Renault still weighing up Petrov versus Raikkonen
(GMM) An ace up Vitaly Petrov's sleeve is much lower wage demands than his potential successor Kimi Raikkonen, the Russian rookie insists.
The seat at Renault alongside Robert Kubica is the best remaining vacancy on the 2011 grid, and team boss Eric Boullier is publicly pushing well-financed Russian rookie Petrov to up his game.
"If he fails to convince us he will not drive our car," the Frenchman told F1's official website on Monday.
A bad sign for the 26-year-old has been his particularly mixed performances recently, although some sections of the media believe he will be retained.
"I need to show the team what I can do in the final races and show that I deserve to stay here next year," said Petrov on Monday.
Boullier admits that nationality is a bonus.
"I know that a Russian driver would be appreciated and Russia holds a huge potential for all companies present in formula one," he said.
However, "Performance clearly wins over marketing potential," insisted Boullier, "because if a driver doesn't deliver then the marketing potential is also limited."
Another consideration for Renault is that, not only would the team lose Petrov's money if the Russian is shown the door, it would open itself to Raikkonen's famously lucrative salary demands.
"One advantage for me is that, compared to Kimi, they don't have to pay me much," Petrov is quoted by the Dutch magazine formule1.nl.
And with it generally accepted that Raikkonen's motivation had waned when he left Ferrari and F1 last year, Petrov might also be better value for money.
"Why should you invest in somebody who leaves you guessing?" admitted Boullier.
Petrov thinks Renault should give him another season to shine.
"Why would Renault choose Kimi rather than me?" Petrov told the Dutch publication.
"The team knew when they started with me that I'm a rookie and I'm still learning," he said.
Boullier said Renault will complete its 2011 lineup before January.
"They are negotiating with several drivers and that's how formula one works," added Petrov.