Vitaly Petrov says he is ready to take on the increased level of responsibility that has been thrust onto him at Renault in the wake of Robert Kubica's absence.
Kubica could be out for the 2011 season following the serious injuries he sustained in a rally crash at the weekend, and that means Petrov's input to the outfit will be more vital than before. Although the likely signing of Nick Heidfeld as his new teammate will mean Renault still has an experienced pair of hands to rely upon, Petrov says he feels qualified enough to step up to help the team move forward.
"Of course, I was ready before," Petrov said at Jerez on Thursday when asked if he felt prepared to take more of a lead role. "Last year I was not ready because everything was new for me, but this year it is a little bit easier, but also more difficult with new rules, new tires, and new aerodynamics – a lot of things. But I came here to fight, so I must do this. Anyway, one day it would happen, it just happened a little bit earlier.
"But what has really changed? Of course, something has changed for the team, but for me I have the same job like it was before. Even before if I asked something or was clear about a decision, they would do it for me."
Petrov believes Renault will benefit from having a more experienced driver as Kubica's replacement, although he cited one of the benefits of the Pole was that their driving styles were quite similar.
"It's always good to have two experienced guys to take the maximum information for the team," he said. "What is good is that our driving styles are quite similar. We chose so much the same setup, brakes and things like this. So we didn't change so much on the car from one driver to the other driver.
"I want him [Kubica] to come back, of course. OK, we were not always talking and eating together like good friends, but we had a good relationship trying to build the car together and work with the team."