Petrov points out that Alonso also a pay-driver

Fernando Alonso with Santander boss Emilio Botin
Fernando Alonso with Santander boss Emilio Botin

Mar.14 (GMM) Vitaly Petrov has hit out again at his ‘pay-driver’ label, insisting that even the highest paid driver on the grid – Fernando Alonso – has a similar arrangement with his team, through sponsor Santander.

“I see no difference between myself and Alonso,” said the Russian, who has moved his lucrative backing from Renault (now Lotus) to the Caterham team for 2012.

His new appointment is controversial, given that he ousted the experienced veteran and former Monaco winner Jarno Trulli, whose departure has left a drought of Italian driver’s in F1. Coupled with the troubles Ferrari seem to be enduring, this does not portend well for Italian television viewership figures this season.

Comparing himself with Alonso, Petrov told La Stampa newspaper: “Everyone knows that he is funded by the money from (Ferrari sponsor) Banco Santander. Anyway, you only get to F1 because of talent.”

And Petrov, 27, insists he does not feel sorry for Trulli.

“Life is hard,” the Italian newspaper quotes him as saying.

He admitted that having friends in F1 is impossible, whilst making some comments that will also not endear him to the sport’s Italian followers.

Asked to explain the rare absence of Italians on the grid, Petrov criticised the country’s junior categories and added: “Your drivers lack the passion.”

And as for Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo’s complaints about the dramatic role being played by aerodynamics in F1 at present, he answered: “When you’re not winning, it’s easy to complain.”

Petrov, however, lived in Italy in his past, revealing that his favourite elements of Italian life are “the food and the girls”.

But on the latter, he does not expect to be wheel-to-wheel with the opposite sex any time soon.

“They do not have the physical ability and also are not prepared for the high speeds. But everything in life is possible,” said Petrov.

Subbed by AJN.