the Russian market to the team, a lucrative one in which Lopez’ company Genii Capital is already very active. With a Russian Grand Prix on the calendar for 2014, the Lotus Renault GP team, as it is now called, is well placed to benefit.

Lopez said. “Last season, he showed on several occasions that he clearly has the potential to deliver. It was just a matter of putting everything together during the same weekend, race after race, and this will be his target for 2011.

Also, thanks to Vitaly and the team, Russia is opening up to Formula 1. Over the past few months, we’ve established close links with this country and with some of its strongest companies. We’re looking forward to building on this special relationship and turning it into a very successful adventure over the next two seasons.”

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A good call in my opinion, as I feel with the restrictions now in place on testing it is only after two seasons that a driver can really be judged, unless they are just so inept it is blatantly obvious. Next season will be even harder for rookies to shine with the additional tasks of Kers and movable wings. Despite this being largely decided on marketing and promotional revenue, I think Petrov showed enough ability in the latter half of the season to demonstrate the ability he exhibited in his GP2 career to earn another season. Wish Williams could have afforded to do the same with Hulkenberg although I do agree that the best drivers always make it. Great to see Sir Frank gain recognition on SPOTY, a true inspiration!


Hi James,

Have you read/heard this at all – ? What do you make of this and do you think this will have any significant effect?



James, one more question about Renault. Some time ago Flagman Vodka became a sponsor of the Renault team. If I’m correct, they had their logo on the R30. Meanwhile, Ferrari removed the barcode from their livery because apparently it looked too much like a cigarette pack. Is it logical? Both, cigarettes and vodka are stimulants, why can you then have one on your car but not the other?


Tobacco advertising is banned. Alcohol isn’t yet, in most countries, although there are codes of conduct etc, as far as I know


I have read all the comments here and in the past regarding the less experienced drivers, the rookies and we are missing a point.

If a driver is really talented he will find space in F1, no doubt.

Examples like Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton should show that if any of the team principals think a driver is really talented and outstanding they will do whatver is necessary to secure his service.

Hamilton came in F1 and he was straight away a top driver.

Vettel showed in Toro Rosso that he was outstanding and he is now WDC.

Alonso has been fighting for the Driver World title for the last 7 years.

All the rest of the drivers are very good drivers but not as good as the best.

Modern F1 is different from 10-15 years ago, the technology is much more complex and the actual feedback that drivers are getting from the teams is much more precise and actual.

The drivers need to be more in tune with the car and the technology than before to actually understand what the car needs to go faster.

I always wonder what Ayrton Senna could do in a modern car where it is possible to produce a much more precise fine tuning of the general set up.

And I think also, a driver of his quality would be unbeatable in damp or wet condition, because of his ability.

Any thoughts James and the rest of the bloggers ???!!!


The best drivers are always the best, cream rises to the top – always


Do the same people moaning on here about Petrov buying into F1 have the same sentiments about Alonso and Ferrari? Effectively Fernando did the same there with Santander bankrolling the whole thing. Yes you can argue Alonso also would get the drive on merit, but that’s not the way the sport is run any more, at least not with most teams. All are looking to their drivers to bring in some cash and they don’t really care on the means. Even Mclaren are playing on this with the Hamilton/Button pairing a gold-mine for Vodafone marketing.

I don’t think Petrov’s that bad, certainly he showed promise and I rate him above the STR RB drivers to name a couple.


I think it shows how important it is of where you come from in this day and age of F1. I feel that if your talented, but have no money and are from Andorra or Jamaica you dont have a chance (although it would be a good film if you did)


Bit by bit we will never witness the best F1 drivers. Gone are the days where talent rules. Now, money dictates.

I’m hanging in here because there are still talented drivers but as time goes by in the next decade I doubt it’ll be the same.


I don’t agree. Look at the grid from the late 1990s, Diniz etc. The difference now is that Petrov, Maldonado etc are GP2 race winners. It’s easy to get cynical but the standard of these guys is higher than in the past


Just think how much better they could be with some in season testing!


I think it is good that he got another shot at it. He got himself noticed and even though Petrov messed up quite a lot, he undoubtedly has talent. And lots of it. He just needs to be allowed to show it. He is/was a rookie and should be allowed certain amends. If he was a seasoned driver that messed up that badly I wouldn’t be so kind.

And it does seem that there is very little in team friction between Petrov and Kubica which IMHO helps create a stable team environment to work in. I am quite sure that Renault/ Lotus will be a top performer next year… Along with Merc GP hopefully being a better performer than last year together with Ferrari, McLaren and RB it will be a scorcher of a season… Can’t wait.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Stunning drive in Abu Dhabi and has not compared to shabbily with Kubica.

Well deserved seat for next year.


Like a lot of other people here I would have to agree that it’s good to see a rookie get a 2nd chance. Far to many just get punted without getting a fair chance to prove themselves.

I must say that Petrov probably isn’t the most deserving of a 2nd chance. Some of the mistakes he made were absolute howlers & you have to say that without his great drive at Abu Dhabi & that Russian backing he would be out the door.

Mr Petrov should consider himself a very lucky fellow, hopefully he can replicate his Abu Dhabi heroics a bit more regularly in 2011.


This is an interesting decision and there is no doubt his finacial backing helps. Petrov had a tough season and made many elementary mistakes. However he was up against Kubica and although he was dominated he showed flashes of talent and his drives in Abu Dhabi and Hungary showed promise.

In a way he reminds me a bit of Massa when Massa started out. He always showed talent but just had an ability to make mistakes but with time Massa certainly matured well. Time will tell and I’m glad he has been given an extended deal.


Couldn’t agree more with you in regards to Massa


Renualt have one top quality driver, who will win the wdc one day, why gamble?

Take the readies and fingers crossed petrov might do ok and not upset the applecart.


I am glad he got another shot. Everybody and his uncle had written him off before the start of 2010, i think he did show plenty of sparks of brilliance. I am quite certain he’ll trail his much acclaimed teammate next season too, but he’ll be the perfect no.2. And if he really disappoints all season, hope they’ll replace him with Hulkenberg/Heidfeld in 2012. Goodluck commodore Petrov!


this now proves renault is certainly not the team it used to be.

he was consistently inconsistent.

seems a different vibe to this team compared to the benetton / renault days.


Are you sure?

Renault seems to do better when they have one dominant driver. I’m thinking of the Shumacher or Alonso years.


As FakeCharlieWhiting would put it, Petrov will bounce back next year. Just not sure out of which wall!


Fairplay to Petrov. I think Renault are just being sensible here. With a few more years in F1, Petrov will gain the necessary experience to bring his competence level up. I think Petrov will probably be quite a valuable asset in the end.

However, I think the real story over the winter is how a driver, who in his rookie season is ranked 8th by the team bosses, and has clearly demonstrated enough talent to progress forwards, while under massive financial pressure, is sitting without a drive for 2011.

(deep breath)

Is F1 really become a place where a talent like the Hulk is going to get chucked aside? Really? Has it really got THAT bad? We are now relying on Force India or HRT to save some of F1’s credibility.

(Not that anyone will notice once they role out the cars for the first race lol)


I expectes this news. I feel sorry, that Petrov, who was the worst driver in 2010 signs a contract for 2011 and 2012…

Petrov (for team), alas, is useless.

Team Orders is coming back, so:

“Vitaly, Robert is faster than you…”


that’ll never happen. Under what circumstances will petrov be ahead of kubica?


No surprises here…other than the 2 year contract. Ironic for an ex-Renault works team that they don’t have a French driver even in their reserve driver list. Is Kubica only signed for 2011?


I think some of you should relax about the whole 2 year contract. There will be more performance clauses in this contract than Russian gangsters in Monaco. If Renault want rid, it wont be a problem.


The business aspect of F1 makes me mad at times. There is no reason he is in that seat other than a team owner salivating at the thought of suckling at the nipple of russian wealth. I hope he rolls it, knocks the wheels off, damages it or stalls it at every single race. I hope the costs of re-building the car far outway the new income – Nothing more than they deserve.


He made mistakes, but on a visual level, he was a class act. He through some great overtaking moves this year. He’s exciting to watch, in a way Hulkenberg isn’t. I just want to watch skill and clever overtaking in driving, not just FAST perfect driving!


I like the first post, Money talks and talent walks.

I feel Nico deserves his place, as does Paul Di Resta

Its interesting to see in this supposed age of cost cutting to make f1 more affordable, and budgets are allegedly being reduced, we are still having pay drivers in f1.


I’m a bit undecided on Petrov but I trust he’ll do better in 2011; when I met him for first time in Jerez during winter testing he seemed a bit confused and didn’t really know what to make of F1 but later on he was more focused on the job/more at home in the F1 paddock. Lack of testing is what making life difficult for rookies; on top of everything, Petrov didn’t have previous career in karting like most guys do these days. On the subject of money – almost every driver in F1 has personal sponsors or has a powerful manager, etc., it’ no use spitting and claiming that a more traditional European driver would be a better choice just because. We don’t have any North American drivers in F1 and it has a lot to do with lack of sponsorship. It’s motor racing for Mr E’s sake, F1 cars don’t fall from the sky – they cost money.


I am surprised that he got a two-year deal with most of the newer drivers seemingly on one-year-with-options type arrangements these days. Petrov had a few decent drives last year but no more than that although the testing ban does make it extremely hard for the newbies.

But what will Renault/Lotus-Renault or whatever you care to call them do next year if the crashing does not abate and they are effectively stuck with him for another season?

What I would really like to know is whether or not Group Lotus has any actual involvement in driver selection for this team or not as this was the predicted line-up prior the Lotus tie-up…using allusions to illustrious Lotus history such as the JPS livery surely entails selecting the best two available drivers if you want to be taken seriously as THE Lotus…(Group Lotus 0 Team Lotus 1).


James, a bit off topic, but a question about another Renault driver: do you think Romain Grosjean wasn’t good enough for F1 or he was just unlucky to arrive in the team in such a turbulent moment and so he was dumped more because of the circumstances than his performance? I thought he wasn’t that bad (I had an impression that sometimes he was closer to Alonso than Piquet). Maybe he wasn’t the greatest talent of all times, but I guess he deserved some more time.


Never easy to come in mid season. Also no testing didn’t help. I think he’s one of those very aggressive drivers who needs time to find his limit in F1. In another era he may have settled into it, but not in F1 as it is today. Also he is painfully thin and I often wondered if he had the strength/stamina


Painfully thin? Stamina? Sounds like Peter Crouch to me.

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