Renault tips Petrov for regular points
Date published : 12 Apr 2010 - 18:17:05
Renault technical director James Allison believes Vitaly Petrov will be able to deliver consistent points finishes for the team once it manages to provide him with a reliable car.
The Russian rookie has yet to see the chequered flag in his three grands prix to date, with suspension and gearbox problems ending promising races in Bahrain and Malaysia respectively.
Allison says he has been particularly impressed with the 25-year-old's ability to handle pressure situations and admits it is now up to the team to ensure he is able to make the finish.
I think his biggest strength is his mental toughness, especially at the key moments, Allison said.
His performance at the start of the races is a good example of that, and also his approach to qualifying where he copes well with the pressure.
He has been unlucky not to finish the races, and we feel very sorry that we have let him down twice with car failures that have cost him strong finishes.
Every weekend he is getting closer to Robert [Kubica] in terms of pace and I expect that to continue throughout the year.
I am confident that when we give him a reliable platform, he will get the job done for us and bring the team points each weekend.
Petrov, who finished as runner-up to Nico Hulkenberg in last year's GP2 Series, admits that while his acclimatisation into the team has gone well, his run of retirements has been a source of frustration given he has yet to experience the complete challenge of a full race distance.
I'm pleased with my relationship with the team, especially with the engineers who have really helped me adapt to Formula 1, the Russian said.
I've been spending as much time as I can with them talking about the systems on the car, the set-up and where we can improve.
On the other hand, it has been frustrating not to finish the races, especially retiring so early in Bahrain and Australia, which has limited my experience.
At the moment I only know what it feels like to complete half a race in terms of managing the tyres and adapting to the changing fuel load so that's not ideal.
A first grand prix finish is naturally his main target for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, while he has also identified his pace over a single qualifying lap as an area for further attention.
The priority is to try and finish the race and get the experience of a race distance, Petrov added.
I also want to get closer to the top 10 and hopefully fight for points in the race. I also need to continue working hard on my qualifying performance so that I can make it through to Q2, and hopefully Q3.