Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Petrov Criticizes His Renault Team On Russian TV

Lotus Renault driver Vitaly Petrov has unleashed a barrage of criticism against his own team for it's lack of progress over the season. Petrov at the first race of the season in Melbourne was third place on the podium, but for fifth place in the seventh race in Canada, the Russian has taken just five points.

Speaking on TV station Russia 2 Petrov has let his frustrations be known. Petrov: "I’ve been asking the team this question throughout the season. At the beginning of the season, the first five or six races, we really looked very solid. We could not compete with Ferrari, Red Bull, or McLaren, but we were literally three-tenths away from Ferrari and much faster than Mercedes. We qualified very easily from the second part of the qualifications into the third one on a single set of tires. We didn’t even use the entire potential of the car and of myself to make it into the third part. The first six races were pretty easy for us.

"But when our wind tunnel started working, new parts began to arrive, but due to the fact that we use a forward-directed exhaust system, those parts just didn’t fit. We installed them – the front wing, the rear wing, the diffuser, the under body, the barge boards, – we changed everything, yet in vain. For almost ten races we haven’t had absolutely nothing, which, in fact, means we drive basically the same car we’ve began the season with. Of course, the first podium kind of inspired me, the whole Russia, all the fans. I myself was delighted with the team, with the car, with what we’ve done. But then I was just angry with everything and tried to do something.

"Unfortunately, I can’t say anything bad about the team, it is written down in my contract. But you could read a lot of that in the press. People said that the team criticizes its drivers. Hey, read my interviews, I don’t criticize a team that lost many times. How much have we lost on pit stops? How much have we lost on tactics? In my opinion, if you ask any fan this question, he will say in a particular situation: of course, you had to change the soft tires early in the race. Of course, we would analyze it, but it was too late, any fan would already know what had to be done.

"Due to that kind of things we lost, I can say, about ten races, if not more. Even without a fast car, we could make good points, could easily finish in the points zone, if there was a good strategy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say in an interview that, roughly speaking, we lost due to poor pit stops once again. I still can’t speak about it, but once it comes to that I also can’t remain silent, I’ve had enough of it, I can’t keep everything inside myself.

"Right said Oksana Kosachenko. Eric Boullier criticized the drivers, but now, if you read his interviews, he began changing his tune a little, started to protect the drivers. But it was already when half a season was behind, and they did nothing, they only started protecting us in some way only towards the end of the season.

"This is Formula 1, it’s business. Gradually, they’re just working to get more – maybe the price, maybe the sponsors, may the drivers around them. Look at the queue of drivers in Williams – I believe there are some twenty people eager to take the second place there. Thank God I’m not in it. As for me, I think it is quite clear – I have a contract. But as I said before, even the world champion Kimi Raikkonen was asked to leave Formula 1 for a certain amount. It’s a world where everything is possible, it will be hard to oppose if they want to remove someone.

"I really want to be in the top ten. I know that the car can’t be in the top six, and even in the top seven already, cause Mercedes cars are going strong. But for me the places from eight to ten are almost like a podium in fact. If my performances are stable and if everything in the team work as it should – the pit stops, the tactics, no problems with the car, – and I would finish consistently between the eights or tenth in the last five races, I’d be happy. It is very important for me and for the team"

The smart money seems to be on Vitaly partnering Romain Grosjean next year. Robert Kubica seems to be out of the equation for starting the season and his contract with Renault is set to expire in December this year. One would imagine if Kubica can prove he still is as good as before the accident he will be more interested in some of the top seats that become available in 2013. He has for a long time been linked to Ferrari.

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