Petrov's success will attract sponsors - Renault Renault owner Gerard Lopez is confident Vitaly Petrov's on-track success will open up more sponsorship opportunities in Russia.
Petrov, born in Vyborg near the Russian-Finnish border, took the first podium of his Formula One career at the Australian Grand Prix last weekend. Lopez believes there are more to come and is hoping his driver's success can open up a valuable revenue stream for the team.
"Quite a few Russian companies are strong partners of Lotus Renault GP this year," he told Renault's website. "They seem to enjoy what our platform offers and the visibility they get. I'm sure that Vitaly's showing in Melbourne will attract even more partners, especially as his performance did not look like a one off. I'm definitely optimistic."
He added that interest in Russia rocketed during Petrov's first season.
"When Vitaly arrived in Formula One, we had to face two important tasks," Lopez said. "The first one was to make him an accomplished driver in the space of a few months. With no testing allowed and the pressure you have to face when racing at the highest level, his progress has been impressive. Secondly, we had to 'educate' Russia to Formula One. There's been a lot of explaining to do, a sport culture to explain. I'm happy to say that both these processes were successful. Very few people knew what the sport was all about when Vitaly arrived onto the grid. Last season, TV figures in Russia have already doubled within 8 months. This is more than encouraging."
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