Mar.9 (PVM) Last year life was very different for Vitaly Petrov as he lined up on the Melbourne grid for his second year in F1, as a Lotus Renault driver, he scored his first F1 podium but since then he lost his job with the Enstone based team and is now a Caterham driver.
Speaking ahead of the F1 season-opening grand prix in Australia, Petrov said, “Melbourne is obviously somewhere that will always be very special for me. Last year I scored my first F1 podium there and was given a really good welcome by all the Australian fans so I’m sure it will be the same again this year. I think it’s pretty clear we won’t be in a position to fight for a podium again but I think the goal will be to push the midfield teams as hard as we can and who knows what could happen…”
Although targeting a podium might be a tad too ambitious, the Russian remains positive, “Usually there are quite a few retirements in Australia, and there are a couple of areas of the track that don’t leave any room for error, so I hope we’re there at the end of the race and able to take advantage of whatever happens ahead.”
Petrov was one of the last drivers to be confirmed for 2012, and this came at the expense of veteran Jarno Trulli, but since joining the Tony Fernandes owned team the 27 year old has fast adapted to his new environment.
“I’m really enjoying life with my new team. It’s still early days, but I’ve been given a great welcome by everyone and I’m starting to build a good relationship with my engineer, so I think we have a good year ahead of us, whatever happens,” said Petrov who will be starting his 39th race in Melbourne next Sunday.
Reflecting on testing in Spain he said, “We spent quite a lot of time in Barcelona looking at how to fine tune the setups specifically for me, and while we do have more work to do in Australia we definitely made some real progress at the last test, which puts me in as good a position as we could hope for when we get to Melbourne.”