Petrov apologises for Renault outburst

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2011, 08:54 AM IST

London: Russian Formula One driver Vitaly Petrov has apologised to his Renault team for a television outburst where he criticised their tactics and pitstops.

His manager Oksana Kossatchenko said on Friday that Petrov gave an interview to Russia 2 in the heat of the moment after finishing 13th in Sunday`s race in Abu Dhabi but immediately regretted his comments.

"It was an emotional interview," she said. "It was an exception and he apologised afterwards to the team.”

"It will never happen again. We are really sorry and the management has discussed it with Vitaly already."

Petrov had said that although his contract barred him from saying anything bad about the team, he had to speak out.

"I haven`t criticised the team despite what we have lost so many times. How much have we missed at pitstops? With strategy?" he asked in widely reported comments.

"We have lost positions in about 10 races or even more. Even without a fast car we could have gained good points, we could have finished with points if we had had a good strategy," added Petrov.

"But I couldn`t say in interviews we lost it with the pitstops and I cannot talk about that now either. But I can`t keep silent any more -- it is over. I can`t keep everything inside anymore."

Matter Closed

Team principal Eric Boullier smoothed over the incident in an interview on Renault`s website.

"Drivers are not robots, they`re human beings," he said.

"Like every driver Vitaly is a competitor. Had he been on the podium in Abu Dhabi he would have complained about not winning the race. We take this incident as exactly this -- an incident.”

"Vitaly has apologised to the team and sent an email to all the staff at Enstone. As far as we are concerned the matter is closed," added Boullier.

Russia`s first Formula One driver has a contract for next year although there has been media speculation about his future.

Sunday`s outburst triggered fresh speculation about his relations with the team who are changing their name to Lotus for 2012 after their main Malaysian backer.

Petrov started the season by finishing third in Australia but he has won just five points in the last 11 races.

His team mates have done no better, with Germany`s Nick Heidfeld replaced in August and Brazilian Bruno Senna managing to score only two points since then.

Petrov said the car was good for the first few races but the team had then failed to develop it.

"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," he said.

Bureau Report