Petrov confirmed as Renault launch R30 31 Jan 2010
Russian driver Vitaly Petrov will partner Robert Kubica at Renault, the team confirmed on Sunday. The news came as the team revealed their 2010 car at Spains Valencia circuit, where pre-season testing begins on Monday.
Petrov, 25, was runner-up in the 2009 GP2 Series and will become the first Russian to compete in Formula One racing when he takes to the grid in Bahrain next month. Chinas Ho-Pin Tung was confirmed as Renaults third driver, with Belgian Jerome d'Ambrosio and Czech driver Jan Charouz as reserves.
"This is a great opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to working with the team this season, said Petrov. I've always dreamed of racing in Formula One and so to make my debut with a top team like Renault is very exciting. The first race is just over a month away so I will make sure I spend as much time as possible with the team over the next few weeks so that I am fully prepared in time for Bahrain."
Renault team principal Eric Boullier commented: "This is a very special day for Vitaly and we welcome him into the team. As a rookie, we recognise that Vitaly will have a lot to learn this season, but his performances in GP2 last year were outstanding and confirmed that he is ready to make the step up to Formula One. With Robert alongside him, Vitaly has the perfect role model to learn from and I'm confident he will deliver on the promise he has shown throughout his career."
Kubica and Petrov revealed the R30 to the assembled media, complete with its new black and yellow livery - the iconic colours made famous by Renault in the 1980s. With stable aero regulations the R30 is a mixture of evolution and revolution, and is much more svelte than its predecessor. In particular the rear of the car has been considerably reworked to allow the car to make the most of the double-decker diffusers that were first seen last year. Changes have also been made to the architecture of the chassis to adapt to the refuelling ban, which has required the installation of a much larger fuel tank.
Speaking at the presentation, Boullier praised the team's efforts in delivering the new car in time for the first test: "We've been working flat-out during the winter to ensure that we begin the new season in the best shape possible. The R30 should be a competitive, strong and reliable car, and we've opted for an aggressive development strategy throughout the season. Now we're here ready for the first test and we're all excited to see if the car performs as we think it will."
Both Kubica and Petrov were thrilled to see their new car and spoke of their hopes for the season ahead: "The team has been working on the new car for a long time and it's clear that we are moving in the right direction," said Kubica. "Now we need to maximise the winter tests to keep up this momentum and continue improving the car. Our priority is to make the car easy to drive because the new rules favour cars that are not too sensitive - we need a car that behaves consistently in a wide range of conditions."
Petrov added: "The new car looks stunning and the colours remind everybody of Renault's great history in the sport. I can't wait to drive the car for the first time and start working with the team."
The R30 will get its first run at Valencia on Monday and Renault will remain at the circuit until Wednesday evening to complete the first pre-season test session.