Caterham replace Jarno Trulli with Vitaly Petrov for new F1 season
Friday 17 February 2012
Vitaly Petrov has today been handed a Formula One reprieve after being signed up by Caterham for the new season.
Petrov was released by Renault at the end of last year after two seasons with the Enstone-based marque that is now known as Lotus.
It appeared as if the 27-year-old from Russia would be out of F1, but with the opening grand prix in Australia just four weeks away, Caterham have caused a stir by replacing Jarno Trulli with Petrov.
Trulli's position within the team has always been tenuous, despite a contract for this year, with rumours constantly surrounding the 37-year-old, even at last week's first pre-season test in Jerez.
After 15 seasons in the sport and 251 grand prix starts, Trulli now finds himself on the sidelines, which means for the first time since 1969 there will be no Italian on the grid this season.
Petrov said: "This is a very exciting day for me. Lotus has grown from one of the new teams to a serious force for future honours.
"The passion and spirit (team owner) Tony (Fernandes) and the whole team have to keep moving forwards is infectious.
"I am honoured to be able to join them and play my part in helping the team mount a serious challenge to the teams ahead in 2012 and for many seasons to come.
"I have been training hard all winter and am ready to get back into the cockpit and go to work.
"From what I have seen already, our new car is another good step forward from 2011, and now I cannot wait to see how it feels when we get to Barcelona (for the second test next week)."
Fernandes has confirmed reaching an agreement with Trulli who does not even have a role as reserve given Dutchman Geido van der Garde occupies that position.
Appreciating the difficulty in axing Trulli, in particular as he played "a pivotal role" in the formation of the team just over two years ago, Fernandes said: "Jarno knew that when he joined us it would be a very different environment to where he had been before.
"When we gave him the package he wanted he absolutely shone. With that in mind it was not an easy decision to bring Vitaly in to replace Jarno.
"But it was one we made to ensure we give fresh impetus across the whole team and with a realistic eye on the global economic market.
"Jarno has an incredible natural talent behind the wheel, and his winning record and longevity in the sport will bear testament to that talent in the Formula One annals forever.
"But now it is time to open a new chapter in our team's story, and Vitaly is the right person to help us do that."
Fernandes will now likely tap into the Russian market to bring in new sponsors, but it is Petrov's ability he believes will take the team forward.
"His talents and experience with one of our current competitors, and insights on and off track, will play a huge role in our development as we fight to join the established teams ahead," added Fernandes.
"Now we want to integrate Vitaly as quickly as possible into the team.
"We will do everything we can to welcome him in, give him a car he can use to showcase his skills, and keep up the rate of development that has seen us go from an empty factory with just four employees to a fully established Formula One team in just over two years."
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pictured in Rome as club close in on Manchester United striker for £17m
Danny Welbeck signs for Arsenal: Gunners confirm signing from Manchester United
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain