Lotus Renault, the team that competed under the name Renault last season, have today announced that ï»¿Vitaly Petrov will remain with them for both 2011 and 2012.
The Russian, who has just completed his first F1 season, was widely expected to be confirmed as Robert Kubica‘s team-mate for the coming season, but the addition of an extra year has come as a surprise to many observers.
Petrov made a few embarrassing errors in his debut season, but did show flashes of promise. The highlight of his season was a fifth-place finish in Hungary, and he also held back the title charge of Fernando Alonso at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“I am very happy to continue with the team and proud to be representing Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 and 2012 seasons,” said Petrov. “I learned a lot about the sport, the circuits and the car this year. That will help me improve even more in the future. I am very excited about working with this great team once more, and I'm confident that I will deliver. In many ways, 2010 was about learning. 2011 will be about performing. Today, I feel I am ready to rise to this challenge.”
Eric Boullier, the Lotus Renault team principal, feels that Petrov should get closer to the performance benchmark set by Kubica in the coming season, and stresses that a consistent driver line-up is important as the team strives for success.
“We are very pleased to confirm that Vitaly will be staying with us for 2011 and 2012, in order that both he and the team can build on a promising 2010 campaign,” he said. “The entire team has been working flat out over the past months to improve our competitiveness, and a stable driver line-up is essential to achieving our targets. Robert Kubica provides a remarkable benchmark for both speed and consistency, and we are certain that Vitaly will move closer to this level of performance next year.”