Group Lotus Favors Petrov for 2011 F1 Seat

Vitaly Petrov will likely keep his seat with Lotus Renault F1 Team next season. The Russian driver was in pole position to secure his job at Enstone ever since his great drive in Abu Dhabi, and the recent Lotus buyout of the team formerly owned by Genii Capital and Renault will not jeopardize that, at least if we are to trust Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar.

Our preferred choice is Vitaly Petrov,” admitted Bahar in a recent interview with the BBC radio, as reported by the GMM news agency. “But I hope that the team will be able to announce by the end of the year the final lineup.

The Enstone based organization initially belonged to Renault, until Luxembourg's Genii Capital firm bought the majority shares in the team a year back. Yesterday, Renault sold its remaining shares to Genii, after which Group Lotus purchased a big part of the team to become major equity partner in the newly-formed Lotus Renault F1.

Keeping Petrov would very much make sense for Group Lotus, as this would provide the British sports carmaker and, more importantly, its mother company Proton, with a great opportunity to “access Russia's automotive market and automotive technologies owned by (team owner) Genii,” as showed in a report from Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

Genii is ... offering Proton the ability to leverage on its existing business relationships in Russia and other parts of the world as a means to expand (our) global reach,” confirmed Proton recently, through a press statement.

Apart from the opportunity it provides his new owner, Petrov also benefited in his first F1 campaign from important sponsors from his native Russia, including carmaker Lada, Vyborg Shipyard and Flagman vodka. Additionally, the very Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lobbied for the 26-year old rookie.
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