Petrov launches attack on Renault

autosport.com

Fri, 18 Nov 03:30:19 2011

Vitaly Petrov's future at Renault has been thrown into doubt after the Russian driver launched an amazing outburst against the team this week, in the first public sign of friction between himself and team management.

On the back of an increasingly frustrating campaign, which has seen Renault score just six points since the German Grand Prix, Petrov has blamed a lack of development and strategy mistakes for its current plight.

In a lengthy interview with the Russia 2 television channel, Petrov said that although his contract prevents him from criticising his team, the current situation means he now has to speak out.

"Unfortunately I cannot say anything bad about the team, it says so in my contract," said Petrov. "But many things have already been written about in the media.

"People say the team criticised the drivers. But excuse me; read my interviews, I haven't criticised the team despite what we have lost so many times. How much have we missed at pitstops? With strategy?

"We have lost positions in about 10 races or even more. Even without a fast car we could have gained good points, we could have finished with points if we had had a good strategy.

"But I couldn't say in interviews that we lost it with the pitstops, and I cannot talk about that now either. But I can't keep silent any more - it is over. I can't keep everything inside any more."

Petrov believes the Renault team started the season in a very good position, but says development never able to match rivals' - which is why the outfit slipped back.

"At the beginning of the year, for the first five or six races, we looked really strong. We could not fight with Ferrari, Red Bull or McLaren, but we were quite close to Ferrari and much faster than Mercedes.

"It was very easy for us to pass from Q2 to Q3 using one set of tyres. We didn't even used all the potential or push 100 per cent to get into Q3 - in the first six races it was rather easy.

"But when the windtunnel developments came, the new parts, because of the front exhausts, they didn't work. We worked on the front wing, the rear wing, the diffusers, the floor but whatever we changed it was useless.

"For about 10 races we didn't have anything, so in fact we have had the same car with which we started the season."

Petrov's amazing outburst has prompted question marks about his future at the team, as Renault continues to weigh up its driver options for 2012.

And although he has a deal in place for next year, he is aware that if the team does not want him to stay then there is nothing he can do to force them to keep him.

"Everything is clear: I have a contract," he said. "But as I have already said before, even world champion Kimi Raikkonen was asked to leave F1 for a certain sum of money. It's hard to do anything in this world if someone wants you to be removed."

 

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