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Petrov confirmed as Renault's second driver until 2012

ESPNF1 Staff
December 22, 2010 « Pirelli tyres are improving - Grosjean | »
Vitaly Petrov during the press conference in Moscow announcing he would keep his drive with Renault © Getty Images

Vitaly Pertov has been confirmed as a Renault driver for the next two seasons, meaning he will complete the team's line-up alongside Robert Kubica until 2012.

Petrov had a tough rookie year at Renault, retiring from six grands prix and scoring just 27 points compared to Kubica's 136. However, Renault have kept faith in the Russian, who brings money and sponsorship to the team, and believes he can improve in 2011.

"We're delighted to have Vitaly on board for another two years," majority shareholder Gerard Lopez said. "Last season, he showed on several occasions that he clearly has the potential to deliver. It was just a matter of putting everything together during the same weekend, race after race, and this will be his target for 2011. Also, thanks to Vitaly and the team, Russia is opening up to Formula 1. Over the past few months, we've established close links with this country and with some of its strongest companies. We're looking forward to building on this special relationship and turning it into a very successful adventure over the next two seasons."

Team principal Eric Boullier is expecting Petrov to narrow the gap to Kubica next season.

"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."

Petrov himself said he feels as though he can build on his experience in 2010.

"I am very happy to continue with the team and proud to be representing Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 and 2012 seasons," he added. "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."

Click here to read a Vitaly Petrov Q&A