Putin comes to Petrov's aid

2011-01-04 16:19

Moscow - Vitaly Petrov, Russia's first and only Formula One driver, is to receive funding from state-run high-tech company Rostekhnologii following a deal brokered by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, local media reported on Tuesday.

Petrov, his manager Oksana Kosachenko, Rostekhnologii chief Sergei Chemezov, and Leonid Mikhelson, head of private gas firm Novatek, hammered out the details of the new sponsorship deal during a meeting with Putin.

"The number of automobile sport lovers in Russia increases day by day," Putin said.

"Petrov, who is very famous among Formula One fans here, has recently signed a new two-year contract with his team. He definitely needs support. Financial support most of all."

Last month the Lotus Renault GP team confirmed that Petrov would be their second driver for the 2011 season alongside Pole Robert Kubica.

Petrov became the first Russian to compete in Formula One last season when he competed for Renault before Group Lotus plc acquired a major equity stake in the French team which had been experiencing financial difficulties.

Petrov, who finished the 2010 season in 13th place with just 27 points, said that he had learned much in his first year and was eager to put it into action for the new season which gets underway in Bahrain on March 13.

"I am eager to continue working with this team and I am sure I can live up to the expectations they have of me," added the 26-year-old Russian.