Date:Friday November 18 2011
Vitaly Petrov has sensationally branded his own teams upgrades during the 2011 campaign as 'useless' on Russian television.
The Renault driver was speaking to Russia 2 television channel and has been quoted by Autosport Magazine.
The 27-year-old openly admitted that he was contractually unable to speak negatively of the team, before making his observations on the teams development over the season.
'I cannot say anything bad about the team, it says so in my contract, But many things have already been written about in the media.' he said.
Petrov started the 2011 Formula One season in fine form, standing on the podium for the first time in his career in the season opener in Australia.
He continued to score points in China, Turkey and Canada, while then team-mate Nick Heidfeld was also enjoying good results.
The German driver also stood on the podium in Malaysia and enjoyed good points finishes at Turkey, Spain, Monaco, Valencia and Britain.
'At the beginning of the year, for the first five or six races, we looked really strong. We could not fight with Ferrari, Red Bull or McLaren, but we were quite close to Ferrari and much faster than Mercedes.
Since that time however, the team have struggled to re-discover their early season form, while the team have also dropped Nick Heidfeld in favour of Bruno Senna.
Petrov has had two ninth place finishes in Belgium and Japan, while Senna also picked up a ninth place finish in Italy.
In total since the end of July, the team have added just six-points to their constructors world championship tally [over the last eight races], having scored sixty-six points [over the ten races] in the first half of the season.
Petrov continued: 'when the windtunnel developments came, the new parts, because of the front exhausts, they didn't work. We worked on the front wing, the rear wing, the diffusers, the floor – but whatever we changed it was useless.
'For about 10 races we didn't have anything, so in fact we have had the same car with which we started the season.'
Petrov does have a contract with the Renault [soon to become Lotus] team, but his comments have raised a few eyebrows in the media and speculation is mounting over whether he will remain in the car for the 2012 Formula One World Championship.
Petrov concluded: 'Everything is clear: I have a contract, But as I have already said before, even world champion Kimi Raikkonen was asked to leave F1 for a certain sum of money. It's hard to do anything in this world if someone wants you to be removed.'
Date:Friday November 18 2011
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