Petrov still hankering after F1 return
5 June 2013
Vitaly Petrov has revealed that he continues to work on a possible return to the F1 ranks, despite failing to raise the finance to pay for a ride in 2013.
The Russian, who today [5 June] confirmed that he will take part in the annual Moscow City Racing festival, said that he is engaging in talks with potential employers with one eye on getting back into a grand prix car for the 2014 season, but still faces the problem of finding sponsorship from his homeland.
Having driven for Renault and Caterham in a brief three-year stay in the top flight, Petrov found himself on the sidelines as the latter opted for Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde in 2013, while a possible opening at Marussia – seen by many as an obvious fit given their common nationality – eventually went to Jules Bianchi.
With no other options on the table, Petrov – who now handles his own affairs following former manager Oksana Kosachenko's decision to join Caterham as commercial director - is putting all his energy into finding a ride for next season, admitting that his focus remains on F1.
“Negotiations are ongoing,” he told the media during the press conference announcing his participation in Moscow City Racing, “I'm working hard. Even when I was in the mountains, we got so many offers [from other series], then visited a lot of events.
“I'm in talks with the teams, but I can not name them. I do not want to feed you breakfast, to say that something will be announced tomorrow or the next day, but, as soon as things clear up, I will assemble a press conference and tell everyone everything.
“Like I said, I will not let up before the 2014 season. F1 is my priority. My name was [linked to opportunities] in different classes, but I do not want to look there. All my efforts are directed to return [to F1]. I want to go back, F1 is my life."767
Last month, Petrov revealed that he was still struggling to generate interest in his F1 aspirations amongst Russian companies, leading him to expand his hunt for sponsorship beyond national boundaries.
"We are open to suggestions, and we're communicating with the different companies,” he told Neva Time, “Unfortunately, today, we are approached only by western companies, no domestic company is offering any help or support. This is a shame as, ideally, we would like to return to F1 together with Russian partners."
Petrov's case will not have been helped by Sergey Zlobin, athletic director of NSR Racing, suggesting that he ought to give up on his F1 dream. Zlobin, who currently helps back emerging Russian talents Mikhail Aleshin and Daniil Move, said that Petrov is unlikely to find the support he needs to return to the grand prix scene, and should perhaps take up one of the offers he claims to have received from other series.
“Vitaly reached the top, and drove in F1, so he cannot get any higher in his career,” former Minardi test driver Zlobin told Chempionat.com, “He says he had to find $42m for three years - I guess, with those $42m, I could raise the entire domestic motor racing scene.
“I think Vitaly will be left out in the cold [by F1], but any team in sports prototypes would be glad to consider him as a driver, with no money.”
Although he has yet to confirm which car he will be driving, Petrov will join former rivals Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Kamui Kobayashi and Heikki Kovalainen, as well as F1 rookie Max Chilton in the Moscow City Racing line-up. The quintet will demonstrate F1 machinery from Lotus, McLaren, Ferrari, Caterham and Marussia respectively, while the DTM, WRC and Dakar Rally will also be represented. F1 team boss turned BBC pundit Eddie Jordan will be providing the event's musical entertainment. Moscow City Racing 2013 takes place over the weekend of 20-21 July.