Exclusive Q&A with Vitaly Petrov

By on Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo credit: Caterham F1

Ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, F1Zone.net sat down with Vitaly Petrov to discuss his season and what the future holds for the Caterham driver.

F1Zone.net: You finished 9th here in 2010 and 2011. What are your hopes for this year?

Vitaly Petrov: Now it’s difficult to predict where we can finish. But anyway my target is to try to do all the best for the team, again without mistake or any problems. Today unfortunately I cannot expect where we can finish or qualify. With this weather this track is interesting and difficult to predict what it will be so maybe it can help us or at the same time it can be worst for us.

F1Z: Are you hoping for rain?

VP: It doesn’t matter for me if it rains or [if it is] dry. I want to give a good result and if the car’s maximum result can be 14th or 15th it’s ok but for me it’s better just to take maximum from the car.

F1Z: You finished your first F1 season 13th and the second one 10th. Is it difficult adapting to Caterham after driving a car which was capable of podium finishes?

VP: Not really but of course you want the car competitive to fight with other teams. Maybe to understand it was a little bit difficult. You try to push hard but today unfortunately the car cannot go quicker than what we had until now. For me it wasn’t difficult but I still believe in myself, I still believe I can be a good driver and fight the car in front. Maybe I’m missing this fight with drivers which I had in the past a little bit.

F1Z: Are you hoping for any improvements until the end of the year?

VP: The team is working hard, we bring some upgrades here and a big package to Singapore but the other teams are not sleeping too and always working so for us it’s quite difficult to beat them so easily. At the moment we are working, we have moved to a bigger factory but all these things should be compact so we need time to understand. I think we need to continue in the same way and then we’ll see where we need to do some changes before the start of the new season.

F1Z: Your manager said you might quit Formula 1 if no one else than you and your sponsor will be interested to have you. Do you have anything in mind for the next season?

VP: For the last three years I had the same situation. In November and October I didn’t have any clear answer if I’d be racing or not. In 2012 it was on February and just deciding so it was quite a long, long way. But we started to talk now on August.

F1Z: Are you in talks with any teams already?

VP: Of course the team is waiting for us, they’re interested to have us but everywhere you need to bring some sponsors to the team. I think every driver have his private sponsor who’s supporting him at the beggining of the career. My first two years were good. But if nobody will be interested to support F1 in Russia I cannot pay by myself because I’m not rich and don’t have this money to pay. So if they don’t need a good driver, a Russian F1 driver then we don’t have other choice.

F1Z: If you don’t find a seat next year are you hoping maybe in one or two years to be back in Formula 1 or leaving altogether?

VP: I don’t know. I’m not thinking about it. Today I’m a racing driver, I come to fight and now it is the second half of the season so I don’t want to worry about anything else. I want talk about next season with this team first of all and then another team and we will see what’s going to be. But at the moment I’m not thinking to go out. My personal feelings: I need to drive and do my job.

F1Z: Do you think you can do anything else other than a Formula 1 driver?

VP: Of course you can do a lot of stuff but at the moment I’m interested in this.

F1Z: How is it to have Heikki as a team-mate?

VP: Heikki is a very good guy. I think it’s my first team-mate with who you can be friendly and easy to talk, professionally. He’s a good racing driver. Fights with him are always good, clear and without any mistakes. We never had a crash to each other so I think we have a good relationship.

F1Z: How would it look to have a Formula 1 track in Russia but not to have a Russian driver?

VP: It’s important to prepare. Now I’m ready to win, to be professional, to bring podiums and wins!

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