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Renault F1 team retain Vitaly Petrov in two-year deal

Vitaly Petrov defends 'fighting' drive in Abu Dhabi

Renault have re-signed Russian driver Vitaly Petrov for the next two seasons.

Petrov will drive alongside Robert Kubica and the new deal means Petrov is on target to stay in F1 when Russia stages its first grand prix in 2014.

The 26-year-old's future had been in doubt after an inconsistent debut season for Renault in 2010.

"It feels great," said Petrov. "I learned so much this year and I can come back stronger. I'm determined to repay the faith they have shown in me."

Petrov finished 13th in his debut season and rates Hungary as his "best weekend" when he finished fifth from seventh on the grid.

The Russian rookie also memorably held up Ferrari's Fernando Alonso for much of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi when the Spaniard desperately needed to move through the field to challenge for the title.

"We are very pleased to confirm that Vitaly will be staying with us in order that both he and the team can build on a promising 2010 campaign," commented team boss Eric Boullier.

There were times this year when I made mistakes and lost points, and I know this is where I can improve

Renault driver Vitaly Petrov

"The entire team has been working flat out over the past months to improve our competitiveness, and a stable driver line-up is essential to achieving our targets.

"Robert Kubica provides a remarkable benchmark for both speed and consistency, and we are certain that Vitaly will move closer to this level of performance next year."

Gerard Lopez, whose private investment group Genii Capital has a majority shareholding in the team, said he wanted to talk to Petrov about his performance before renewing his contract.

Lopez, who is chairman of the team, explained: "Last season, Vitaly showed on several occasions that he clearly has the potential to deliver.

"It was just a matter of putting everything together during the same weekend, race after race, and this will be his target for 2011.

"Also, thanks to Vitaly and the team, Russia is opening up to Formula 1. Over the past few months, we've established close links with this country and with some of its strongest companies.

"We're looking forward to building on this special relationship and turning it into a very successful adventure over the next two seasons."

Moggas Red Army

Petrov, who is the first Russian F1 driver, is already looking forward to his second season when he will have to adapt to 2011's rule changes.

"In many ways, 2010 was about learning - 2011 will be about performing," Petrov added.

"There are quite a few changes that we have to adapt to as a team: new tyres, moveable rear wings and Kers which I've never used before. There's even a new race in India.

"I've already seen the new car in the wind tunnel and it looks very promising. I also love our new colours and can't wait to get back in the car and go racing.

"My objective is to continue improving as a driver and to become more consistent.

"There were times this year when I made mistakes and lost points, and I know this is where I can improve.

"I think I showed that I have the speed, but I need to be consistent over the whole weekend and get the maximum from every session."

Renault's driver line-up is, in theory, settled until the end of 2012 as the highly rated Kubica also penned a new two-year deal with Renault in the summer.

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see also
Vitaly Petrov profile
19 Nov 10 |  Drivers and teams
Renault F1 sign deal with Lotus
08 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Petrov impresses Renault bosses
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Petrov positive about first season in F1
25 Feb 10 |  Formula 1

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