Renault hopeful of a strong season by Vitaly Petrov

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The Russian driver, Vitaly Petrov finally has the Christmas gift he wanted desperately. Although it is not the Santa Claus but the Lotus Renault GP boss, Eric Boullier, who granted him his wish. After a long wait, the team has ultimately announced to retain
the driver for another two years.
Petrov, seen on the Formula 1 grid for the first time at the start of the 2010 season, is the first-ever Russian driver to have completed a Formula 1 season. Although his debut season with the sport was not a complete disappointment, yet the team made him
wait for over a month before deciding his future with the sport. The seat of his last season’s teammate, Robert Kubica was confirmed for another year months back by the team management.
However, the Enstone-based outfit has announced that all the concerns and issues of the team have been negotiated with the driver and that they are happy to refresh his contract for another two years, alongside the team leader, Kubica. The team has undergone
many changes in the last few weeks as it has signed a contract with Group Lotus, making it the official title sponsor for the team. Renault will now be seen on the 2011 grid as ‘Lotus Renault GP’.
The team’s Chairman Gerard Lopez, also the owner of Genii investment, assured his partner, Group Lotus that Petrov has the potential and will deliver a far more consistent performance in the years to come. While talking to the media earlier this week he
exclaimed, “We’re delighted to have Vitaly on board for another two years. 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.”
During the last season, Renault has been witnessed taking a lot of interest in Russian sponsorship market, and now Petrov’s longer stay can help the team have deeper penetration in the market.
While explaining this, the team boss said, “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.”
All through his debut season, Petrov has been seen performing just average and his seat in the team for another season seemed much uncertain. Media kept on linking names of some established F1 drivers like, Kimi Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock with
Renault for next season, which further made his position weak.
However, the last round in Abu Dhabi brought the driver under lime light instantly. For 40 laps of the race, the driver kept the two-time world champion and the strongest title contender of the season, Fernando Alonso behind him, without giving him a single
chance of overtaking. This not only changed the result of the 2010 season completely but also helped Petrov demonstrate his driving skills on the track.  
Boullier now believes that every now and then Petrov has shown his latent talent and that very soon he will be able to make his mark on the track. This season saw him finish at 13th place in the drivers’ championship, with 27-points.



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