Petrov: “I need to show what I can do”

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Vitaly Petrov says he needs some good results in the final races to show he deserves to keep his seat at Renault in 2010:

The recent races have not been easy for me, and I think it’s down to my lack of experience and some bad luck. I’m working hard and improving, especially with my feedback and understanding the car, but this has not been translated into the results. Now I need to show the team what I can do in the final races and show that I deserve to stay here next year.
Vitaly Petrov

Suzuka is another new circuit for the Russian driver:

I know it’s a very famous circuit and it’s nice to go there for the first time.

It’s hard for me to say more because I really don’t know what to expect. It will be a totally new experience for me, but I know already from talking with my engineers that it’s quite a tricky circuit.

I hope the car will be good there, but the start of the lap looks very quick and challenging with lots of changes of direction. If you get one corner wrong, you really suffer in the other corners.

I think it’s also important we make sure the F-duct works well there because a lot of the lap is full throttle and the straights are quite long.
Vitaly Petrov

Team mate Robert Kubica says the Japanese circuit is his favourite venue of the year:

It’s hard, it’s the most challenging circuit and it’s very, very fast. If you count the number of really high-speed corners, taken in fourth gear or above, I think it’s the most of any circuit on the calendar.

The first sector is incredible: the Esses are like a rollercoaster, flipping the G-forces from side to side through very long corners, and it’s tough to keep the correct line, especially because if you make a mistake in one corner, you carry it for a long time through the next corners.

Plus, there are a couple of low-speed corners, and the chicane where you have very heavy braking and it’s possible to overtake.
Robert Kubica

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    29 comments on “Petrov: “I need to show what I can do””

    1. Ivan Vinitskyy
      4th October 2010, 12:46

      I’ve already seen what he can do, not impressed.

      1. Not impressed with fifth in Hungary, sixth on the road in Turkey before Alonso took him out, and seventh in China? What more do you want – race wins?

      2. That sums it up perfectly. He’s had 15 races to show what he can do.
        He has impressed me numerous times with some relentless overtaking manoevers, but that’s it.
        The problem is that he’s just too slow. He will not go past that.
        The team and the car were new to Kubica as well this year, and he stated that the Renault was extremely easy to learn to drive and to set-up, so there are no excuses for Petrov in that respect.

        1. Yeah but Kubica had other F1 experience, Petrov did not.

          1. Well, he shouldn’t have been thrown into the deep end of the shark tank that is F1.

            1. Agreed, I think Petrov needs some time at a lower midfield team to develop a bit more as a driver…

            2. @PM – I agree. I think he thoroughly deserves his seat. He is just unlucky to have an extremely fast team-mate who makes him look slow in my opinion.

    2. This is one of the reasons why I like Vitaly Petrov: he holds himself accountable. The days of Nelson Piquet were a very dark time indeed; every time he got something wrong, the Brazilian blameed someone else. If he spun off, it was because his engineer didn’t get the car settings the way Piquet liked them. If he lost positions in the race, it was because his pit crew was tardy. He never once stood up and took responsibility for his troubles, but he was quick to enjoy the praise when he claimed that podium in Germany.

      Petrov, on the other hand, is remarkably self-aware. He might be scrappy on his qualifying runs. He might have magnets in his nosecone that send him into the walls. But he always accepts that he played a part in the incident. Take his Bahrain retirement, where a bolt fell out of the suspension because Petrov was running a low ride height that allowed it to slip out: the team accepted blame for this previously-unknown problem that had all but cost Petrov points on his debut – he was racing Rubens Barrichello at the time, and catching the Williams – but Petrov accepted fault for hitting a kerb too hard and knocking the bolt out.

      Petrov’s results, while maybe disappointing, do show flashes of inspiration. He held Fernando Alonso at bay for thirty laps in Turkey. He didn’t let Hamilton by easily in Malaysia. He had the measure of Kubica all weekend in Hungary. And he was doing very well at Silverstone before his engine packed it in during qualifying. In discussing the possibility of Raikkonen returning to Formula 1 with the team, Eric Boullier has said that they want Petrov to be coming in around seventh. And for the most part, he’s doing that. He went from 23rd to 9th in Belgium, and he was running 7th before Hulkenberg hit him in Singapore (grr!). As for Monza, well, he got shafted by the team when they dropped him out onto the circuit in front of Glock at precisely the wrong moment.

      Renault and Petrov just need to find a way to channel the Russian’s qualifying into results. He’s had some good drives this year, but qualifying is his weakest point. Canada, I think, was the only race where he didn’t pick up any places. And for this reason, I think he’s been a little unjustly criticised. Renault themselves weren’t expecting to be doing as well as they are this year until this time next year, and he’s been paired with one of the highest-rated drivers on the grid. I’ve heard that Nico Hulkenberg is the driver he’s being graded against within the team, and so I think that if Petrov can keep it the points and at least keep up with Hulkenberg, then he should be okay for 2011.

      1. Interesting:

        Renault will only take Raikkonen if they decide not to keep Petrov.

      2. “Petrov, on the other hand, is remarkably self-aware.”

        Well, good for him. But drivers don’t get F1 seats for being self-aware, but for being fast!
        And Petrov is not fast. End of the story.

    3. We’ve heard that one before! £5 on him crashing at least once during the weekend :).

      I hope we’ll see a repeat of last year’s qualifying as well! There’s no doubt that Suzuka separates the men from the boys.

      1. Bet challenged.

        Keeping the word is also a good way to separate men from boys. ;)

    4. I reckon Petrov’s out. The drive is too valuable and he’s just not got what it takes to get the most out of it. I reckon he’ll take a tumble down the order for a while an then possibly settle as a midfield driver, occasional podiums. He’s just not got the talent for the top drive that the second Renault seat has become.

    5. I agree with the other guys, it isn’t doing anyone at Renault any good. If they lose out to Mercedes in the constructors championship it will have basically been down to him, which I imagine about negates whatever money he’s bringing to the team.

      1. So the car has nothing to do with it? What if Mercedes bring a new aero kit for Suzuka that makes them very competitive whilst Renault’s upgrades don’t do anything at all? How can Petrov be blamed for Renault losing points to Mercedes if the last few races play out in such a way that Mercedes would still out-score Renault even if Petrov was in the points more often?

        1. Kubica 114 points
          Petrov 19 points

          Renault is only 35 points behind Mercedes. It’s pretty easy to see how a better driver would have helped Renault to be 4th in the WCC.

    6. It’s all very well saying you need to perform Vitaly, but you actually need to go and do it.

    7. There were some occasions where he was close to Kubica’s pace, he just isn’t consistent enough. Too many errors, crashes and everything. But I still believe he is a very talented driver and I really hope he gets to show it next year.

      1. Maybe he should show what he is made of with another team. When there are drivers such as Kimi and Sutil vying for the second Renault seat, Petrov really shoudn’t even be considered for that position.

    8. This is a tricky one. I think he might have done enough to stay, but if Renault don’t get fourth in the constructors, how will Boullier’s men respond?

    9. If he was in a football team he’d only start for Carling Cup games.

      I like Petrov a lot and he has shown some speed but I don’t see anything to suggest we’re missing a race-winner. It’s sad but F1 is a cut-throat business and if you don’t perform, you’re gone. Now that Renault’s finances are stable and with the WCC money they’ll get for next year they don’t need Petrov anymore, not as much as they need a driver who’ll get them a higher place in the standings next year; Glock, Sutil, Raikkonen just to name three.

      1. Tifiamo Insieme
        4th October 2010, 15:45

        I want Kimi!!!! or maybe Massa

      2. I’d like to see Kimi, but doubt it’ll happen, so I’m hoping for Glock.

    10. Petrov should go to Lotus with Renault engine, so he can earn some experience, and Kimi should land alongside Kubica. That would be perfect :D

    11. THe only thing is guys – Petrov is russian and appears to bringing some new russian sponsors such as Lada and some new ones such as a russian shipyard. I think he will be in the seat next year. But would rather see Kimi there instead.

    12. His downfall is the fact that Renault themselves are probably surprised at how competitive they’ve been. Yes Kubica has been brilliant, but it’s not just his driving that has constantly stuck that car high in Q3 – they’ve been fast, and have not had a good senough second driver to take advantage of that!

    13. I think Petrov should stay at Renault, and he will get better little by litle. He is a likeable person, and can bring some serious money from Russia.
      Petrov would be better for the team, a second driver that will improve, than Raikkonen, who tends to be lazy and would interfere with the role of Kubica as first driver.
      Petrov wants to work hard to be there in the long run, while Raikkonen will get bored right away.

    14. Couple of podiums in the last few races with a improving car for Petrov will help him gain his seat for 2011 until the Renault team have already have paper printed for Kimi.

    15. It’s a shame for Petrov that his continued presence in the team is more governed by his seat being the most sought after, than by his performance.

      I feel that his performances have definitely been enough to meet realistic expectations for a rookie alongside a hot talent. You wouldn’t expect him to match Kubica.

      But Renault are now in the position that they could choose from a selection of very decent and experienced drivers to fill that seat. So Petrov, even as an adequately-performing rookie, looks vulnerable.

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