Some good news at last for Vitaly Petrov, who has been earmarked as the first choice to be signed along Robert Kubica at the rebranded Lotus Renault outfit for the 2011 season.

Vitaly PetrovHowever, key team figures have stipulated that the 26-year-old Russian must show a more consistent, and improved, performance throughout the season if he wants to avoid landing up on the proverbial scrapheap of former F1 drivers.

Petrov scored 27 championship points – and almost racked up as many million in repair bills – during his rookie F1 year, but team boss Gerard Lopez has called on him to lift his game next season.

“Our preferred choice at this stage is to continue with Vitaly, but he has to sit down with us,” Lopez told AUTOSPORT.

“We will make the decision based on that discussion with Vitaly and his understanding of what it means if he stays at the team,” he added.

“Our expectation is that he can do what he did in Hungary or Abu Dhabi more consistently. We know that he has got the speed, but we also know that he sometimes lacks the focus to deliver on a full weekend. If we stay with Vitaly, he has to be able to do that more consistently.”

The team is aiming to have the identity of Kubica’s team-mate announced before Christmas.

[Original images via AUTOSPORT]

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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.