Petrov replaced as F1 Portuguese GP race steward after father's death

Vitaly Petrov has stood down as a Formula 1 race steward at the Portuguese Grand Prix following the death of his father Alexander on Saturday

According to reports emerging from Russia, Alexander Petrov was shot at his home near Vyborg in the western part of the country.

The tragedy meant that Russia's first grand prix driver, who was making his first appearance as a drivers' steward, was unable to continue in his role and has immediately returned home to Russia.

A statement issued by the FIA on Saturday night said: "The FIA confirms that, due to a personal bereavement, the Driver Steward for the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, Vitaly Petrov, will not continue with his duties for the remainder of the weekend.

"The thoughts of the FIA are with Vitaly and his family at this time."

The FIA has announced that Bruno Correia, the safety car driver in Formula E and WCTR, will take over Petrov's role on the stewards' panel on race day in Portugal.

Petrov took part in 57 grands prix between 2010 and 2012 for the Renault and Caterham teams.

His best result was when he finished third for Renault at the 2011 Australian GP (below), behind race winner Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

After leaving F1, Petrov raced in the DTM for Mercedes in 2014, prior to switching to sportscars. He has regularly driven for the SMP team in LMP1 and GT3 racing, and last year finished third at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Petrov's appearance on the stewards' panel in Portugal this weekend caused some controversy following recent remarks he made about F1's anti-racism stance.

However, the FIA defended its decision to select Petrov by stating that personal views were not taken into consideration when choosing who can act as an official.

F1 race director Michael Masi extended his sympathies to the Petrov family.

"Firstly and most importantly our thoughts with Vitaly and his family at this time," he said.

"From that perspective with regards to a replacement driver steward, we're fortunate in that long-term FIA safety car driver in Formula E and for the World Touring Car Cup Bruno Correia lives locally in Portimao. So he will join us tomorrow morning.

"We arranged everything with regards to COVID testing and so forth, and he will join the stewards' panel in the morning.

"Obviously we're very thankful to Bruno, and as I said our thoughts are with Vitaly and his family."

Previous article Mercedes in favour of Formula 1 engine freeze from 2022
Next article Ricciardo explains Renault Portugal GP qualifying struggles