x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Vitaly Petrov retains Renault seat for two years

Vitaly Petrov, Russia's first Formula One driver, has extended his contract with the Renault team for the next two years.

Vitaly Petrov holds off Fernando Alonso during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Vitaly Petrov holds off Fernando Alonso during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vitaly Petrov, Russia's first Formula One driver, has extended his contract with the Renault team for the next two years.

"I'm very excited about working with this great team once more, and I'm confident that I will deliver," the 26-year-old driver told a news conference in Moscow yesterday.

"In many ways, 2010 was about learning; 2011 will be about performing. Today, I feel I am ready to rise to this challenge."

The Renault Formula One team will race as Lotus Renault GP next year under a long-term partnership with the Malaysian-owned sports-car company, who will also become co-owners.

"I'm very happy to continue with the team and proud to be representing Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 and 2012 seasons," said Petrov, who will partner Poland's Robert Kubica next year.

"I learned a lot about the sport, the circuits and the car this year. That will help me improve even more in the future."

Petrov's position with Renault had been uncertain after an inconsistent first season.

He scored just 27 points to Kubica's 136 this year but stood out in the season-ending Abu Dhabi race when he finished sixth, having kept Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who had been leading the championship before the race, behind him for 40 laps.

"We're delighted to have Vitaly on board for another two years," the team owner Gerard 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."

Eric Boullier, Lotus Renault GP team principal, said: "We are very pleased to confirm that Vitaly will be staying with us for 2011 and 2012 in order that both he and the team can build on a promising 2010 campaign."

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher, the seven-times world champion, has reiterated he has no regrets about coming out of retirement this year to race for the Mercedes GP team despite acknowledging "we clearly did not meet our expectations".

The German scored only 72 points as he laboured for much of the season, with his best results being fourth-place finishes in Spain and in Turkey.

"I think I have proved over many years that I love challenges and that I am able to handle them. I have not regretted my decision to come back at all," he said.

Pre-season testing for the 2011 season begins in February, and Schumacher said he is looking forward to trying to improve on 2010.

He added: "Knowing our development for the new year makes me confident that we can fight for some race victories from our own power. This is a prospect which makes me look forward to competing again."