Vitaly Petrov is close to a deal that will secure his future at the Renault team, AUTOSPORT has learned, with the outfit's chiefs now convinced he has done enough to justify keeping his seat for 2011.
Although the latter part of Petrov's season was marred by a series of errors and accidents, he redeemed himself in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a strong drive under intense pressure from world title hopeful Fernando Alonso.
Team principal Eric Boullier admitted that Petrov's Abu Dhabi drive had boosted his chances of staying and, with a decision on who will be Robert Kubica's team-mate imminent, the Russian is now understood to be all but certain to stay on.
"His performance in Abu Dhabi will be a positive in our consideration," Boullier told AUTOSPORT about the Petrov situation. "But we still have to sit down and I want to make sure my mind is fresh to think over the situation.
"There are still some frustrations but I have to consider the global package, and I have to say that Abu Dhabi was positive for him."
Boullier said that he expected a final decision on Renault's line-up to be made in the next three weeks and, although discussion lines were being kept open with other drivers including Nick Heidfeld and Adrian Sutil - with Nico Hulkenberg now also a possibility - their chances were diminishing.
When asked about talks with other drivers, Boullier said: "There is still some push, but I have been very frank with them. It is more positive for Vitaly than negative, so there is less chance for them."