Vitaly Petrov has said he is keen to repay Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for his support after it was revealed that the Lotus Renault GP driver is to receive funding from a state-run company for the 2011 F1 season.

Putin has brokered a deal that will see high-tech company Rostekhnologii provide funding to Petrov for the 2011 season after he secured a new two-year deal to remain with Renault, now running under its new name after team owners Genii Capital sold shares to Group Lotus.

"The number of automobile sport lovers in Russia increases day by day," Putin was quoted by news agency AFP. "Petrov, who is very famous among Formula One fans here, has recently signed a new two-year contract with his team. He definitely needs support - financial support most of all."

Petrov himself said he was keen to repay the faith shown in him for the year ahead by fighting towards the front of the field.

"I will try to do everything in my hands to fight with the leaders Ferrari and McLaren," he told Marca. "We will see how the team has prepared the new car."



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