The Caterham F1 team has already benefited from its decision to replace veteran Jarno Trulli with Vitaly Petrov, after adding a Russian sponsor to its 2012 portfolio.
Much as the Lotus Renault team found when it first gave Petrov his break in 2010, there is support to be found in the future F1 host, and Caterham unveiled a deal with SIBUR, the largest petrochemical company in Russia and Eastern Europe, ahead of this week's Barcelona group test. The deal also ensures that SIBUR continues a partnership with Petrov that began last year.
“We are delighted to welcome SIBUR into our team and to help them continue their relationship in F1 with Vitaly, and now with Caterham F1," team CEO Tony Fernandes commented, "F1 is a truly global sport, and SIBUR's investment is proof of the value F1 can bring, on a national and international level, so we are looking forward to working closely with Mr Konov and his team at SIBUR to help them realise maximum benefit from this partnership.”
The SIBUR logo will feature on the CT01 cars and on Petrov's racesuit throughout the 2012 season.
"I'm very glad that Vitaly's career in F1 is continuing with such an exciting new role at Caterham F1 Team," SIBUR CEO Dmitry Konov added, "Vitaly plays a very important role for us, and all Russians.
"F1 mixes cutting edge technology and the highest level of competition, and these are concepts SIBUR understands very well. We understand how big a challenge it is to succeed in such an intense environment, and to maintain mastery of the conditions whilst always being at the very forefront of technical progress. That is why we are glad to give Vitaly and Caterham F1 Team our support. It is a real pleasure for us to continue our partnership in 2012, when Russia – thanks to Petrov as well – takes another step closer to F1."
Trulli, meanwhile, admitted that he was not surprised to be dropped by Caterham in favour of Petrov, based on the sport's current commercial situation.
"Personally, I'm not displeased," he told Italian news agency ANSA
, "I was prepared for a possible divorce from Caterham, in the knowledge that the difficult economic situation would have pushed the team to find an adequately-supported driver. Small teams have certain needs and contracts are clear. I hope that, with Petrov's contribution, all the people who work there can have a more serene future."
The inaugural Russian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place in Olympic city Sochi shortly after the 2014 Winter games have been completed.