Vitaly Petrov is looking more and more certain to be retained by the Renault team for the 2011 F1 season, amid rumours of additional funding from Russia helping to sweeten the deal.
The Russian’s maiden F1 season has been a rather mixed bag of results marred with several high profile accidents over selected Grand Prix weekends. But the 2009 GP2 championship runner-up redeemed himself with an outstanding showing in Abu Dhabi, where he out-qualified team-mate Robert Kubica for the second time all season, and drove a determined race to finish sixth, keeping Fernando Alonso behind him all the way to the chequered flag.
Key team figures have now admitted that Petrov’s efforts in the season-ending race at Yas Marina have not harmed his stock in the least.
“His performance in Abu Dhabi will be a positive in our consideration. But we still have to sit down and I want to make sure my mind is fresh to think over the situation,” Renault team boss Eric Boullier told AUTOSPORT.
“There are still some frustrations but I have to consider the global package, and I have to say that Abu Dhabi was positive for him,” he added.
Renault has been the subject of many rumours in the driver market, with the seat partnering Robert Kubica for 2011 said to be under threat from Nick Heidfeld, Adrian Sutil, and Karun Chandhok.
When asked about the rival drivers’ prospects, Boullier gave a startlingly frank admission.
“There is still some push, but I have been very frank with them,” he said. “It is more positive for Vitaly than negative, so there is less chance for them.”
[Original image via Sutton Images]