It seems Vitaly Petrov's recent remark about Robert Kubica being 'a closed person' from whom it is impossible to learn anything has created some needle at Lotus Renault GP, with managing director Eric Boullier hinting that people in glass houses should not cast stones and stressing that 'if he wants to deliver, he has to find it by himself'.
Petrov's veiled criticism of his team-mate [see separate story – click here
] has opened up a whole can of worms at the Enstone-based outfit, with Boullier suggesting that the comments betrayed a case of the pot calling the kettle black, as the Frenchman urged his young charge to grasp the nettle for himself rather than sitting back and expecting to be spoon-fed as it were.
“The funny thing is that Vitaly as well is not very talkative,” Boullier is quoted as having said by Reuters
at the Valencia launch of the new Lotus Renault GP R31 this week. “It is just two cultures, and they are basically the same. Both of them are very secretive, not very talkative. Robert clearly has his own life and he knows where he wants to go, and it is up to Vitaly to make contact with him.
“That is one of the many subjects that we have discussed with him, that if he wants to deliver he has to find it by himself, not expect people to give [it to] him for free – and it is the same for the relationship he has with Robert.”
Kubica, for his part, was quick to dismiss notions that he had cold-shouldered his team-mate last year – Petrov's rookie campaign in F1 – but he did hint that the pair may not always see eye-to-eye and that their working relationship would likely never develop into an actual friendship.
“Definitely I think Vitaly will have fewer problems this year than he had last year,” the Pole opined. “It was normal for a rookie driver joining the team that it wouldn't be easy for him. He's definitely starting from a better level, [with] an easier task than last year.
“To be honest, I'm happy because I have learnt something from him even without knowing or wanting it – how not to go off the track! No, I'm joking – I'm happy to have Vitaly as a team-mate and that's it. I don't want to get too much into the details. If he says this, he has his point-of-view. I have a bit of a different point-of-view.”
In the light of his frustrating inconsistency and a number of off-track excursions that resulted in failures to finish in F1 2010, Petrov's future hung in the balance until December, but convinced by his commitment to the cause and determination to tame his wild side, and on the strength of the type of feisty, combative performance he produced in the Abu Dhabi finale – not to mention his potential for attracting lucrative sponsorship from his homeland – Renault elected to retain the Russian's services into a second season.
“This year I think it is different already,” affirmed the 26-year-old, visibly more relaxed than he was twelve months ago. “At least I know the tracks, I know F1 and where we can improve and the team will support me a lot.”