Who should Renault sign for 2011? (Poll)

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With the top seats at Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes already taken for 2011, the most coveted place left to fill on next year’s grid is the second Renault alongside Robert Kubica.

The team have been clear about their expectations for Vitaly Petrov, who had a mixed weekend in Spa with a points finish despite a crash in qualifying.

Has he done enough to keep his place in the team – or should Renault look elsewhere for a 2011 driver?

The disappearance of BMW and Toyota at the end of last season left some big-name drivers in small teams this year, including the likes of Jarno Trulli (Lotus) and Timo Glock (Virgin).

Unsurprisingly there have already been rumours one of these drivers might move to the increasingly competitive Renault next year as the team enjoy a resurgence in form.

Then there are the newer drivers who have come into the sport recently such as Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Lucas di Grassi. Have any of these done enough to merit a drive with what could be a race-winning car next year?

And what of Kubica’s former BMW team mate Nick Heidfeld? His time spent tyre testing for Pirelli will surely make him an attractive pick for the team, along with his decade of F1 race experience.

It’s not easy being an F1 rookie these days as testing opportunities are so limited. Petrov’s best chance of keeping his seat is if he keeps bringing the car home in the points, potentially helping Renault beat Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.

Should they keep their faith in him for next year, or look elsewhere? Should they look beyond the pool of current F1 drivers? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Who should get the second Renault seat in 2011?

  • Someone else (9%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (17%)
  • Lucas di Grassi (1%)
  • Sakon Yamamoto (1%)
  • Karun Chandhok (4%)
  • Bruno Senna (6%)
  • Nico H???lkenberg (1%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (25%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (3%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (1%)
  • Timo Glock (7%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (7%)
  • Jarno Trulli (1%)
  • Adrian Sutil (18%)

Total Voters: 2,739

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Read more: 2011 F1 drivers and teams

Image (C) Renault/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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165 comments on “Who should Renault sign for 2011? (Poll)”

  1. Klien?

    rubens isnt going anywhere. so other than trulli who is on the wayne career wise then only nick heidfeld has achieved more than Klien out of the group above.

    the guy was fast. and was coming on nicely. qualified 7th for his final race in a rubbish red bull in 06. he blew away liuzzi so i was amazed that he was given another chance but Klien.

    Renaults problem is money apparently. so perhaps if thats the case then they should stick with petrov.

    but either nick for his pirelli knowledge or Klien. maybe Glock.

    1. Bruno Senna because i would just like to see what he could do with a decent car not that the hrt is bad or anything but you never know he still has time to develop his skills and live up to the senna name.

      1. Why isn’t Kobayashi under consideration? He’s put in some solid drives this year e.g Valencia and is good in quali

  2. I’m going to say Nick Heidfeld.

    1. I’d give kobayashi a shout if sauber dont get funding for next year.

      1. kobayashi is funding sauber so its almost impossible

        1. Kobayashi ain’t funding Sauber nothing. Part of the point about Kobayashi is that Toyota funded him, when they folded it was being rescued by Sauber that kept him in the game.

        2. Anyway Kobayashi has by now been confirmed to be driving for Sauber next year (autosport.com, adam cooper blog etc.).

  3. Kimi Raikkonen (I wish he would just forget about money)

    1. I don’t think Kimi cares about the money half as much is made out personally.

      I think he drove the highest price because that’s what all drivers should do plus he really wanted to go rallying. We’d hear things like how he demanded too much money, then it was the PR days that were a problem, there always seemed like some excuse. If he wanted to race in F1 he’d have taken the Mclaren deal. He’s done with F1 now he has his title. I’ll be surprised if he comes back or even wants to come back.

      1. I think your absolutely right there. Sure Raikkönnen wanted much money and hardly any PR work from McLaren, that was to see how far would they go, not because he was very keen to drive for them.

        Kimi is finsished with F1, he has the WDC title, and now he is doing something new and exiting, where there is a new challenge for him.
        He is smiling a lot and doing more PR work than he did in his years at Ferrari combined. What could any team offer him? Maybe he would be interested in Virgin, for the Virgin Galaxy experience, but otherwise nothing inspiring in it.

    2. I think his manager went for the money, but Kimi wanted the team with a chance to go for the championship.

      So his manager had a great possible deal at Toyota, but Kimi didn’t think they’d be competitive.

      In the end Kimi is not after just the money.

      1. I think the reason he didn’t drive for McLaren this year was basically he was bored of F1 and unless McLaren were going to pay him more to drive than Ferrari were for him not to drive he wasn’t going to bother.

        I’d love to see Kimi back but he nothing left to prove in F1, if he could become moderately successful in rallying that would boost his reputation far more.

        1. I think the reason Kimi didn’t drive for Mclaren this year is cuss Mclaren thought it would be cool to have the two most recent World Champions and plus their from GB. Kinda a Mclaren dream team for them. Pretty superficial. But that’s Mclaren for you :)

          1. Not as bad as making up a reason why someone did something, then using it to judge them.

          2. Funny reasoning, maybe McLaren were not that much convinced of his drive to race, something Button was offering (and being the champ, and being cheaper). I do think Ads21 is closer to the truth here than you are.

    3. Yeah I would love Kimi to be in that Renault.

    4. See you didn’t put Kimi Raikkonen on the list this time Keith. If you had, he’d have 99.9% of the vote by now.

      1. Well if he accounts for all the ‘Someone else’s he’s only got 8% so far.

        1. Nice one Keith.

          I for one think Kimi sees F1 as a finnished (pun intended) part of his professional career.

  4. Someone should tell Sakon Yamamoto that voting in this poll won’t get him a drive with Renault.

    I think they should definitely give Petrov more time. He has been the most impressive rookie this year for me, granted, he has the best car but he has had some very impressive moments.

    1. I agree completely. There really isn’t a point in bringing up a rookie to your team then if you give up on them after one season. As much as I would say that a minimum of three seasons should be enough time to evaluate talent, I speculate most teams would only accept two.

      Petrov has been impressive enough and after struggling in Turkey, Canadia, and Valencia, he’s stepped up his game.

      I have no idea why Yamamoto was an option. He should have just been under “someone else”.

      1. I agree – Petrov has certainly done enough to keep his seat in my opinion. I particularly enjoyed his pass on Webber earlier in the season and Rosberg in Spa.

        1. Oh yes, and I want Petrov still to be in F1 next year, as every time I read the FOM contraction of his name during the TV coverage (PET) I read it to myself in a Geordie accent…

  5. I would love to see Kamui Kobayashi in the second car.
    As we saw last year and at times this year, with a good car, as the Renault now is, he can produce some very good results and seems to have the racing brain needed despite his relatively young age and low experience.

    1. Definalty a rising star and has shown he can be consistent this year with a struggling sauber. A seat at the 4th team ( Renault) is just what he needs

    2. I agree Kobi is an interesting talent and certainly a driver with prospects… but so is Petrov, he has had a number of great drives this season and has shown he can race.

      My fears are that if Petrov looses his Renault seat he could well be out of F1, and he certainly deserves more of a chance.

      1. I agree. I’d rather see Kobi in the faster car, but if Petrov looses his seat he may loose out altogether, and they really both deserve to be in F1 (probably more so than some established drivers on the grid).

        1. I hope you aren’t looking at Trulli cos I am studiously avoiding looking at him ;-)

    3. Petrov is very similar to Kobayashi in many ways. It will be interesting to see the two of them develop over the coming years, I expect them to both become top drivers.

      Petrov is well suited at Renault (his $35M is especially well suited), Kobayashi could use a bit more time in a Sauber to build up experience (nothing like spending every race, week-in and week-out in the middle and back of the back fighting other drivers and your own car)

  6. If he wants the drive, give it to Sutil.

    If not, ask Glock, or Heidfeld given his insider info on the Pirellis.

    I do actually like Petrov, I think he’s shown enough flashes of speed to merit being in Formula 1, and I won’t be unhappy if he’s still there next season – when he should do a better job.

    But when you look at the table this season, with a better second driver Renault would easily be ahead of Mercedes in the WCC – and still might overhaul them regardless.

    1. following that logic there is no room for rookies in any team… because every team is trying to compete for points, and if they aren’t then they shouldn’t be in the sport.

      I really think the FIA needs to address the issue of rookie drivers and create a mechanism to give them more in car and on track experience. An obvious idea to me would be to have an extra practice session available at race weekends where only rookie drivers are allowed to practice (with extra tyres given for use in that session only). I would also suggest that teams on zero points (this could be increased as the season progresses) can also take part to allow the back marker teams a chance to close up on the front runners.

      1. I am sure that is exactly the reason why top teams are now reluctant to put Rookies in their cars.

        Good job on Renault they gave Petrov a chance (even if money and PR strategy were behind that), it would not make sense to drop him now when he has learnt the hardest lessons and can only improve. I think they will keep PEtrov.

        And I agree with your thougths on allowing testing for rookies (drivers and teams) to learn the ropes.

        1. Nice idea guys….but can you create a watertight definition of a rookie that will not be abused by some smartass ?

  7. voted Glock as he is not happy at Virgin either and really hope its not Sutil… without Sutil Force India would be destroyed…

    1. Well sure, but then, Sutil is stuck in a car which don’t really deserves him.

  8. Kovalienen for me. He’ll thrive now in a far more responsibly/non-Briatore run team, compared to his rookie season with them. Plus, he now has 4 seasons of experience and wisdom under his belt, and his determined yet humble personality would compliment Kubica well.

    That said, given he’s happily put up with Lotus this year, he’ll probably be keen to see the fruits of their first full car development in 2011.

    1. I agree. Apart from that I think he’s a hugely underrated driver. His McLaren years killed his reputation, and although I agree with the fact that Lewis totally outshone him, I think that the surrounding didn’t exactly suit him. Neither seemed the car – his Lotus performance this year seems to show that.

      Moreover, he won’t demand an unreasonable sum of money, and neither will he suffer with Kubica being no.1 too much.

      Apart from that I really like him :).

      1. Button’s experience is rehabiliting him a little bit. Button is no faster than Hamilton in relative terms than was Kovalainen, though Button may be a better and more consistent in the races.

    2. I’d love to see him at a more competitive team. But at the same time, I’d love to see him stay with Lotus and help them continue to develop. I’m really fine whatever he does.

      1. I like Kovalainen, and after 2007 I tipped him as a future world champion. He must find a strong team, like Reanult, and would benefit from someone like Kubica as a team mate, but I voted for Petrov.

        1. I like Kovalainen, and after 2007 I tipped him as a future world champion. He must find a strong team, like Reanult*, and would benefit from someone like Kubica as a team mate, but I voted for Petrov


    3. It makes no sense for anyone in a new team to leave that team after one year. In the second year, the fruits of the first year’s development can be reaped.

  9. I like Pets style. He needs a bit more experience, but with testing bans I can’t see Renault signing anyone else.

  10. Romain Grosjean

    1. that’s who i’d go for too…

  11. Petrov. He’s shown speed to beat Kubica at Hungary…not just in the race but the full weekend he was quicker. He has the hardest teammate out of the rookies and has any other rookie (minus HRT as they’re both newbies apart from Sakon but let’s not even go there) so thoroughly beaten their teammate on a weekend? I can’t recall.

    He’s made some silly errors but he lacks experience. He more than made up for his qualifying bludner in Spa by his storming and clever drive. Spa and China showed he has great race craft. and He brings a whole new market and fan base and it would be an absolute waste of a year if he wasn’t signed.

    What are the options? Virgin said last weekend Timo was sticking with them. Sutil? He’s the 4th best German on the grid, possibly 5th if you rank Timo higher, he’s doing well this year but basically all that requires is for him not to crash and to beat Liuzzi who is hardly a champion. Heidfeld? If Renault are moulding the team around Kubica he isn’t an obvious number 2 as he beat Kubica last time they were together plus the two drivers require very different things from the car. It depends how desperate they are for tyre information.

    Petrov shows the best promise out of all the other alternatives and brings something on the market/commercial side,

    1. Pretty much 100% agree with Steph.

      Would love to see Heidfeld get an F1 drive again but I don’t think having the contrasting styles of Kubica and Heidfeld would work.

      1. Oh, come on, he’s the only rookie to beat his teammate only once. All the other rookies managed better ;)

        Just kidding. He’s a good driver, probably most promising from the new bunch, but right now he’s far from Robert. Vitaly had one really good weekend in Hungary, and Robert had a bad one. It happens. Don’t think it was a benchmark race.

    2. Petrov is this year costing Renault 4th in the campionship. He has less than 5 times the points that Kubica has. An while he is improving no team with their eyes on race wins and truly making waves and the sharp end of the table can afford a driver so far off the pace of his team mate. Kubica might be pretty special but if Petrov has scored half the points he had Renault would be a comfortable fourth, it’s the reason Heikki Kovalinen had no place at McLaren after 08, theres no room for beeing off the pace at the top, you can’t have one driver 1st and the other seventh.

      Petrov doesn’t deserve a top seat for 19 points, thats a riduculously poor return, he is being beaten by Kobayashi for crying out loud.

      As for Sutil, you do him down too much, he has this year outwitted both Hamilton and Vettle driving superior cars than he, Liuzzi ain’t great but he’s experianced and Sutils handed him a giant thrashing, he’s beating Schumacher in the championship and the race where his car should be strongest is next. In fact looking at the championship standings it’s Sutil whose in contention to be best-of-the rest beating man who was originally held to be a championship contender.

      Petrov deserves an F1 drive, maybe one day a top drive, but no one 85 points behind his teamate, being beaten by another rookie in a car as much as a second slower thatn his deserves a top seat.

      1. The problem is the testing ban. Heikki had testing and a year at Renault so I don’t think it is fair to compare the two.

        Points don’t always reveal the full story. Kobayashi also has an easier teammate, they have Key now and the car has also came on leaps and bounds. I don’t think it’s the best to compare rookies against each other, against their teammates and how well they do on that front eys but they have different circumstance and equipment and some just require more time. It’s pace and race craft. Petrov’s mightily upped his game in the second part of the season.

        Sutil has good racing craft on occassion (he’s sued the Fi’s top speed well and been clever enough to defend very well in Mal and Silv) but he didn’t do anything to make Fisi think he should retire before. It was Fisi who got the pole and took on the Ferrari at Spa. Sutil’s been here for a while now and yet he’s never looked like moving up in the F1 world. Liuzzi has experience but so does Yamamoto and Klien but they are fairly useless too.

        Renault gave up on 4th in the constructor’s the day they hired a rookie. If they get 4th it’s a massive achievement but if they don’t it’s perfectly understandable I think. Right now, they need to start building a winning team and Petrov has shown he can take on the field. He just needs experience.

        1. Fisi did very well to get that Pole and podium, he was in great form that weekend. However for most of the year the car was easily slowest or 2nd slowest and Sutil threatened points many times, partiularly Germany, often he was wiped out in situations that wern’t his fault.

          Regardless however much you think the C29 has come on it’s still and always has been vaslty inferior to the Renault, an Koba is still getting more out of it that Petrovs getting out of his car.

          Petrov hasn’t shown the qualities required by a championship chasing team, the testing bans fault it may be and the talent he may have but top teams don’t carry baggage, Petrovs racecraft appears to consist of CHARGE and nothing else, some times this works out and he gets minor points, mostly not.

          Finally Petrov is no use to Kubica, who needs help and experiance on the otherside of the garrage to help with development and set up, Glock or Sutil, both highly intelligent and experianced would benefit the Renaults speed and set up far more than someone in their second full season ever could.

          Renault is now a top team again, they don’t need to think about the plight of F1 rookies, they can reach out and get the best available and the best fit for themselves. Petrov is no where near the best Renault can get, so sod him, this F1, if he deserves a drive he can learn his craft and the bottom of the ladder like most people then work his way up.

          1. Ohh incidentally what do you think about Barrichello? Huh? hear me out:

            Proven race winner, praised as giving some of the best technical feedback on the grid, incredbile at setting up his car and indeed providing set ups for the other guy, fanatastic championship support if you don’t tell him thats whats happening, an great at getting the best out of the car and brining in maxiumum constructors when the overs lads having an off day.

          2. I still don’t think we can compare drivers in different cars so well. Massa looks crap compared to Kubica but Kubica’s car was made for him, it fits like a glove and he’s a fussy boy. Massa’s been off form anyway but you can only really compare him to Alonso like we can only compare Kobasyhi to dlr.

            I think he is the best they can get. Glock’s tied in with Virgin it seems and Sutil is better temporarily but I don’t think long term and certainly Petrov brings more because of his Russian connection.

            Scribe I love debating with you but I think we could be at this all day :) I do see where you’re coming from though.

            Barrichello? Agree with everything you say about him. A good choice for Renault but Williams seem to love him. It would be a good choice and I’d support it but I don’t think it’ll happen.

          3. Yes Rubiho’s latest move does seem somewhat far fetched, alas.

            Also was Kubicas car really made for him? The R30 was developed mainly at the end of Alonso’s time, it may have been upgraded for him. Still Petrov’s lack of imput does mean it’ll stay Kubica’s car hmm.

          4. Sorry my fault there for not being clear I didn’t mean literally made for him I meant that it suits his style perfectly.

            I think Rubens would do better at Renault however, I’m happy he’s at Williams. I don’t think Williams aree turning into the down and outs Tyrell saddly did but they need a serious boost. Rubens passion, experience and speed can help them as while Hulk grows.

    3. Anybody could have performed better than Petrov with the speed the Renault has.

    4. Errr hardest teammate out of the rookies? What about Hulkenberg, it’s not although Rubens is a pushover. Petrov can’t hold a candle to Kubica, he really should be doing better than he is, even when you discount his schoolboy errors (spinning in Q1). He just isn’t F1 material.

      1. Yes the hardest teammate. Kubica rated as a future champ. Rubens is still damn good but even in his prime he wasn’t rated as high as Kubica.

        Petrovn actually can hold a candle to him as he thoroughly beat him at Hungary :P

  12. Keep Petrov or take in Sutil in my opinion.

  13. I voted Senna… he should get a chance even though he hadnt shown anything special this year…

    Although Sutil is probably the best option by far… (Vitaly had a spectacular weekend at Budapest, but thats about it)

  14. I’m going with the Romain Grosjean option too.

    1. I second that (or rather third that, how do you say?)

  15. Anthony Davidson.

    Why? Because why not, eh?

    1. Would have got my vote

    2. Agreed. I think he and Sato both deserves another chance.

      1. David Sherwood
        6th September 2010, 9:46

        I have to agree, Anthony really does deserve a chance to show what he can do, preferably in a decent car.

        My other choice would Paul di Resta, another rookie showing great promise, but held back by the testing ban.

  16. Felipe Massa – a swap with Kubica :)

    1. i saw an article on planetf1 about that, rumours that Kubica and Massa could swap places for 2011 – even though both have signed for Ferrari/Renault already.

      Personally, i think that would be Kubica’s worst career move possible, unless Alonso is taken out of the rankings somehow.

      Any driver paired with him will have to deal with this toy-out-the-pram-throwing antics, and Kubica – like Hamilton before – has the skill needed to beat him. If Kubica was next to Alonso in the Ferrari, there will be fireworks, and unfortunately, Alonso will get what he wants, cos he always does. Stay with Renault, and beat Alonso from there. That’ll annoy him more than anything!

      1. “i saw an article on planetf1”

        There’s you’re mistake, if its on PlanetF1 its probably wrong.

  17. I’m amazed so many people vote Petrov. He’s just not good enough and he needs to grow first. The deal that was rumoured to put Petrov in Lotus sounds a lot better than keeping him struggling in a Renault.

    he might have shown some occasional nice overtakes or things like that, but come on. He has 19 points when Kubica has 104.

    Renault just can’t afford to have a rookie in their team. Atthe very least it’s bad for the constructors championship. Also, Kubica was complaining that Petrov (being a rookie) is no help in setting up the car and in his feedback to the team.

    With two experienced drivers they could get a lot more work done and ultimately have a better car. This would help them both in the WDC and the constructors.

    That Renault is the 4th car yet they are 5th in the standings because of Petrov. A position higher in the constructors championship might even give them more money than that Petrov brings in through sponsor money.

    1. Agree with all of this, Petrov doesn’t have the nouse to support Kubica, the speed to support Renault, the experiance or temprement to keep it out of the wall or really any of the qualities deserving a top seat.

      Glock Sutil one of the two. Glock probably better to support Renaults championship tilt.

      1. But next year Petrov will be better than now, he knows the team, the car, his team mate, the tracks, i.e. he will not be a rookie anymore.
        So a lot of the mistakes will be cut out, the racecraft can stay and he will have more experience to get the most out of the car during quallifying.
        To me it makes no sense to go for a rookie (and risk throwing away points with that) and then dump him for the next year, unless he is seriously disappointing.

        But Sutil might be a good choise as well, as Glock seems to feel committed to another year of Virgin.

    2. Agreed.

      Petrov is being out-scored 5:1 in the same car, and we aren’t even sure if the car is really that slow as much as we readers make it out to be. Perhaps the Renault is indeed quicker than Mercedez but Petrov is just slow.

      I would still prefer Nick Heidfeld as Kubica’s teammate.
      Remember, next year the weight limit is going to be increased by 15 kgs so, whatever disadvantage Kubica had in 2009 due to KERS will be lesser next year. Plus, Nick brings in knowledge of the Pirelli tyres which is a big plus especially in the first year. Also, Nick will be cheaper for the Renault team as Nick is bound to be desperate for a drive at this stage of the career.

      Their driving styles might be different but that is not a problem which cannot be solved. Mclaren are doing an incredible job providing a competitive car to both its drivers whose styles are quite different. No reason why Renault can’t do it.

    3. Then again, I heard the Lotus will be Renault-powered next year. Perhaps Petrov may swap with either of the Lotus drivers?

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        4th September 2010, 11:40

        I think thats the plan, put Petrov in a lower car so he can gain experience and then take him back later on to boost their performance

  18. I would love to see Kamui Kobayashi in the second car.
    As we saw last year and at times this year, with a good car, as the Renault now is, he can produce some very good results and seems to have the racing brain needed despite his relatively young age and low experience.

    Second that, nobody from the list above would excite me as a team manager.

  19. I always thought the comparision between Hülkenberg and Pretov very unfair. Despite of the fact that Williams isn´t in its glorious days, no one is questionning if they are going to be in the grid next year. Frank has already said that Hukenberg is the future of Williams. On the other side, Renault is struggling for survivor. All atention is going to Kubica. Briattore is already history, but the habit of orbiting the team around only one pilot is still there. I think the Kubica´s team mate, if choosen from the above list, is going to have a tough time. On top of it, Kubica is driving brilliantly. I voted for Heidfeld.

  20. Ho Pin Tung or Guido van der Garde.
    Just being chauvinistic.

    In the real world I think Perez would be a good choice, also from a sponsorship point of view (get him before Sauber does)

  21. I think Petrov has done pretty well, and but for some very bad luck – like being punctured by Alonso on the penultimate lap – would have been looking pretty good. So very bold drives, good defence, good overtaker, glimpses of real speed.

    However, Renault are a top team, and I think Sutil deserves the chance to show what he can do, which will be more points than Petrov can muster right now. So Sutil for Renault, Heidfeld taking his place at Force India (Mercedes could sort that out I’m sure) with Petrov packed off to a smaller team for a year or two to earn his spurs.

  22. I would love to see K. Kobayashi in that car.

    He is based in Paris, so I guess he speaks French in addition to English.
    He surely is a talented guy too.

    A Kub and Kob partnership, why not?

  23. I’d vote Petrov. Rookies need time to settle down and, on balance, he’s shown enough.

    Failing that, I heard a rumour that Ecclestone had been asking whether any of the female IndyCar drivers were any good and, as a result of the feedback he received, bot Renault and Sauber were interested in Simona de Silvestro. It wouldn’t surprise me if she shows up in the off-season rookie testing session, and her time in Atlantics (as a championship challenger and racewinner) and IndyCar (running strongly with a basement team) show she’s the real deal.

    So – Petrov first, de Silvestro second.

    1. If we’re going to go wildcard and look over the Atlantic I’d love to see Dario Franchitti in a Formula 1 seat.

      But de Silverstro would be infinitely preferable to Danica.

      1. And de Silvestro preferable to either :-)

    2. So, Bernie wants to get himself a new appliance for his kitchen? :P

  24. Realistically renaults options are Glock or Sutil, they need someone that can get something out of the 2nd car and put back into the team to help what will presumably Kubica’s hunt for race wins.

    Petrov and Kobayashi can’t provide this as they just havent learnt yet.

    Here’s one, what about Barrichello? A proven race winner, massivley experianced and a provider of some of the best feed back on the grid, perfect for a championship supporting role so long as you tell he’s got equal treatment and he’d beat the hell out of Petrov any day.

  25. I think they should hold onto Petrov. I’ve been impressed with him and his honesty (Spa).

    Give him more time.

  26. The one thing I hate about F1 is how brutally cut-throat the teams are. Give Petrov another season, he’s shown potential, but seems to be too inconsistent. Only experience will help him there.

    1. I wouldn’t call a one year contract paid multi million pounds (or at least hundreds of thousands) being a cut-throat situation. Nowadays, for a twenty something year old, a few thousands pounds one year contract is great. Don’t want to be a troll here, but a F1 position in a top(ish) team at the peak of a multi billion pounds sport (automobile racing that is) really is a great position, however unstable, and it has to be earned.

      I however agree that Petrov isn’t bad at all and may be able to stay purely on merit. If only because he doesn’t overshadow Kubica too much and should be able to consistantly score next year if the car is good.

      1. Of course, all signs are that Petrov doesn’t get money from Renault to drive, he brings money to get that seat. I really agree with those here saying that rookies should get a bit more time – Petrov has been getting better in races, but maybe feels the pressure a bit too much still in Qualifying.

        I would find Kobayashi an interesting Renault driver too though!

  27. Craig Woollard
    3rd September 2010, 13:49

    Adrian Sutil ;D he deserves a top(ish) car

  28. I’d keep Petrov. He’s quick and he’s sharp and he seems to get along with Robert Kubica quite well. His races in England and Germany showed his potential, whilst his Hungarian race was excellent and that’s without mentioning the way he blocked Alonso for twenty-five laps in Turkey. He just needs to lift his game in qualifying a little.

    1. Also, Petrov doesn’t have Nelson Piquet (“It’s everyone’s fault but mine”) Syndrome. He’s remarkably self-effacing.

      1. Well put!

        I would even go as far as saying that the key to a successful team will always be having a dominating driver (kubica) and the number 2 driver (petrov). eg. Lewis Hamilton and Hiekki Kovalinen, Schumacher and Barrichello.
        Two many times have teams fallen apart due to having two number 1 drivers. eg. Alonso and Hamilton

        If Petrov was to just gain more experience and confidence he would be an ideal number 2 driver for renault and kubica. We have seen examples of his potential in Malaysia in the wet and other races.

        1. It’s also worth mentioning that of all the rookies for this season, Vitaly Petrov has the least experience in single-seat open-wheelers. He didn’t go through karting and Formula 3 like the others did – he started his open-wheel career in GP2 after doing time in the Russian Lada Cup series. And where Kamui Kobayashi had a seat as a Toyota Development Driver and Nico Hulkenberg was groomed for his Williams seat since being discovered in German F3, Vitaly Petrov was announced as Renault’s second driver the day the R30 was unveiled at Valencia (or possibly the day before). Worse, Renault changed his winter testing schedule at Jerez so that Kubica coud have the bulk of the dry-running time.

          Beating Kubica was always going to be a hard slog. No other rookie is alongside as highly-rated a team-mate as Petrov is. Kobayashi is paired with a glorified test driver in de la Rosa. Lucas di Grassi is alongside Timo Glock in a compromised Virgin (and Glock was never super-rated). Bruno Senna was against Karun Chandhok and is now paired with Sakon Yamamoto, meaning all of Hispania’s drivers have either been rookies or pay drivers or both. Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello are the only pairing to come close to Petrov-Kubica, but even then, the FW32 has been off the pace and Hulkenberg’s season has been loaded with foolish unforced errors (like trying to out-brake Sutil into the hairpin at Canada and losing his front wing, then speeding in pit lane when getting it replaced).

          Petrov’s only real mistake has been off the line in Canada. And yes, sometimes you have days like that. Michael Schumacher had a bad time in Montreal, too. Otherwise, Petrov has raced in the points or has fought for them in every race (except Canada) this season. He’s also finished every race since Malaysia whereas Hulkenberg has only finished every race since Valencia (and before that Monaco, meaning he retires every three or four races), whilst Koabayashi’s most recent retirement was in Montreal. Petrov has also shown himself to be unafraid of other drivers, taking on Rosberg, Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton and while he hasn’t always come off the better, the Russian certainly hasn’t gone down without a fight. And to think he considered signing with Campos/Hispania …

          All things being considered, I think Petrov’s doing a fine job. He may not be a World Champion or even a race winner, but I think he’s worth Renault’s time. He’s certainly been the best rookie of 2010. He just needs to improve in qualifying, get into Q3 a little more often.

          1. I agree with almost every bit f that PM except one bit

            ” He may not be a World Champion or even a race winner”

            I think he can be a race winner. As for World Champ. I never like to predict those.

          2. Well said, I don’t know about race winner or WDC, a bit too early to tell I think, but he has done a pretty solid job, and I think (much like Kubica) he made that Renault car show up in the tv-report of the races quite regularly for good moves – not unimportant for the sponsors, I’d think.

          3. Well now, Petrov did rather spin a bit at Spa. I agree with most of what you say but I still don’t think it’s worth Renaults time to keep so inexperianced a driver, he’s doing merley okay, in a car far better than his abilities, he should have three times the points he’s got though so why would Renault keep him?

    2. He’s quick and he’s sharp yet he doesn’t perform.

      You burn down Heidfeld every chance you get yet you feel an underperforming Petrov is the best candidate for the second Renault seat? *boggle*

      1. Yes, because being the best rookie (or second best; Koabayshi might be a point or two in front of him) is really a case of under-performing.

        1. Well Hulkenberg is doing better and Kobayashi too.

          Still, what’s the point of comparing Petrov against “the worst drivers” and then say “see his better than those!”.

          He’s far far worse than Kubica and it’s fair to say he’s far worse than at least half the drivers on the grid.

          Renault is a top team, below average drivers should not drive for a top team. It’s just bad business. Bad for the team, bad for the number 1 driver AND bad for the rookie driver.

          1. Renault should really get Massa, Lewis, Button, Webber, Vettel or Alonso into that second Renault, that would ensure the best driver pairings.

            But its not going to happen, so here we are discussing their realistic options. Those are Glock (if he is not 100% with Virgin), Sutil, Petrov, Heidfeld and maybe Kovalainen. Of those Petrov seems to be offering most to Renault after investing into him this year. But Sutil or Kovalainen might be fine as well as they have more experience. Heidfeld probably not, i am not convinced Kubica would feel good with having him (one of the reasons of being upset with the team in 2008 was after all BMW giving a lot of resources to making Nick comfortable in the car instead of supporting a WDC bid for Kubica).

  29. Anthony Davidson. Tradgedy that he doesn’t have an F1 drive.

    1. The only reason why anyone likes Davidson as a driver is because he’s a good commentator. He was underwhelming when he drove for Super Aguri.

      1. When did Davidson ever have a decent car to drive though? The Super Aguri was second slowest, at best.

        1. And Sato beat him in that.

      2. He’s a good commentator?

        1. Excellent commentator, Crofty and Davidson in the 5live box regularly put Brundle and Legard to shame.

          1. Another very good reason to hope Davidson does not get a F1 drive any time soon.

            They are really good to listen to, last time i found Karun Chandhok added a lot to that as well.

      3. Jarred Walmsley
        4th September 2010, 11:46

        Didn’t they have to quit half way through 2006 because they ran out of money??, thats hardly a team who can produce a car to show how good you actually are

  30. Petrov. The lad has shown lots of potential and is starting to make good on it. Don’t get rid of him before he can grow into himself.

    This habit of canning rookie drivers after one season has got to stop. Hamilton coming right out of the box and being competitive with world champions should be considered the exception, not the rule. If they get booted out after showing promise but only delivering on some of it in their first year, that effectively ruins their F1 career.

    Even Piquet Jr. got a season and a half (shady deals notwithstanding), as did Bourdais. To the teams: give young drivers a reasonable chance. With the lack of testing, they’re having to learn everything on race weekends and there’s a lot to fit in to those (at most)7 hours…

    1. Also, it has to be remembered that he’s competing against Robert Kubica – a driver widely considered to be one of the best out there. Comparing the form of a rookie against someone who routinely transcends the car’s capabilities will always make the rookie look bad…

  31. If he is willing and able – Kimi. In my view there is no other reasonable choice if Renault want to win championships again.

    1. Yes there is. His name is Robert Kubica.

      1. Driver’s and constructer’s.

        1. Constructor’s doesn’t matter if you win the Driver’s.

          1. Jarred Walmsley
            4th September 2010, 11:48

            Actually the team benefits more from winning the constructors than the Drivers, the constructors gets you more money from Bernie as well as your sponsors. So, yes the constructors does matter irrespective of whether you win the drivers or not.

  32. It largely depends on money. There are rumours that Renault are interested in buying back the team from the Genii Capital Group. If this is the case, I would expect someone like Sutil, Kovalainen or Trulli to take the second seat.

    If the above does not happen, then I would say that Petrov will retain his seat due to the amount of sponsership he attracts. However, I would say that Petrov has done enough to retain his seat just on merrit. He’s had some solid drives this year despite making a couple of rookie mistakes, as well as a bit of bad luck. If I was Eric Boulier I would keep Petrov for next season. Consistency will help move this team forward. Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mclaren are not changing and should benefit from this. Renault would be fools not to follow suit.

    1. I wonder how much money Renault is losing because of Petrov though. With a more experienced driver next to Kubica they would have easily been ahead of Mercedes in the constructors championship. That position determines the amount of money they get from the TV money. So losing that spot means they lose money (besides prestige).

      1. But thats an investment already made this year, so why throw that away when Petrov gets to his second year with a lot of experience under his belt?

  33. write in: Pastor Maldonado.

    None of these other guys seem like superstars. Sutil has the best brand, and the drivers, like Hamilton, all say he is the cat’s pajamas, but kicking around Luizzi is not a historic achievement. He made too many daft errors last year and this year he is not transcending the car.

  34. Hmm.. Petrov has done very well, he just needs more time. It is hard to do well when you race along side Kubica, even for a experienced driver it would be a though call so that Petrov can actually follow him and were faster in Hungary has to be a sign that he has the speed to do it. But i don’t know if he will be able to do good enough in 2011 that they can afford to have him if their car turns out to compete in the WDC and WCC. But i don’t really see anyone do better. That should be Kamui Kobayashi, but does he already have a contract for 2011 since i he was not available in the poll? So i took Petrov, but if Kobayashi was in this poll my vote would have gone to him because he seems to be a very good fighter and with his talent he deserves a better car then the Sauber i think.

  35. I think it’s too early to decide. Petrov has made rookie mistakes this year and has been behind Kubica for every race, except Hungary. I never expected Petrov to beat Kubica, but I did expect him to be closer to Kubica in the championship.

    With that said, he is starting to show that he can deliver the results more consistantly. If Petrov can continue his good form, and help Renault get closer to Mercades in the constructors standings. Then I think Boullier should give him another year at the team.

    If Petrov does not continue to deliver, then I think Heidfeld should get a drive. I would think that Kovalainen, Trulli and Glock would want to help their teams develop. As for Sutil and Kobayashi, I just don’t see them leaving their teams next year.

  36. Kobayashi has been showing some real potential now he’s settled in a bit, and as a fan he’s brilliant to watch, but I don’t think he’s ready for a big team yet. He was consistently rubbish for the first half of the year.

    I’m still not 100% sure about Sutil, but I think he probably deserves a shot at driving a (consistently) better car.

    Kobayashi to Force, Sutil to Renault makes sense to me. Maybe Kovi or Glock are still worth a punt, but not Trulli

  37. Take Sutil – he’s shown some promise at Force India

  38. The thing is, Petrov isn’t performing bad at all for a rookie, and I think he deserves a shot to mature in F1. It’s just that the 2nd spot at Renault is starting to look like a pretty hefty seat, and I think that if he wasn’t ALREADY IN the seat, he would never have been considered for it.
    IMO it would be cool to see him ripen for a year or two somewhere in the back of the midfield (where he’s often found right now anyway) where good performances like points or Q3 would really stick out and get noticed, and prove his quality that way.
    Meanwhile, someone else should get the (sub) top drive at Renault. Someone who has the ability to attack the front runners from the word GO. Maybe give Heidfeld another shot. I don’t really rate Sutil. Trulli is done. Glock could be good but not very exciting. Take the plunge with Kobayashi? They should go for someone who they won’t have to replace in 2012 though.

  39. I’d hope Raikkonen has a change of heart and decides to return to F1.

    By the way Keith, I enjoy reading the Good Weekend – Bad Weekend column on itv/f1. Didn’t know it was you until today. Great Work!

  40. As I’m Renault fan, Kobayashi would be my first choice. They don’t need Glock or Trulli as they already have experienced driver in Kubica to develop theri car. If not Kobayashi, I would also welcome Sutil or even Heidfeld. i really wouldn’t like Massa or Barrichello to come.

  41. Vitantonio Liuzzi has had some great duels in Spa, like against Alonso and Vettel, but surely not enough for Renault. Anyway I wish he will go to Ferrari, at least as a tester at the end of his career like Fisichella.

  42. A Kobayashi only for the spectator angle but never as a team owner, way too wild and inconsistent. A Sutil or a Heidfeld for the points and as Sutil is current it has to be him

    1. Peter Sauber does not agree, he just signed him for 2011 as well.

  43. HounslowBusGarage
    3rd September 2010, 16:52

    Every season, this sort of slow game of musical chairs takes place over the last third of the season and through the winter.
    Most years though, we know roughly how many seats there are going to be for the coming season. This year, things aren’t quite so certain. Two, or possibly even three of this years’ teams could fail to make it to the grid next year, and the continuing delay over the announcement of Team Thirteen makes the situation fluid. We could be looking at 26 seats or just 18.
    Last autumn, someone here produced a superb diagram with all the drivers in the middle and the teams arranged around the edge. There were dotted lines linking drivers to teams as rumours and discussions developed. As each driver was confirmed, their names were completed against the team and removed from the middle. It worked very well, and if the person who produced it last year is reading – can we have another one please!

    1. Last year nearly every team on the grid had at least one free seat, lots of top teams had two. This year you get the feeling it’s 1 Renault seat. 1 Force India seat as the others going Di Resta’s way 1 seat at Sauber and possibly a new Torro Rosso rookie.

      1. At least we can speculate a bit about a possible 13th team and HRT actually getting to the grid next year and if yes, what drivers they will bring.

        Next to that it really is pretty fixed with the drivers

  44. If it’s not Petrov (out of principle of giving rookies time), Kobayashi. Glock, Kovalainen and co made a commitment to the new teams as a multi-year project. That really just leaves the rookies and I say Kobayashi just because I want to see what he can do against a known benchmark. This kid could be a wonder, or just a faster Sato. No offence to Petrov and every praise to Hulkenburg, but we pretty much know what they’re made of. Same goes for Senna.

  45. I rele rate sutil and i think a move to renault would be great for him and the renault team. I think petrov deserves another year in f1 prehaps with force india. I also believe that chandok may get a force india call up-how could an indian who has a strong connection with the boss not drive for an indian team? But what to do with luizzi……

  46. This really does show how the FIA testing rules have starved the sport of new talent. Making the signing of even the greatest potential talent almost untenable for any team.

    1. …but but, it saved money!

      Oh, wait, it didn’t – they just spent it elsewhere. Huh. Who could have predicted?

      1. Actually the budgets have dropped quite dramatically. The teams have been cutting down on numbers of staff and in the end that means less expenses too.

  47. Petrov is a pay driver to give the team budget money in order to make up for the fact Renault now only own a quarter of the team (Genii own the majority) buy now Renault are doing fine, there are reports they want to buy back their majority share from Genii, this would open the door to a “big driver” being able to drive the second Renault and the team would be able to maximise potential.

    However the Renault buy back shows why manufacturers are potentially bad for the sport. Honda, Toyota, BMW all used the resession as an excuse to leave, even though it was because they were underperforming, Renault also sold up but now they are showing glimpses of potential success there are reports of a buy back. Ridiculous!

  48. Am I just being blind, or is Kamui Kobayashi not in that list??

    1. Keith might have know up front about the news anounced today, that Kobayashi is confirmed for a Sauber drive in 2011!

  49. Who I’d like: Petrov

    Who they should pick: Grosjean, without doubt.

  50. Kobayashi has that never giving up terrier style I’d love to see in a top car. Shame he’s not an option of his own right in the poll though Keith :(

  51. Petrov, because 1/ He’s getting better
    and 2/ He’s bringing money

  52. I voted for Sutil, Dont like the guy, but I want Senna at Force India:D

  53. Petrov have done enough this season so far to keep his seat, all he needs to do is the carry the same momentum in the next 6 races. But I would like of Kobayashi moves to a better team, but I doubt that Renault will want him.

  54. Heidfeld. He outperformed Kubica on a regular basis at BMW, and his Pirelli development experience will make him an asset that will pay back with a potential championship. Plus there needs to be more Germans on the grid–there isn’t nearly enough.

  55. Heidfeld !
    and what about Romain Grojean ?

  56. Hi apologies for this it’s slightly off topic but loosely linked with Renault – I’ve been given some tickets for the World Series by Renault meeting on the 18th/19th September at Silverstone…… has anybody been to this event on previous years ? is it worth the trip ? Is there enough variation from the Saturday to Sunday to warrant an overnight stay or are the two days very similar – any info on the weekend from any attendees of previous years would be very welcome.


  57. I voted Petrov even if obviously at the moment Sutil would be a better choice. But I think Petrov deserves a F1 seat next year and it would be regratable not to let him have a chance to continue after his good showings during the last races. Surely he has to improve and avoid some silly rooky mistakes as in Spa qualifying but it’s clear it’s very difficult for all newbies to show good performances at the beginning. Hulkenberg, Kobayashi and new teams rookies have struggled to obtain the right pace during the first half of the season. The last races show constant improvements for all of them including Petrov. Nowadays with the lack of tests during the season it’s nearly impossible to judge rookies in such a short time.
    I believe Petrov to show good consistancy next year if he is still in F1.

  58. i think Renault should sign jenson Button and McLaren should sign Kimi Raikkonen.
    just desperately waiting for him to drive F1 car….!!!

  59. is there anyvone here from florida? what hapenned with circiut sebring i loved to see in f1 calendar. asian tracks goodbye we want sebring gp east texas gp west. bruce mclaren wonn 1 race 1959. track is so interesant.

  60. Stick with Vitaly! Sure he still makes mistakes and still struggling with qualifying (of which he has improved immensely)

    …but Renault have clearly been on the up since the start of the season. And they can only keep on going up – financially it would be suggestable they should stick with these two.

  61. Mercato is over, Petrov will stay in his seat.

  62. It should be Glock. He showed a hell of a lot of potential in the Toyota.
    Sutil is 2nd choice.
    Renault need a solid driver to push Kubica. I feel kubica could’ve done even better this year had he had better competition from his team mate.
    Or maybe he performs best with less pressure.

  63. Jerome D’Ambrosio

  64. i wanna see rubens in competitive car again

  65. Why is Kobayashi not in the poll list?

    And who voted for Yamamoto, he doesn’t even deserve his HRT seat!

  66. I think Vitaly is doing very well for a pay driver, but if they wanted to change, i sure hope they put Brunno in the seat…

  67. I think they should keep Petrov, but if they are really set on getting someone with experience, Heidfeld would be the best choice.

  68. No doubt: Di Grassi.It seems that many do not see that with a car has always lagged, he is fighting hard with the experienced team mate and is undoubtedly the best of the newcomers. No surprise there, indeed, and if not for money or other political support, this would be his place at Renault since 2009.

    For the record: In 2008, Di Grassi was a teammate of Petrov in GP2. Di Grassi premiered only in stage 7. The Russian played all season.
    Yet Di Grassi has 63 points. Petrov was 39.

    Another who was brutally beaten by the Brazilian was Buemi, who played half a season in 2007.
    Di Grassi has 77 points. Buemi only 6 (amazing 13 times more points for the Brazilian)

    The result shows how stupid is most of the current F1 fan. Di Grassi, with all these numbers is one of the last placed.

    Bruno Senna, who has always been much lower than Di Grassi, has more than 100 votes.

    Amazing how the name makes difference, no?

  69. Hulkenburg or Trulli would be good but i think hulkenburg may not go it would be nice to see trulli there since hes not really releasing his full potential at LOTUS it would be nice for him to get up into the big teams again.

  70. jarno and heikki already have a contract with lotus until 2012…i love to see nick heidfeld return back to the racing

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