Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Renault F1 sign Vitaly Petrov for 2010 // A new lineup for the brand new Formula One season

Published by Mr. C

Vitaly Petrov in the GP2 paddock.
Credit: Alastair Staley / GP2 Series Media Service

Russia has its very first Formula 1 racing driver today, as Renault F1 officially confirmed Vitaly Petrov in their second seat for 2010. Petrov will partner Robert Kubica, who had already been announced last year.

Speculation over who would get the drive at Renault had gone into overdrive recently, and the signing was all but confirmed earlier today when Petrov was spotted in the Valencia paddock, wearing Renault team overalls. It has been rumoured that the deal includes substantial financial backing to help Renault cover the sponsorship deficit, left after ING pulled out of the sport in 2009.

Petrov, 25 and hailing from Vyborg in Russia, finished in second place in last year's GP2 championship. He's looking forward to certain aspects of F1:

I'm really looking forward to any wet races and the street circuits. That's because I started my racing career in Russia competing in rally sprints and ice racing so I feel comfortable in slippery conditions. Also, I won my first GP2 race on a wet track in Valencia when I started on slicks on a damp track. But first I need to see what an F1 car feels like in the rain.

He has modest aims for the upcoming season though:

To learn as much as possible from this successful team and from Robert during the year. I'm so proud to be here and want to do the best job I can.

Following the logic that photos of drivers in Valencia with Renault clothing on might be involved with the team, Ho Pin Tung and Jérôme D'Ambrosio were spotted in similar outfits and hanging out together in the paddock. Although not confirmed as Renault test drivers, that is most likely as good an announcement as we'll get for now. Ho Pin Tung tested for the team during the Young Driver test in December, and both are managed by new team boss Éric Boullier.