Renault eyes Raikkonen but also Petrov's sponsors
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen is the famous name now linked with Renault for 2011, but Vitaly Petrov is still valued by the team, owner Gerard Lopez insists.
The 2007 world champion's possible interest in driving alongside Robert Kubica has stirred the news headlines, but Lopez is still hopeful the Russian rookie Petrov is a winning formula from a business point of view.
"We have to push our team to succeed because we use the platform to do business," he is quoted by sportbusiness.com.
"People like to do business with winning teams, so it goes hand in hand. It's even more important now to build the team, to use that platform for the business side of it," added Lopez.
Petrov has already attracted the Russian carmaker Lada to the livery of the R30, and on Tuesday it emerged that another Russian sponsor has joined the team.
But Vyborg Shipyard JSC, based in Petrov's home town, has only signed up for the five remaining races of 2010 -- beyond that, the Russian star's future is clouded.
If Raikkonen really is an option for Renault in 2011, Petrov's departure or otherwise will likely be a commercial consideration, Lopez admits.
"And he's a good driver," he insisted.
"On top of all that, he is a driver that has 250 million Russian-speaking people that are convinced in him, so we'd be stupid not to assume that there is a business behind that," added Lopez.