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Petrov bid stalls amid 'unanswered questions'

Vitalyt Petrov may not be quite the shoe-in for the second Caterham seat that had been thought a week ago.....
Just over a week ago, Vitaly Petrov was being hailed as the final part of this year's Caterham F1 jigsaw, but his place in the line-up was always dependent on financial support.

That crucial part now appears to be missing from his bid as manager Oksana Kosachenko has revealed that talks with the Leafield team have stalled, opening the door for the likes of Giedo van der Garde, Luiz Razia and Bruno Senna to make late plays for the seat alongside Charles Pic.

Petrov was apparently favoured over either of his rivals due to his greater experience, something the team saw as crucial having prised Pic away from Marussia after just one year in the top flight [ see separate story], but Caterham technical chief Mike Gascoyne has also told Crash.net that the squad's financial health is also going to play a part in its decision on drivers, hence Heikki Kovalainen's exit after three years' sterling service [ see separate story].

Of course, the report, which appeared in Russia's R-Sport on Sunday, could be a ruse to extract the final drops of sponsorship from the few backers determined to see Petrov on the grid this year, but Kosachenko – who claimed, mid-2012, that Petrov was unlikely to be back in F1 this year – admitted that there was still a lot of work to do before her charge was secure.

“At the moment, there are a lot of unanswered questions,” she said. “There are too many things that need to be sorted out. We haven't managed to find new sponsors, and I don't know where the media got that suggestion from.”

Kosachenko has openly admitted that Petrov has the smallest budget of any driver bidding for the Caterham vacancy, but also insists that talks are up in the air as the team finalises its reshaping following Tony Fernandes' decision to stand down as team principal towards the end of the 2012 campaign.

“We're at the waiting stage, which is linked to the team's restructuring,” she confirmed, “We completely depend on them and can't speed anything up.”

Petrov was the last name to drop into place for the 2012 season, but this year finds himself facing opposition from the likes of Caterham reserve van der Garde, GP2 Series runner-up Razia and former HRT/Lotus/Williams driver Senna, all of whom reportedly bring bigger financial backing but less F1 experience. Ironically, it was Petrov's late pass on Pic in the Brazilian GP that allowed Caterham to secure tenth place in the constructors' standings, and the prize money that comes with it.

That was initially thought to have helped the Russian's cause, at the expense of Kovalainen, who told his management company not to actively seek sponsors as he didn't wish to labelled a 'pay driver' after seven years in the top flight. Petrov, however, has other advantages to offer Caterham, which does not yet include Russia amongst its markets.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
18.11.2012 - Race, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34
Luiz Razia (BRA, Arden International) celebrates his victory as he crosses the line at the end of the Valencia sprint race. Spain, June 24 2012. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Caterham Racing) in action at Hockenheim. (World Copyright: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service)
24.11.2012- Free Practice 3, Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham F1 Team CT01
17.11.2012 - Free Practice 3, Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham F1 Team CT01
28.04.2017 - Vitaly Petrov (RUS)
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Lewis Hamilton will use a Ayrton Senna-inspired helmet in Brazil
Ayrton Senna - McLaren, 1991 Australian Grand Prix
02.10.2016 - Eric Boullier (FRA) McLaren Racing Director Bruno Michel (FRA) Gp2 Promoter
03.09.2016 - Stella Bruno (ITA and Giorgia Cardinaletti (ITA), RAI TV
31.07.2016 - Race, Alan Van Der Merwe (RSA) FIA Medical Car Driver
28.07.2016 - (L-R) Giancarlo Bruno (ITA) RAI TV and Ivan Capelli (ITA) ACI Milano, President
Frank Bruno (GBR)
25.05.2016 - Gianfranco Mazzoni (ITA) RAI TV and Giancarlo Bruno (ITA) Gianfranco Mazzoni (ITA) RAI TV TV
29.04.2016 - Free Practice 2, Vitaly Petrov (RUS)
Mark Smith, Caterham [Credit: XPB]
15.11.2015 - Bruno Senna (BRA)

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US_F1_Fan - Unregistered

January 14, 2013 1:01 PM

Unlike most folks apparently, I hope Petrov does keep his seat. I don't think he will ever be one of the top drivers in F1, but I do think he has earned his place. Not every driver CAN be one of the top 5 drivers in a season after all, and Petrov has proven to be capable of good results and some good competition on track. Having experience, results to show he has some amount of talent, and bringing some cash to the team- all of these add up to being a win-win.

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