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Petrov position to be decided next week

Vitaly Petrov will have to wait until next week to discover whether he will partner Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus Renault in 2012.
Despite having a contract in place for next season, Vitaly Petrov is not guaranteed to remain with the Lotus Renault team for a third F1 campaign, according to his manager.

The Russian had been expected to lead the Enstone squad should Robert Kubica not be able to return in 2012 but, with Kimi Raikkonen being announced as Lotus Renault driver on Tuesday, doubt has not only been cast over Petrov's role, but also his relationship with the team in general. According to manager Oksana Kossatchenko, a decision won't be taken until next week at the earliest, and it was by no means certain that Petrov would remain on board to team up with the former world champion.

Romain Grosjean, Bruno Senna and even veteran Rubens Barrichello have been mentioned as potential Lotus Renault drivers in 2012, adding to the uncertainty, with Grosjean known to be a favourite of team principal Eric Boullier. The GP2 champion ran for the team in Friday practice at the last two races, while Senna contested the final eight rounds of the season after replacing Nick Heidfeld alongside Petrov. The Russian finished the season tenth in the standings with 37 points.

"I have a meeting tomorrow morning to decide what we are doing, whether we are staying or not," Kossatchenko told Reuters, "We will have a discussion. I guess we will find a solution and then we will have a few days to sort it out. We would like to know the plan from the team before we confirm our presence in the team."

Tuesday's announcement confirming Raikkonen's return to the F1 fold did not name a team-mate, despite Petrov having a year to run on his current deal.

"We want to make an analysis of the year and then we will decide whether we can collaborate and go forward together, or if it is better for us to split," Kossatchenko confirmed, "I would like to stay with what we have at the moment, so the best option is to keep Vitaly in Lotus for the next year."

Kubica has confirmed that he will be unable to race from the start of 2012, as his recuperation from the rallying accident that sidelined him for the entire 2011 campaign continues, but it could be that the second seat at Lotus Renault will be warmed by a stand-in pending the Pole's eventual return, even though Kubica has also been linked to a possible future at Ferrari.

Petrov weakened his position at Enstone somewhat with an inappropriate outburst following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in which he attacked the team's development and strategy. Although he has since apologised, the incident will not be forgotten easily.

"After today's decision was announced, I was given a very short amount of time, literally ten days," Kossatchenko told Ria Novosti, "We have until 10 December to decide if Vitaly stays or leaves. It's better to put it this way - will the management come to an agreement with the owners? If we do, then Vitaly should take it as a given [that he will be at Lotus Renault next season]."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
25.11.2011- Friday Practice 2, Romain Grosjean (FRA), Test Driver, Lotus Renault GP, R31
Kimi Raikkonen - Lotus Renault GP
26.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Lotus Renault GP, R31
26.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Lotus Renault GP, R31
24.11.2011- Team Picture, Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Lotus Renault GP, R31
Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport F1
Renault Formula One Team, launch date, [Credit: Renault F1]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Chris - Unregistered

December 02, 2011 11:03 AM

Richard, how do you know Kimi isn't a development driver? And it's not just about his speed. His best asset has been able to direct us in the car development work, Sauber says. Usually it takes 10-20 million USD or Michael Schumacher to develop the car half a second faster. My team gets this benefit for free thanks to Raikkonen, with input from Heidfeld..... I think Peter Sauber knows more than you, so I am going to side with him.


December 02, 2011 11:37 AM

Where do you get your opinion from, Richard? From crash.net's bio of RB: "It may not have yielded the success of 2009, but 2010 again allowed the popular Brazilian to be the first to reach 300 F1 starts, at Suzuka in October, and underlined his worth as a development driver." From formula1blog.com: "Barrichello is a veteran and a fabulous car development driver" From f1technical.net's Forum: "Barrichello is well known as a development driver and giving good feedback, and is very very good at setting a car up, with some people even saying that it only takes Rubens about 5 laps to know the exact specific setup that he wants"

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