Vitaly Petrov will retain his seat the the Renault team for 2011 and 2012. The 26-year-old made the announcement in the press center of Television and Radio Russia today, clearing up speculation that Force India’s Adrian Sutil or out of work racers Nico Hulkenberg or Nick Heidfeld could steal his place.

Petrov was inconsistent in 2010, enjoying the odd good race but too often stuffing his car in the barriers. He was out-qualified 17-2 by team-mate Robert Kubica, the most convincing inter-team defeat of the season, and finished 109 points behind the Pole.

Credit: Renault F1 Team

But – in no small part thanks to his extensive sponsorship portfolio and marketing potential – Petrov will remain in where he is for a second season. The Russian is likely to be judged far more harshly should Kubica one again prove so superior next year.

Renault will run as Lotus Renault GP in 2011 following a big money title sponsorship deal between the Malaysian-owned Group Lotus and Renault F1 majority owners Genii Capital. Petrov’s sponsors include car company Lada, meaning we will next year see a Britain-built car racing under the French flag with a Malaysian title sponsor (which used to be British) and a Russian manufacturer as an associate sponsor. Whoever said the second Lotus team would make things confusing?

Vitaly Petrov’s 2010 season at a glance.

  • Races started: 19
  • Race finished: 14
  • Best qualifying: 7th (Hungarian Grand Prix)
  • Best finish: 5th (Hungarian Grand Prix)
  • Points scored: 27
  • Final position: 13th
Credit: Renault F1 Team