Daily Archives: January 30, 2010

Renault set to unveil Petrov

Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov

Renault are ready to reveal Russian Vitaly Petrov as their second driver, alongside Robert Kubica, for the 2010 season.

He apparently had his seat fitting in Enstone yesterday, and signed his contract today.

The Russian is known to have around €10m in backing from sponsors such as Gazprom and the Russian government, who are keen to have their first Russian in Formula 1.

It seems, however, that there was more than sponsor backing that may have helped this deal. Gazprom, his main sponsor, is owned (50%) by the Russian government. It is understood that there was a deal between Gazprom, the Russian government, and Petrov, regarding the Renault seat. To give you an idea of how powerful Gazprom is when it comes to these negotiations, their little-known chairman from 2000 to 2008 was Dmitry Medvedev, who then became president of Russia. Why Gazprom is so interested in Petrov, I don’t know. However, it is rumoured that the Russian government and Bernie Ecclestone were (supposedly) looking for a Russian Grand Prix in the future.

But back to Petrov. He finished 2nd in the GP2 championship last year, behind Nico Hulkenberg. He may be good, but he certainly is nowhere near as good as Hulkenberg, in my opinion. Having said this, it’s good to see him given a chance. Kubica will almost certainly beat him, but that’s not the point, as it will be his first year, and it’s only an indicator of how good he will be in the future.

Also, I hear that he will be a great addition to the paddock. Unlike so many other PR robots in F1, Petrov speaks his mind and has a wicked sense of humour.

Petrov will probably be unveiled tomorrow, at Renault’s launch of their 2010 R30 car in Valencia.

Valencia testing line-up

Formula 1 testing last year

Formula 1 testing last year

The schedule for February testing is close to completion. The 4 tests will take place in Valencia and Jerez, and the drivers taking part are nearly fully announced.

The first Valencia test will be as follows:

McLaren-Mercedes

Monday: Gary PAFFETT
Tuesday: Lewis HAMILTON
Wednesday: Jenson BUTTON

Mercedes GP

Monday: Nico ROSBERG (morning) & Michael SCHUMACHER (afternoon)
Tuesday: Nico ROSBERG
Wednesday: Michael SCHUMACHER

Ferrari

Monday: Felipe MASSA
Tuesday: Fernando ALONSO
Wednesday: Fernando ALONSO

Sauber-Ferrari

Monday: Pedro DE LA ROSA
Tuesday: Kamui KOBAYASHI
Wednesday: Pedro DE LA ROSA

Williams-Cosworth

Monday: Rubens BARRICHELLO
Tuesday: Rubens BARRICHELLO
Wednesday: Nico: HÜLKENBERG

Renault

Monday: Robert KUBICA
Tuesday: TBC
Wednesday: TBC

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Monday: Sébastien BUEMI
Tuesday: Sébastien BUEMI
Wednesday: Jaime ALGUERSUARI

Not attending:

- Campos-Cosworth
– Force India-Mercedes
– Lotus-Cosworth
– Red Bull-Renault
– US F1-Cosworth
– Virgin-Cosworth

New spy shots of Williams FW32

New footage of Williams’ new FW32 has been released.The team were at Silverstone today, to film a promotional video.

It was described as “secret undercover spy shots”, meaning, two blokes with a camcorder.

Nico Hulkenberg was at the wheel of the car at the time.

Ferrari already designing B-Spec car because of diffuser

McLaren's already controversial diffuser

McLaren's already controversial diffuser

After McLaren’s controversial diffuser, there are rumours that Ferrari are already working on a “B-spec” version of their car, because of its lack of an “extreme” diffuser.

When McLaren released their MP4-25 last week, their diffuser was blocked away from view. Paddy Lowe described their diffuser as “extreme”.

Ferrari were already doubtful about their car, with Fernando Alonso saying he did not expect titles immidiately. Now though, the Italian media are reporting that the Scuderia have already started redesigning the entire rear package of their car, to improve their diffuser.

Ferrari are hoping that the FIA declare McLaren’s diffuser illegal (even though nobody has even seen it!), while Mclaren feel that there is no need for an argument, even though they believe they have pushed the rules to the limit.

Suddenly, this might make February testing literally pointless for many teams. If McLaren’s diffuser is as good as they say it will be, the other teams will be playing catch-up for weeks.

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