Pirelli’s launch of their new-for-2012 Formula One tyre compounds was news-worthy in itself, but the Italian manufacturer felt a curve ball would liven things up even more. Recently released-Renault nee Lotus driver Vitaly Petrov made a surprise appearance at the event, his F1 experience proving useful as wide-eyed journalists and photographers alike were shown life in the fast lane at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t too long before the questions flooded in…
So Vitaly, what are your plans for 2012?
It’s a new year now, so I’ve started a new life. I’ve had to train and just have to prepare myself for whatever decision I make. I just have to cross my fingers and hope that I’ll be on the F1 grid in March.
There are rumours circulating that you may yet replace Jarno Trulli at F1Caterham. Are they true?
To be honest I cannot tell you anything. We’ll just have to wait because we don’t won’t make a decision until next week.
So we may yet see you at the first test of the season?
I hope so.
Let’s be optimistic and assume you will race in Formula One again. What are you goals?
It depends which team I’ll be with, depends what job I will have. I need to develop myself first of all and take experience from Formula One in general and be ready for the future. Then…who knows? We’ll see.
Do you think Lotus’ decision to choose Kimi Raikkonen over you was a good one?
Lotus makes the decisions. Of course in one [scenario] it could have been me and Kimi together, but the team took a different driver [Romain Grosjean]. It’s their choice. I can’t help that. But I definitely have more experience from these past two years. I have experience of the Pirelli tyres, I know the tricks of last season, and I know the drivers. So maybe my preparation is a little bit better than his. But if I had come into Formula One in 2007, with the cars they had then, definitely he would have been faster then. But times have changed.
Should an F1 drive for 2012 prove just out of reach, speculation that the likeable Russian will be announced as Pirelli’s official test driver are now running wild.