Vitaly Petrov replaces Jarno Trulli at Caterham

2012 F1 season

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Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 2012

Caterham have announced Vitaly Petrov has replaced Jarno Trulli at the team “with immediate effect”.

Trulli has driven for the team since it was set up in 2010. Last year they announced he would drive for them in 2012.

But since Petrov lost his place at Renault (now Lotus), also with a year to run on his contract, there has been considerable speculation linking him to Trulli’s place at Caterham.

Team Principal Tony Fernandes said: “We are all delighted to welcome Vitaly into our team and are very excited about the role he will play in helping us take the next steps forward in 2012 and for many years to come.

“When we first met it was immediately clear that Vitaly understands and shares our vision for how we want our team to grow. As the first Russian to race in F1 he carries the hopes of a huge nation with ease and his talents, experience with one of our current competitors and insights on and off track will play a huge role in our development as we fight to join the established teams ahead.”

Petrov said: “This is a very exciting day for me. I would like to thank Tony, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin for giving me the chance to join a team that made its F1 debut at the same time as me, and has grown from one of the new teams to a serious force for future honours.

“The passion and spirit that Tony and the whole team have to keep moving forwards is infectious, and I am honoured to be able to join them and play my part in helping the team mount a serious challenge to the teams ahead in 2012 and for many seasons to come.

“I have been training hard all winter and am ready to get back into the cockpit and go to work. From what I have seen already, our new car is another good step forward from 2011 and now I cannot wait to see how it feels when we get to Barcelona. I would also like to take this chance to thank all my fans and partners for their support and their patience.”

The news means Trulli has lost his place in F1. In a statement released by the team he said: “I want to take this chance to thank Tony, Kamarudin, SM Nasarudin, Riad, Mike and everyone in the team for the two seasons we had together.

“From zero we built up and established a solid F1 team. I’m really proud to have been part of it. I understand the decision the team has made and I want to wish to the whole team the very best of luck for the season ahead.”

See the updated list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams.

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Image © 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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175 comments on “Vitaly Petrov replaces Jarno Trulli at Caterham”

  1. I suppose the big question on everyones mind will be: Sponsorship money or genuine investment?

    1. Or maybe both….

      Petrov has demonstrated skill and speed, maybe he isn’t WDC material but he is certainly podium and race win capable given a car good enough to get there.

      1. “maybe he’s isn’t WDC material”
        so you’re not sure !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. :).

          I think he won’t become WDC in the decade to come… but who knows…

        2. Nope, not sure. I do rate Vitally as a driver, and think that he has potential… and in the right car… who knows… but otherwise I think their are better drivers on the grid.

      2. People who have a poor debut season records like Petrov do not deserve a second chance. He got less than a fifth of his teammate’s points. In the old system of pointscoring(10-8-6…) he got 9 points to Kubica’s 55.

    2. There is no question here. Petrov’s manager openly stated it is all about sponsorship earlier.

      1. True, not hopes of a big nation”, but money from russian investors, and i think after two years its obviously true, but somehow lot of ppl seem to say “Petrov has potential”. Yeah, like Senna and others ‘potentially’ champions of F1…

    3. Lotus have to pay him for this year because they let him go prior to the expiration of his contract. So theoretically he might forego a paycheck from Caterham given that he has income for 2012. This means Caterham would get a free driver who will be able to promote Caterham cars in Russia. A good deal, even on top of any cash that Petrov brings in directly.

      At least he wont be complaining as much as Trulli was last year. I think they got rid of Trulli just to end the constant whining.

      1. That’s assuming that Lotus paid him isn’t it?

        1. they are contractually obliged. they dont want to be facing a lawsuit.

          In F1 it is common to change drivers prior to their contract expiring, but they do get what they were due. That the purpose of the contract and it is binding and enforceable by local law.

          1. Unless the contract contains a clause stating if the drivers performance is so outrageously poor (as it was last year) they can let him go when ever and how ever they like. As far as i know most driver contracts generaly have a bunch of get outs for both sides.

            Caterham definitely were paying him last year and i suspect trulli will get his final payout so to speak but you never know what the f1 lawyers will do.

          2. we were actually talking about Petrov, but yes, you’re right.

            I am assuming though that Petrov did get paid, and that potentially makes the deal for Caterham even better, thats all.

          3. I’m wondering if Lotus may have an out as far as Petrov’s contract goes. There was that article last year where Petrov had his outburst slamming the team performance before he was dismissed. I seem to remember several of the articles saying that he had been supposedly forbidden from bashing the team or the car, which he proceeded to do in that outburst prior to his dismissal. Perhaps that was in the contract, which would constitute a breach on his behalf?

    4. Bit of both, really. At this point, I rate Petrov higher than Trulli. And he has money too.

      Now Caterham have a nice line-up. It’s hard to think Trulli could have a better year than Petrov.

      It’s good for everyone: Trulli was done after 2009.

      We’ll all remember Monaco 2004… but that’s it.

      1. That’s exactly my thought. I didn’t even consider it a money move. Rather, I think they saw a better driver and with every little bit being important this year towards that crucial first point, might as well make it the strongest line-up possible. Petrov is absolutely rated higher than Trulli in my book. Not phenomenal, but higher on the food chain for sure.

        1. Yeah. And he has money too, unlike Trulli.

          At his prime, Trulli was superb. But many days have passed since.

    5. SennaNmbr1 (@)
      17th February 2012, 18:27

      Petrov is good enough to be in F1 and Trulli was demonstrating that he wasn’t.

  2. Oh dear Jarno.

    1. Indeed. I consider him a good driver. Honestly I think if Caterham/Team Lotus had given him a good car he would have shone. Although he was the biggest whiner out of any of the drivers, he certainly had reason to be. Misfortune and crap driveability is enough to be frustrated about.

      Looking back at when he drove for Toyota, he was a fierce competitor! I always paid attention to him and Timo as they were blazing fast at times.

  3. Wow, I mean I heard this rumour, but for it to actually happen, and this close to the start of the season, I don’t quite believe it! I mean he’s been testing the new Caterham.

    Feel sorry for Jarno though, even though I’m not the biggest fan of his.

    1. @deanmachine

      I mean he’s been testing the new Caterham.

      That’s definitely one of the most surprising things about it. It’s very late in the day for a change like this.

      Of course, they only gave him one day…

      1. I guess it might be seen as a thank you and goodbye for Trulli.

        Or just to push Petrov’s backers to speed up the bank transfer.

      2. On the day he Jarno tested the new Caterham he gave a press conference thanking the team for the two years they gave him and wished them luck for the future. I’d say the message was pretty clear. I think the team just let him have one last hurrah to say thanks and sorry for the short notice.

    2. Shame for Trulli that Toyota pulled out of the sport. He was doing solidly as recently as 2008 and 2009.

      1. Well, if they’d gotten a win they might have stayed in the sport. They certainly came close on one or two occasions, maybe a better driver would have tipped the balance.

    3. Sutil not in the driver lineup for 2012. Trulli gone. No more Trulli vs Sutil fights. What has F1 come to these days :-)

      1. Now, the only place they will fight is in a night club.

        1. I actually thought Caterham would want to hire Sutil, he would be a great weapon in Tony Fernandes’ arsenal against the likes of Danny Bahar & eric Lux

    4. don’t be. He’s had a better f1 career than his talent should have provided. He is a millioner, so he is much better off than most of us.
      I don’t think petrov is any better than him, but he is younger and has the needed cash. So let’s see how well he does.

  4. Will Jarno be sticking around as an experienced test driver, or is he out of the Caterham picture all together now?

  5. So Mike Gascoyne, a long-time supporter of Trulli’s, gets a promotion upstairs one day, and Trulli’s out on his ear the next…

    1. Gascoyne becoming CTO of Caterham Group isn’t a great move for the F1 side of the business, in my opinion. Too much on the plate. He should be concentrating solely on the F1 team. I guess all that will change again as they grow.

      1. Gascoyne is better as an engineering manager than hands on. Most of the work on the current car are by the recent additions to the team, Smith and co.

    2. Perhaps as cto mike couldn’t justify the expense of trullis salary based on the performance he brings or rather doesn’t bring to the car. :P

  6. Wow I was shocked when I seen this come up on my Twitter! I was certain that Trulli would have a drive this season because they’ve designed a car around him and put gave him driving time in the tests and now just thrown him away from Petrov.

    1. That’s true, Petrov is a giant compared to Trulli and Kovalainen

  7. Damn it, that should have been Van Der Garde´s seat!

    1. What’s more, it seems that Van der Garde turned down a chance to race at HRT in favour of a third driver role with better prospects, but unless Heikki moves on to greener pastures for 2013, it’s not so likely that Guido will take over the second Caterham seat some time in the future.

    2. that should have been Van Der Garde´s seat!

      Giedo van der Garde? Is that what his driver’s licence says?

      Huh. I always knew him as The Guy Who Collapsed At The End Of The 2012 GP2 Series Season.

      1. Mostly I know Giedo as the driver who barely beat a seriously off-form Ralf Schumacher (and was beaten by at least 2 other pay-drivers) in the 2007 Force India shoot-out.

    3. Van Der Garde?!? You got to be joking.

      We have Sutil, Alguersuari and Buemi who were more deserving of that seat than Van Der Garde.

      But lets face it, the least deserving candidate got the seat in the end. I hope Petrov gets hammered by Heikki this season.

      1. He held his own vs Heidfield. I don’t know how to match Heidfield vs Kova but I’d be surprised if there were a huge margin between the two. (but ok, I wouldn’t bet on Petrov having the upper hand).

    4. Maybe it will be van der Gardes’ in the future, @Roald
      Looking at his career so far, he probably needs some time before he’s fast. So I still think 3rd driver is fitting for him at this stage.

  8. Not a surprise that this has happened – although perhaps a surprise that it’s taken this long.

    Clearly I don’t know the background for the decision, but I believe I’m right in saying that Trulli has never driven a KERS car before last week? Toyota didn’t have it in 2009, and GreenLotus haven’t until now. Trulli’s an old-school racer, he just likes sitting in a car and going fast. He’s not a fan of all the buttons, bells and whistles. Perhaps he tried the KERS, didn’t like it and decided he might as well pack it in and go back to the vineyard? (I’ve had some of his wine and it’s excellent).

    I reckon Petrov will do a decent job. He knows the Renault engine/KERS package and he’s quick enough to keep Kova honest.

    1. Agreed! That’s exactly how I see it.

    2. I hadn’t thought of that before @topdowntoedown, but it does make Petrov have a bit of an advantage from knowing the Renault and the KERS system.

      1. That’s just a bad title from autosport (actually very bad).
        In the body he clearly is in a position that he knew that as soon as someone with sponsors came in he would possibly be out.

        1. Well i agree he clearly knew it was over but journalists can only comment on what is said or done. It was an article about what Jarno thinks his future is and Jarno says in the interview i have a contract for next year. You can hardly then make the headline “TRULLI GONE FOR SURE YO.” because it wouldn’t be related to the content of the article.

  9. To be quite honest, I’m not surprised.

    1. Same…

      Honestly… I can see why they would drop Jarno, as much as I like him. Last two years Heikki has beaten him by a fair margin.

      However, picking up Petrov in his place, when there are so many other talented guys without a drive tells me that they fell for the money.

      1. can you name a few better drivers than petrov without a drive. I mean clearly better, not as good as him.
        I am pretty sure there is not a single ayrton senna like driver outhere without a seat.

        1. Nick Heidfeld?

  10. This is just plain wrong! What a disgrace…gutted.

    1. I wouldn’t say that… Jarno is clearly gone in terms of performance, the team needs the investment and a driver that can, perhaps, challenge Kova and push for better results within the team. Good for the team and hopefully it will bring more exciting races at back.

    2. Like many people said here, I think Petrov is best of both worlds for Caterham. He comes with money and is a good driver, on my book better than Trulli.

      1. I would agree about the cash , but how could you possibly call Vitaly a good driver? He’s had 3 good races in 2 full seasons, and has been ridiculously poor in almost 10 races so far.

        1. and jarno was terrible in about 17/19 races last year what point are you trying to make tod?

  11. The money came! It finally came!

    That is all.

  12. So he collected the money after all. Still, as I am strongly opposing the idea of pay drivers, in this case it’s actually change for better talent-wise. Jarno was past his prime for quite some time and Vitaly showed he’s not the worst pair of hands on the grid.

    1. My thoughts exactly. He’ll push Heikki harder. Vitaly’s stint at Renault proved there is at least some talent behind that mountain of cash.

      1. some, but not alot.

      2. I don’t agree with that, it took Petrov quite a few races to match Heidfeld’s points after they replaced him with Senna (which was a mistake in my eyes).

        1. And the only reason he was anywhere near Heidfeld was because Heidfeld and qualifying don’t go well together.

    2. Completely agree, I just don’t like the way Caterham handled the situation. They should have fired Trulli on November 27, 2011 or at least in December as there was no shortage of good & available drivers. There was no need to include Trulli in the official line-up, tell the world that he was going to race in 2012 and let him take part in testing. Just four days ago, Autosport still wrote that “Jarno Trulli sure he will keep his Caterham drive”.

      1. Meh. Lying for marketing reasons is not just Caterham’s thing, although they seem to master it during Lotus vs. Lotus saga.

  13. Keith, your headlines have got to be less shocking. I woke up half my dorm thanks to my surprise :P

    1. Same. I was for some reason totally shocked by this. Stunning.

    2. What about this headline? ‘Slight changes at Caterham but Trulli remains happy’ :D

      1. @Girts It would lessen the shock, I think. But then I’d think of Trulli as Caterham adviser/team manager. :) Fantastic news for Caterham though, I’m happy to see Petrov remain on the grid.

    3. Haha, I almost did the same to my poor girlfriend. I literally out loud gave a “whaaaaaaaaaaat?” when I read the headline X)

      1. @Joey-Poey Hopefully she didn’t proceed to injure you, as my friends did :)

  14. So glad we wont have to listen to Jarno moan about the power steering for one more season! Goodbye and good riddance to the Trulli trains is all I can say! Good luck to Vitaly

    1. I’ll miss being able to appear knowledgeable and in the know shouting out “Trulli train” during races.

      1. Trulli trains haven’t been as fun since he stopped qualifying up near the front in the Toyota — he can only block Marussa and HRT these days, and that’s not so entertaining.

    2. agree. And don’t forget complaining about sutil’s drving style. He wasn’t any longer f1 material.

      1. Like Petrov, Karthikeyan, De La Rosa, Senna (Bruno) moneybags Maldonado are

    1. Limoncello

      1. Mooguls?

  15. Congrats to Petrov who I’m glad has a seat but I can’t hide my disappointment for Jarno. Before people jump all over me as I know Jarno’s not popular here, I’m not saying he deserves the seat more than Vitaly just that I loved Jarno. He was blighted by problems with the power steering (to a fairly funny level for the rest of us) but it must have been a nightmare to drive with. I don’t think Heikki ever blew him away either (at least not in 2010) but it’s a sad end to a long career which had masses of potential.

    Jarno has been called a few times one of the nicest guys in the paddock by people like Brundle and EJ, he was amazing with his charity work after the earthquake in Italy and he’s been responsible for some of my favourite moments of F1. I will never, ever forget his Monaco 04 pole lap (or Brundle taking us through it). It was one of the best laps I have ever seen in F1 and it still gives me tingles to watch it. His podiums at the Nurburgring in 99, France 08, Aus 09 and Suzuka 09 were all terrific I felt. The worst thing that happened to his career I think was being made a team mate to Alonso – which is quite worrying for a Massa fan- and things started to go a bit wrong from there but I thought he was the best driver Toyota ever had even if Glock was often more highly rated.

    The saddest thing for me about Jarno being in a Lotus was that he couldn’t seem to be able to put in his magic Saturday laps which made me love qualifying. He just seemed to know how to get the car perfect, keep it on the limit (never over) and just get everything so, so perfect. It was gorgeous to watch and one of the few things I enjoyed about the 09 season was early on when Jarno could showcase that. So it looks like it’s a farewell to Jarno. You may not have the massive fanbase of Rubens, who is also a nice guy and has just been booted out of F1 rather unceremoniously after years oddly enough, but for me it was an absolute pleasure to watch you and you helped me fall in love with this sport.

    1. He makes great wine.:) Jarno was always fast over one lap but takes too much out of the car in doing so IMHO. I dont think his style suited modern cars but he has certainly been an entertaining racer and I wish him well.

      1. tho people talk alot about it being bad as alonso’s team mate, but they forget that they are great friends. It was flavio that didnt like 2 team mates getting on so well.

        1. I don’t doubt that there wouldn’t have been too many problems if it wasn’t for Flavio.

          Trulli basically got kicked from Renault for being too close to Alonso!

    2. Great tribute @Steph ! I think the face he is older and being underperformed by his team mate has made him a bit of an easy target around these parts, although Kovaleinen has clearly better him within the Caterham team.

      1. Great post Steph and as a lifelong fan of Trulli, I totally agree. It’s all to easy to forget that, Hamilton aside, Jarno was probably the closest any of Alonso’s team mates have ever been to him (you could even argue that he was a better team mate than Lewis was if you really wanted to!)

        In the second half of 09 you could really see the passion in Jarno’s driving as he knew he had to get that elusive win to make Toyota even think about staying in the sport. It’s why I think he was so uncharacteristically angry with the Sutil incident at Brazil but since then, he’s clearly been demotivated and this is the right step for the team.

        I’ll miss you, Jarno.

    3. Thanks for that @Steph, very well said. I have been laughing a bit at Trulli over the power steering, and before that about the collision photos from ’09, but always with a sad feeling that only two (well, by now three) years ago, he almost got the first Toyota win.

      One can’t help but feel that after the trouble with Briatore, the everlasting Toyota “this year we’ll have the car to fight for WDC” must have been eating at him just a bit. And still he was able to do great things on Saturdays with that car.

      I think that with Lotus he does feel like he helped them get to where they are now: well on their way to being a real F1 team. I hope he maintains that, rather than being bitter about this late switch.

    4. @Steph I wouldn’t say Trulli is disliked here, he’s had a decent career but his time is just coming to an end as it must for all drivers, and as there are a lot of young talented drivers without drives that is the reason for any source of hostility towards him, rather than actual dislike.

      I had a look at some records and Trulli is now fourth all time on all time GP starts (252) and would have overtaken Patrese if he’d carried on racing. You don’t start so many races if you’re not a very good driver, and it says a lot that so teams wanted to employ him (like Rubens) for such a long period of time.

    5. If someone was fishing for COTD, I think she may have got it…

    6. +1. The Monaco 2004 quali lap and subsequent win is one of my all-time favorite moments in that whole decade. Especially because it came when Schumi looked to win every race that year.

  16. If this had been announced in December, I would not have been surprised, and I would not have minded as Trulli has had a long and occasionally successful career.

    Now, though, I was completely shocked, and it leaves quite a bad taste in the mouth. Reportedly, Trulli was happy, and happy with the new car and must have fully expected to go racing in a month’s time. If Caterham had wanted to look for a driver with money, they should not have signed Trulli as early as July last year. I feel only Red Bull’s treatment of Alguersuari (letting him believe he would drive for STR in 2012, and then sacking him when he had already turned down another offer) was more shameful.

    1. I think that Trulli has been fully aware of the fact that the team were only waiting for the bank transfer to confirm Petrov for a couple of weeks now.

      Actually I think Petrov and Caterham is quite a nice fit. Lets see if he can start to be consistent and grow as a driver.

      A bit of a shame to see Trulli’s career end like this, without any nice bits to remember the end of it. I hope he gets a nice car for a LeMans stint or goes to IndyCars as well and shows he still has the speed in him.

      1. I agree, I do think it must have been clear to Trulli that the power steering problems, and him sadly being unable to overcome them were taking too long and would affect his future in the team.

        Especially after the Indian GP thing, I have to think the contract had clear opt-outs, and testing in Jerez was a thank you, we do appreciate your skill and talent Trulli, but you’ll understand that if the money comes Petrov gets the car.

        Finally: would be great to have Trulli and Barichello in Indy Cars showing they are still fast.

  17. I’m not sure what to expect of Petrov in 2012. His two years at Renault wern’t great and he didn’t make a great impression on Kubica or Heidfeld, though he did show flashes of potential. I guess based on the last two years, I see Kovalainen being comfortably ahead of Petrov most of the time, with Petrov occasionally matching or beating him.

  18. I feel for Jarno, I didn’t think it was possible for someone to get shabbier treatment than Rubens but they managed it. Though I do like Petrov, but I’m old-fashioned and I just think if you sign a contract, you keep the driver.

    Just hope it starts a little reappraisal as Tony Fernandes from the loveable, honest team player that he’s made out to be, to the frankly hard-nosed, disloyal, business man he continually proves to be in this sport and others.

    1. Both Ruben’s and Jarno’s days in F1 were numbered for quite some time and nobody expected them to add to their acchievements in F1. In Rubens case he refused to accept his position which is why it seemed he was treated badly. In fact he ****** of Williams with his moaning throughout the season.
      They both had their chance and had long careers in F1 but it is not a right and if you stay too long the inevitable happens and you get overtaken by younger talent or sponsorship or both.

  19. The senior management at Lotus certainly won’t like him now! :P

    1. Why not? They are playing happy pals now.

  20. Money makes the F1 world go round…

    1. @noomie Such is life. I’m happy with it.

  21. Wow, it actually went through!

    I’m glad, I like Petrov. I think he’s got something, and the fact he’s a tad crash happy makes him all the more likeable.

  22. Hah, if Luiz Razia’s latest tweet is anything to go by, it seems that Jarno was poised to lose his drive anyway!!/luizrazia/status/170455093496397825

    Google Translate: “Could have a Brazilian on @caterhamf1 if it was not a lack of sponsorship which does not only I but many pilots have to work problemas.Borá”

    1. I do think it likely Trulli knew they were talking with several drivers, and would perhaps take either of those if the money came through.

      After two seasons of F1, the team might feel that they can go for a single experienced driver, and a younger guy with some money to stir up things a bit, especially given Trulli’s problems last year meant he couldn’t push Kova even on Saturdays.

    17th February 2012, 10:38


  24. Anywho, I’m very happy for Petrov but at the same time I’m insanely gutted for Jarno. First Rubens and now him…

    I just want Caterham to do well this year.

  25. And Petrov moves from The Team Now Known As Lotus to The Team Formerly Known As Lotus.

    1. T’is true! :O)

    2. And missed out on being at either time while they were called Lotus.

  26. This is good news for Caterham. I’m sorry for Trulli – such a late decision – but Petrov is fresher, less tired of the whole circus, certainly more ambitious. Trulli really seemed to be finished with F1 for a couple of seasons now. Petrov and Kovalainen will make a good combo. I’ve been a fan of Petrov’s from the beginning. Sure, he’s not perfect. But he’s got potential, I reckon. And I bet the finance he’s bringing is huge.

  27. Petrov to The Team Formerly Known As Lotus? I am totally selling out!


    1. @prisoner-monkeys I never thought I’d see the day!

      1. I want to see him trounce Bruno Senna. That’s the one argument I want settled this season.

    2. @prisoner-monkeys that’s unexpected ;)
      Feel sorry for Truli but I got to admit that Petrov deserves a seat this seasson.
      It was schocking news for me that Burno nailed a seat this year sooner than Vitaly!

    3. Don’t you mean Team Fernandes?? ;)

    4. @prisoner-monkeys Hell has indeed frozen over!

      1. @andrewtanner – some classical interpretations of Hell (like Dante’s Divine Comedy) suggest that Helll is not made of fire and brimstone, but of ice and despair instead.

    1. Ah, that must be the biggest reason they don’t need Trulli: with KERS and DRS, such trains have become something of the past!

  28. Not surprised by this, it’s been rumoured for months, but the way it’s happened leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    I didn’t think Trulli should have continued this year, and when they announced him as a 2012 driver I was disappointed as I thought Trulli was dragging out his career and taking up a seat that could otherwise go to someone younger and with more potential. However, having announced he had a contract, letting him test the car and then dumping him just weeks before the season for someone with deep pockets just seems wrong to me.

    I’m sure that the reason it’s happened this way is that Caterham were waiting for the money to materialise, but ideally Trulli’s contract shouldn’t have been renewed and he should have left the team at the end of last season.

    1. Maybe Caterham left Trulli in the team simply to increase the price of the race seat.

      1. I think Trulli stayed in the seat largely due to Petrov taking time to produce sponsors. If he had offered them up sooner, Trulli probably wouldn’t have driven at Jerez.

        1. Exactly, showing that “hey, we do have this other guy if you won’t take the chance”. Both for Petrov, and perhaps Guido v/d Garde, and Luiz Razia too.

      2. or a backup depending on how much Guido and Vitaly (or Luiz, see comment above by @pamphlet) were able to “contribute” to the team, giving them the option of keeping him if none was good enough.

  29. I think Fernandes today replaced Bernie as the sport’s biggest cynic.

    1. Thats right, Ģirt.

  30. this is the first time in 40 years that the F1 championship will start without an italian driver on the grid
    the last time the championship started without an italian driver was in 1970 but during the season Ferrari hired Ignazio Giunti & Andrea de Adamich raced with a Mclaren-Alfa Romeo

  31. I’m kind-of not surprised, but at the same time I am surprised. Usually rumours like this are true, but I just thought it was too late in the day for this to happen now.

    1. I read somewhere that the teams had to inform the FIA of who will be starting the season by February 10th. Because today is the 17th, Caterham may have used up one of their driver changes for the season. But I can’t confirm it.

      1. So perhaps Trulli remains reserve driver then. Also as a way to prevent problems now-Lotus seemed to have with keeping Petrov’s money flowing to them, if one would be cynical …

  32. I think it definitely makes sense to have Vitaly in place of Trulli. FIrst, it brings money which most of the teams need . And second, Trulli was not able to match KOva and on the other hand, Petrov was at par with Heidfield who is also as much experienced as Trulli is so it looks like Petrov is at par with Trulli or may be better than him. Its a prudent move from Caterham. BUt I think they should have thought about signing Sutil instead of PEtrov.

  33. petebaldwin (@)
    17th February 2012, 11:25

    Feel sorry for Trulli but it’s a good decision on Caterham’s part… They need someone to compete with Kovalainen who has something to prove to push the team forward rather than cruise around at the back enjoying the life as an F1 driver.

  34. As much as I am a fan of Petrov, I have to ask … is he perhaps the least-attractive Formula 1 driver of all time?

    1. The Professor and RK spring to mind @prisoner-monkeys

    2. That’s a matter of taste. If one likes Russian boys in general, he shouldn’t find Petrov ugly. I wouldn’t call Vitaly very sexy but I believe he’s definitely more attractive than Trulli. But that probably wasn’t the decisive factor when the team had to choose between the two.

    3. What about Maldonado?

    4. Kubica and Ricciardo are uglier in my opinion.

      1. Really, is this discussion actually happening in an F1 forum. :)

        1. Think of it from a marketing perspective – who would you want fronting your advertising campaign: Heikki Kovalainen, who looks like he could have been in a boy band once, or Vitaly Petrov, who appears to have been beaten with an ugly stick?

  35. Petrov handled the situation perfectly. Unlike most young drivers, he didn’t make any noise or assumptions, just did background work.
    Seems a bolt of thunder struck Trulli out. Italy has no driver in F1 but do have 1 and a half racing teams.

  36. And he’d finally stopped complaining about the power steering too…

  37. Not so surprising considering that just a few days ago Sutil’s manager said that there was still one seat available on the grid.

  38. Has Trulli whined about the power steering again?

    1. No, that’s the surprising bit, to some.

  39. Rubles Limoncello

  40. Jackie Stewart seems to think Petrov has a lot of potential, He worked with Petrov last year & said that he really see’s something special in him.

    Jackie often points out that Petrov didn’t come through karting & started racing very late in a Lada championship & that his rate of learning & improvement since he moved into single seaters has been very impressive.

    I also get the impression that there are some at Lotus who believe that given more time Petrov has the potential to become a regular front runner.

    1. Yeah i suspect it’s nothing to do with the fact that since RBS went lactation excreters up JYS has had LOTUS GENII stencilled across his shirts.

      To be clear i love the guy and I’m sure petrov is good i believe that regardless of what jys or anyone says. Isn’t it funny though?

  41. I know this is entirely the correct move, but as a Trulli fan, and as a Formula 1 fan, this is a sad day for me.

    The first F1 season I watched in full was 1997. After his Monaco win the year before Panis was already my favourite driver, but in 1997 I took a shine to two young drivers: Fisichella and Trulli.

    Now Panis has been gone for some years, Fisi bowed out gloriously in 2009 and, now that Trulli’s gone, none of my original ‘favourite drivers’ are in the sport any more. It’s a personal end of an era for me, and I’m very sad now.

    Trulli was one of the good guys. Always friendly on the grid, always with a big smile on his face and he was one of the guys you always felt happy for when he got a podium. His qualifying performances were at times mesmerising, and I think the ‘Trulli train’ was a combination of his Saturday performances and another underrated talent he had – defensive driving.

    All the best to Petrov though, he deserves a seat and I hope he does well.

  42. For sure money brought him here more then anything else, but what will happen to Trulli? He still have a contract with the team?

  43. I think it is the right decision, Petrov is much better than Trulli, and he comes with sponsorship. This could be what gets Caterham into the points this year!

    This also means this season will be the first season EVER that there will be NO Italian driver on the grid (unless someone uses one as a replacement, which I do not see happening). This is remarkable considering how much the Italians love Formula One (and Ferrari).

  44. When Colin Chapman died of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 54, both the Lotus and Caterham marques died with him. Lotus had great drivers when Colin was alive: Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Mario Andretti. (How much did these drivers pay for their seats? Oh yeah, NOTHING.)

    Petrov will never be the equal of these great drivers! In my opinion Petrov, as an F1 driver, is merely a well-bankrolled joke, as is Bruno Senna. This pay-for-a-seat will be the end of true F1

    1. I cant agree with that. Certainly Chapman was an innovator but his cars were fragile and dangerous and were responsible for the deaths of some of the greatest drivers in F1 as well. I used to love the Lotus until I realised how dangerous they were. However it would be wrong to dismiss the importance or the innovations he brought to the sport and the fact that a high mortality rate was the accepted paradigm in all of this.
      I think both Catherham and Lotus teams are a fitting tribute and I’m sure he would have approved of Kimi in a Lotus and the steps both teams are taking today. Renault are great innovators and he would have loved that IMHO.

      1. Completely agree with you.

  45. Although the rumours of Petrov replacing Trulli have been around for a while I thought once the car had been launched and Trulli actually tested it that was Caterham’s driver line-up finalised for the start of the season so this announcement surprised me.

    While I fully understand the decision on both the driver side and the financial side and I don’t disagree with it, the timing of the change, after Trulli has tested the car seems odd. I assume they just couldn’t get the deal with Petrov finalised until now.

    But a driver line-up change at this stage of the season does not seem like the actions of a team which is settled and has the sort of ambitions that Caterham have.

  46. I won’t miss Jarno Trulli. His recent negative comments about other F1 drivers on the grid were not only hypercritical but ludicrous. When you think of the recent demise of Toyota in F1 for example, Jarno Trulli springs to mind when it comes to being overpaid and overrated. He has ambled around the F1 world for fifteen years with only a single race win to his credit. His fans can crow all they like about pole positions but its victories that count more.
    You can call the likes of Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Montoya arrogant, but atleast they have achieved something in F1 far more important and impressive than Jarno Trulli.

    1. Won’t miss Trulli either. Overrated driver. Always complaning of others. Honestly i think he spent too much time in F1.

  47. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    17th February 2012, 14:19

    Peoplealways talk about money as it was the big curse for a F1 driver… So a driver has money backing him? That’s wrong about it? If the move favouring Petrov would have put out a driver such as Rosberg or Sharptil… sorry, Sutil, I could understand the surprise. But we’re talking about generation refresh… Vitaly is IMHO a good driver, he has already had a podium last year, A good choice

  48. After Trulli left, Schumacher and De La Rosa is the only F1 driver who had experience racing in ’90s.

    1. Yep, with their respective debuts about 8 years apart!

  49. I just realised, a Finn and a Russian in the same team. Hopefully that will help heal a few old wounds as they are portrayed together in their respective countries.:)

  50. Thanks for the memories Jarno! Good luck with the vino :)

  51. Good news. I was bored by Trulli and he could never match Kovalainen’s pace so I’m afraid that his time has passed. I thought Petrov, R31 aside, had a decent season last year and he displayed tremendous development between 2010 and 2011. I’m sure he will be a positive force for Caterham.

  52. Petrov might be better than Trulli currently, but why give Jarno such an illusion? He also drove in Jerez last week. He’s had a remarkable career, and deserves some respect.

  53. Wow, what a way to start the day! I was sure the musical chairs was done already…It’s hard to say Petrov is a lousy driver…he kept Alonso from being a 3rd time WDC…not many drivers can say that…he has been on the podium…not bad, and Russia has a lot of money and prospects for Caterham…there is more to racing in F1 than racing..we just don’t know about it all…Trulli might have done well this year due to the new steering wheel they designe for him…may be it was his going away present. Good Luck Petrov

  54. I’ll miss Jarno Trulli, not the one that has been struggling for the past 2 years, but the one-lap specialist that we all could count on for some entertainment during qualifying, chucking his car into places that leave people scratching their heads.
    The moments that I remember the most fondly of Jarno is of course Monaco 2004, defending against JB with his “Trulli Train” skills was nail-biting to watch. And also, the occasional blitz starts:
    Occasionally he was the joke of this website, with his “pictures” and his 2011-spec complain of “Power Steering”, but still, he’s had his days, both good and bad.

    PS: Did not mean for this to sound like an eulogy. ;)

    1. oops. accidentally linked the last part.

  55. The Flip Side of the Coin

    The decision to “divorce” Trulli from Caterham is the best decision for everyone. For Caterham, for Petrov, and definitely for Trulli.

    I can understand that as a veteran F1 driver, it must be virtually impossible to take the decision to leave the sport oneself. And often individuals don’t see what’s best for themselves. Trulli has, in my opinion, been going through the paces in a wholly unmotivated fashion for the past two seasons. He is tired of F1, even if he doesn’t know it.

    Now he has been set free, he will find his competitive fire again in another class of racing. This is the rebirth of Jarno Trulli, the racing driver, not the demise.

    On a side note, I do not feel the same way about Barrichello. He was burning with ambition right up until the end.

  56. Sergey Martyn
    19th February 2012, 8:51

    Being a Russian myself I’m not a biggest fan of Petrov though I was more or less cheery when he scored the points.
    But this castling smells bad and I feel very sorry for Jarno.
    I follow F1 from late 70’s when the only available information about F1 in Russia was the Czechoslovakian magazine (Svet Motoru – i.e. The World of Motors) subscription and I received all the results only about three-four weeks after each race but me and my friends were excited no less than you folks watching all those battles live – oops, I’m sorry for too sentimental journey.
    What I want to say – those days we regarded F1 as a shining diamond castle atop of the golden mountain – pure sportsmanship etc. – we didn’t knew a thing about sponsorship and undercarpet machinations but since we got F1 coverage on Russian TV in 1992 it becomes more awful each year. The first couple of seasons were commented by very lame folks who didn’t knew a thing nor gave a damn about F1 racing (I recall one guy who told us – I’m not sure why the cars are placed on the grid in this particular order…) but then the quality of the commentary as well as the quantity of paddock rumours and speculations increased…
    Now I feel very sorry for Jarno – I’m not a fan of him either, but if the teams will keep on using the drivers like toilet paper will it lead to increasing F1 attendance or TV coverage? I believe it won’t.

  57. Here come the roubles:

    Caterham F1 team has today announced that it has signed a deal with SIBUR to be an official Team Partner. SIBUR, the largest petrochemical company in Russia and Eastern Europe, has also confirmed that it is continuing the partnership agreement it began in 2011 with Vitaly Petrov in his new role as Race Driver for the Anglo / Malaysian Caterham F1 Team. The SIBUR logo will feature on the CT01 cars and on Vitaly’s race suits throughout the 2012 season.

  58. I think the answer is US $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  59. Henry (@scuderiaexxon)
    21st February 2012, 17:27

    I think Caterham made a good decision dropping Trulli, though not for Petrov (A better choice in my opinion would of been Alguersuari). Trulli didnt have what it takes to take Caterham into the spotlight of Formula 1 nor was he able to get even close to Kovalainen. He was all ways too busy whinning and ranting about the car and not helping to improve it. Petrov may be able to give Kovalainen a small challenge at times but, I think he was chosen because of the many millions of money he brings to the team; its a good thing that Caterham is getting money because it needs them to reach the mid-field in 2012. He also isnt a hopeless pay driver (like Maldonado) as he can keep his hotheadedness to himself not be an a&& all the time!

  60. Personally I am very sad to see Trulli dropped as he is the driver I have supported since watching F1 back when he was first driving for Prost. I can understand that he wasn’t exactly amazing last year but he did seem to have a genuine complaint with the car which was seemingly not fixed for the entire season. As they hired him for his experience and to help them improve the car I think it is very poor of Lotus ( Caterham now) to not fix what was surely a fixable problem. That said I believe Petrov will do a reasonable job in the Caterham as long as the Caterham is good enough – which I seriously doubt.

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