Vitaly Petrov will remain as team-mate to Robert Kubica for F1 2011, after Lotus Renault GP - formerly the Renault F1 team – confirmed today that it has inked a new deal with the Russian.
Petrov, who made his debut at the pinnacle of the sport this season - the first Russian to ever race in F1, has been given a two-year contract, something which should help boost his confidence going into the new year.
The 26-year-old had a mixed time in 2010, with a number of incidents over the course of the year meaning he managed just 27 points compared to the 136 scored by team-mate Robert Kubica. However, despite that and some speculation he might be not be retained at various points throughout the year, he did enough to keep his drive.
“I am very happy to continue with the team and proud to be representing Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 and 2012 seasons,” Petrov said. “I learned a lot about the sport, the circuits and the car this year. That will help me improve even more in the future.
“I am very excited about working with this great team once more, and I'm confident that I will deliver. In many ways, 2010 was about learning. 2011 will be about performing. Today, I feel I am ready to rise to this challenge.”
Lotus Renault GP team principal, Eric Boullier is confident Petrov can step it up a level in 2011: “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,” he continued.
“The entire team has been working flat out over the past months to improve our competitiveness, and a stable driver line-up is essential to achieving our targets. Robert Kubica provides a remarkable benchmark for both speed and consistency, and we are certain that Vitaly will move closer to this level of performance next year.”
Lotus Renault GP chairman, Gérard Lopez meanwhile echoed those sentiments, although he also revealed that the deal makes commercial sense too.
“We're delighted to have Vitaly on board for another two years,” Lopez added. “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 F1. 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,” he summed-up.