Jarno Trulli's place on the 2012 F1 grid looks safer than of late amid suggestions that potential replacement Vitaly Petrov is now chasing the third seat at Caterham F1.
The Italian veteran inked a one-year extension to his contract with tony Fernandes' team, but the announcement that accompanied the deal failed to refer specifically to a race seat, prompting speculation that Trulli may be relegated to another role.
That rumour gathered pace as more and more drivers found themselves on the market this 'silly season', with Petrov just one several linked to Trulli's ride. While the likes of Jerome d'Ambrosio and Bruno Senna now appear to be chasing jobs elsewhere, Petrov remained a candidate for the seat alongside Heikki Kovalainen - particularly if he was to bring Russian backing.
The latest reports, however, now suggest that the former Lotus Renault driver is in talks about filling the reserve role at Caterham previously held by Karun Chandhok.
According to Finland's Turun Sanomat
newspaper, Petrov's manager, Oksana Kosachenko, was at the team's Hingham base to discuss terms last week, amid suggestions that Petrov would become the third driver with an eye to replacing Trulli next
d'Ambrosio, meanwhile, remains in contention to fill a similar role at Lotus Renault and hopes to announce his plans win the next week or so, while Senna appears poised to finally confirm that he will replace fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello at Williams for 2012.
Although there have been a couple of false starts to the same story, a number of reputable sources believe that Petrov's former Lotus Renault team-mate has finally seen off the threat of both Barrichello and Force India outcast Adrian Sutil, and could be confirmed alongside Pastor Maldonado as early as today [Tuesday 17 January].
According to Italy's Autosprint
magazine, Senna has increased the amount of sponsorship that he can bring to the Grove-based team, including the addition of oil company OGX.