GP2 runner-up Vitaly Petrov has been signed by Renault as their second driver for the 2010 season.
Petrov had been a front-runner for the drive along with the likes of Nick Heidfeld, Christian Klien and 2009 driver Romain Grosjean.
Petrov brings plenty of sponsorship with him, namely from Russian gas giant Gazprom, rumoured to be as much as £13 million – but team principal Eric Boullier insists he has been hired for his talent rather than his wallet.
“I am looking for talent first and foremost, but then after that I do need to consider the sponsorship opportunities,” said Boullier on Monday. “People say we are only looking at Petrov because he is bringing a lot of money, but he is not the richest driver we [were] talking to.”
However Boullier had acknowledged his sponsorship brings many opportunites for the future.
“Obviously it would be wrong of me to ignore his nationality – he could potentially open up a new sponsorship market for us in the future. Russia is not an easy market and today F1 is not as popular there as it is in some other countries.”
Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung is also expected to be confirmed as the team’s Test and Reserve driver. He already has connections to the team, as a client of Gravity Sport Management.