Putin Confirms Government Backing for Vitaly Petrov

Russian driver Vitaly Petrov has practically confirmed his place in the Renault F1 Team this season. We know his deal with the team has been inked for some time now, but the former GP2 runner-up was supposed to pour some money into the team's accounts in order to retain his seat. And now it's there, as the very prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, announced that his country will financially back Petrov in the series.

When confirmed by the Genii Capital-backed Renault F1 Team a month ago, Petrov became the first Russian driver to ever set foot in Formula One. A couple of days later, he insisted that the financial backing he benefits from – thought to be of around EUR15 million – is not provided by any sponsor, and urged the major Russian companies to join him in the series.

For quite some time now, it has been rumored that his father is unable to make the first payment towards Genii Capital, due to lack of funds. But now the Russian government stepped in, with Putin announcing the decision after a short meeting with Renault's CEO Carlos Ghosn.

We will sponsor this activity (the F1 team) as a first step, and do not rule out later increasing our financial participation in the project,” the prime minister is quoted as saying in Moscow by the news agency EFE.

Renault currently controls 25 percent of Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ, who produces Lada models. The French manufacturer bought this share in the Russian company a couple of years back – paying $1 billion for it – and is allegedly considering increasing their stake in the near future.

Needless to say, Lada branding will also appear on the Renault F1 Cars in 2010.

Until this season, Lada was competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, as a manufacturer. However, when the entry list for the 2010 season was announced, the Russian team was not confirmed for the new campaign.
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