Lotus Renault bosses want Petrov for 2011

Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Renault. Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, Thursday 7 October 2010.

Vitaly Petrov

Dec.9 (Grand Prix 247) Vitaly Petrov has emerged as the favoured driver to partner Robert Kubica in the Lotus Renault GP team for the 2011 season.

Team co-owners Genii Capital’s Gerard Lopez and Dany Bahar, chief executive of Group Lotus, are keen to see the Russian reamin with their rebranded team.

Lopez said in an interview with Telegrpah Sport, “Petrov is still our favourite choice. We were supposed to meet last week but he had eye surgery in Germany and had to go back home for two weeks until his eyes have recovered. And then he will be sitting down with Eric Boullier and James Allison and the engineers and discussing that.”

He added, “The position on Petrov is still the same one. We believe he has got the speed, he just doesn’t have the consistency, which you wouldn’t expect from a rookie anyhow. Especially one who hasn’t had much F1 testing before. But it is a pure sporting decision and has nothing to do with everything else we have been discussing.”

For Group Lotus and Proton, Petrov offers marketing access to the huge and important Russian market, a fact that Bahar acknowledged, “We would prefer to have the driver line-up the same as it is today and I hope that the team will be able to finalise it soon. It opens up a lot of possibilities for us but mainly for our shareholders.”

When pressed for a time line on getting the Russian to sign Lopez said, “It is just a question of sitting down, hopefully before Christmas but if not then soon afterwards. But neither party, team or driver, is particularly stressed. I think people on the outside are far more stressed.”