Q. Vitaly, you've just been announced as a Renault F1 Team driver. You must be thrilled...
Vitaly Petrov: Yes, absolutely! For me it was a very long winter and I felt rather nervous when I saw other drivers' contracts signed one after another. But I always believed that one day it would by my turn, and now, thanks to the Renault F1 Team, this finally became a reality. When I first drove a Formula Renault 2.0 car back in 2003, I couldn't imagine that one day I would drive for Renault in Formula One so this really is a dream come true. Now I just can't wait to sit in the cockpit and do my very first lap in a Formula One car. I'm sure it will feel fantastic.
Q. Are you looking forward to working alongside Robert Kubica? Do you know him already?
VP: I've followed Robert's progress in Formula One for a couple of years and he's a really nice guy. We're both from Eastern Europe and we both like rallying and ice racing - so for me Robert is almost the perfect teammate. He's been in Formula One for four years already and has won a race so I'm sure I can learn a lot from him. I know that Robert was keen for me to join the team so I'd like to thank him for his support.
Q. How will you prepare for the new season both physically and mentally?
VP: The physical side is much easier as fitness training is a part of my life and I feel fit enough already. Maybe I should do some more work to build up my neck with the fitness trainer at Renault so that I don't have any problems. The mental side is more challenging because it still takes time for me to realise that I am a Formula One driver and that I will be on the grid in Bahrain. Also, I will be the first Russian to race in Formula One so there will be a lot of interest and expectation. But I'm not worrying about it as I have enough time to get used to the attention and prepare for the season. The next four weeks will be particularly important at the test sessions as I get to know the team and work closely with everyone to make sure I am ready.
Q. What are you most looking forward to this year?
VP: I'm really looking forward to any wet races and the street circuits. That's because I started my racing career in Russia competing in rally sprints and ice racing so I feel comfortable in slippery conditions. Also, I won my first GP2 race on a wet track in Valencia when I started on slicks on a damp track. But first I need to see what an F1 car feels like in the rain.
Q. What are your goals for the year ahead?
VP: To learn as much as possible from this successful team and from Robert during the year. I'm so proud to be here and want to do the best job I can. When testing begins we will be able to judge where the R30 is in comparison with the other teams so before that it's too early to set targets. All I can say is that I will try to be as close to Robert as possible and hopefully score points regularly for the team.
Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime
As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire
On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield
Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)
It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment
As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground
Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest
The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes