Vitaly Petrov for hire

Renault has been quick to refute speculation that money is the reason for its interest in Vitaly Petrov as a possible team-mate to Robert Kubica this season, in spite of the Russian reportedly offering some €15M for a race seat.

Team Principal Eric Boullier is insisting that talent is the team’s number-one priority.

"I am talking to everyone who does not have an F1 contract," Boullier explained to ESPN. "I have been speaking with Nick Heidfeld [now confirmed as Mercedes’ reserve driver] and also with Takuma Sato, Christian Klien and Romain Grosjean, amongst others.

"I am looking for talent first and foremost, but then after that I do need to consider the sponsorship opportunities; people say we are only looking at Petrov because he is bringing a lot of money, but he is not the richest driver we are talking to."
Really? Who is, then?

Boullier does admit, however, that commercial opportunities via driver signings cannot be disregarded. "Obviously, it would be wrong of me to ignore his nationality," he continued of the Russian, last season’s GP2 runner-up.

"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 – it would be interesting to combine talent and future prospects, but he is not top of my list."

Oh, really!

When one considers that Renault has an enormous sponsorship black hole to fill with the departure of its title sponsor, ING, courtesy of the ‘Crashgate’ fiasco, we’ll take that with a pinch of salt!

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.