Petrov apologises for Renault outburst

Russian Formula One driver Vitaly Petrov has apologised to his Renault team for criticising their tactics and pitstops.

By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 18 Nov 2011, 6:26 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:21 AM

Petrov’s manager Oksana Kossatchenko told Reuters on Friday that Petrov had given an interview to Russia 2 television in the heat of the moment after Sunday’s race in Abu Dhabi but immediately regretted his comments.

“It was an emotional interview,” she said. “It was an exception and he apologised afterwards to the team. It will never happen again.

“We are really sorry and the management has discussed it with Vitaly already.”

Kossatchenko said she had spoken also on Friday with team principal Eric Boullier and owner Gerard Lopez.

There was no immediate comment from Renault, who are preparing for the season-ending race in Brazil next week.

Petrov told the television channel that although his contract barred him from saying anything bad about the team, he had to speak out.

“I haven’t criticised the team despite what we have lost so many times. How much have we missed at pitstops? With strategy?,” he asked in comments translated and reported by various websites.

“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, Russia’s first Formula One driver, has a contract for next year although there has been some speculation about his future.

The outburst triggered fresh speculation about his relations with the team, who are changing their name to Lotus for 2012 after their main Malaysian backer.

The Russian started the season with third place in Australia but he has gleaned just five points in the last 11 races.

His team mates have done no better, with Germany’s Nick Heidfeld replaced in August and Brazilian Bruno Senna managing to score just two points since then.

Petrov said the car had been good for the first few races but the team had then failed to develop it.

“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,” he said.

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