mario wrote:Whilst I guess that it is plausible that Petrov may be pushed out of the team (though it seems odd that either side would want to delay so much, given Petrov's funding is fairly important for Boullier's plans and the only other likely options are, at best, a sideways move and at worst a downgrade), it's by no means assured that he can just waltz into Williams (and, as an aside, it seems that the major sticking point for the Kimi-Williams deal was Kimi's request for a stake in the team, which it seems the board wasn't willing to accept, with sponsorship being a secondary matter).
I get that. My issue is that Saward states that Lotus and HRT are Petrov's only options. They are not:
- Williams were initially courting Kimi Raikkonen to secure funding from the Middle East. Raikkonen has since signed for Lotus, and there has been no word on what has happened with that funding. If it died with Raikkonen joining Lotus, Williams could conceivably take Petrov.
- Force India is bankrolled by Vijay Mallya, and Mallya's businesses are in serious trouble. Although Force India's sponsorship is funded differently to every other team, that distinction will likely be lost on the Indian public. Force India will have to appear fiscally-responsible, which means removing the Kingfisher and possibly Whyte & Mackey decals. A deal with Petrov could take even more pressure off the team and Mallya.
- Daniel Ricciardo is talking up the prospects of replacing Jarno Trulli at Caterham. This would come with Red Bull's blessing, but I doubt they would be willing to match Petrov dollar-for-dollar to get Ricciardo in the seat. Russian rubles work just as well as Australian dollars when it comes to funding the team.
And, of course, HRT is a possibility. They have an available seat, and a documented history of taking pay drivers. But to suggest that HRT is Petrov's only
choice outside Lotus for 2012 is ridiculous. He's an established driver and brings plenty of sponsorship to any team he joins. Toro Rosso is the only team that is really off-limits to him, simply because they take drivers from their own clique, and Petrov is not a part of that.