Recently, rumours have linked both Sebastien Buemi and Kimi Raikkonen to the second Renault race seat for 2011, which is currently being used by Vitaly Petrov. Amid speculation that Vitaly could be forced to make way for either of these two drivers at the end of the season, team boss Eric Boullier has said that Petrov’s future is in his own hands.
Vitaly Petrov has been the best rookie so far, but still needs to improve
While Robert Kubica has signed a new 2-year deal to stay on at Renault, Petrov’s is believed to expire at the end of the season, and many drivers, particularly Raikkonen, have been tipped to take the seat off the Russian. However, Boullier has stated that he is happy with Vitaly so far, calling him the best rookie in the paddock, although he says he still needs to improve:
"His future is in his hands. We have not been disappointed by
him - he clearly is the best rookie in the paddock.
He did some very amazing jobs sometimes [but] he's clearly today
lacking some consistency to get the points he deserves. We
definitely need to have both cars scoring points, so that's
obviously creating some rumours surrounding his race seat.
But we are totally committed to him. We are happy to have him
on board and we will do everyhting we can to help him take the
final step to where we want him to be."
Since the rumours began, Sebastien Buemi has signed a new 1-year deal with Toro Rosso. While Kimi is still a possibility, there are many other drivers that Renault are believed to be looking at, although they are not yet known.
However, I would be very disappointed if Petrov were to be replaced, as his defensive driving has been excellent so far, with his battle with Alonso one of his best moments so far. Also, his driving in the wet in China was impressive, although he hasn’t scored a point since then.
At the end of the day, I would side with Boullier in the belief that he is the best driver on the grid, although I would also agree that improvements are needed if the team are to battle for 4th in the constructors’ championship.