Renault driver Vitaly Petrov says he just needs time before he can show his real potential in Formula 1.
The Russian rookie, last year's runner-up in the GP2 series, has so far been overshadowed by teammate Robert Kubica, and the French squad has asked Petrov to start scoring regularly in order to have a better chance of securing his future.
Petrov, who has scored seven points compared to Kubica's 89, is adamant that he can have a successful career in Formula 1 if he is given the right amount of time to adapt.
"No. I know what I can do," he told reporters on Thursday when asked if he felt pressure from the team. "I'm just asking them to give me time. Time for me is important because when I was in GP2 I needed three years to be quick because I didn't do formula cars before. I needed to understand how to work with the teams, with the engineers, with the setup. I would say it was my school. Formula 1 is also my school, but with a higher lever, so I just need more time."
He said he was unfazed by rumors surrounding his future. "For me it doesn't matter what people say. I always try to do the best, try to go as quick as I can," he said. "Of course, it's positive when the team is speaking about good things, not bad. I try to push hard anyway. If you see, by the end or the middle of the race, Robert and I always have the same lap times.It's just that from Friday to Sunday I'm learning and in the middle of the race and the end of the race my laps are always the same because I learned a lot."
Petrov admitted he has to raise his game in qualifying, where he has yet to outperform Kubica in 11 races.
"In the race, I don't have any problems. The problem I think it is qualifying. We need to improve the qualifying, because for example in Germany until Turn 16 I was absolutely the same lap time as Robert.
"I just lost three tenths at Turn 16 because I didn't know how to do this corner. There was not enough time in the dry to learn how to go quick. It looks simple, but it was three tenths and I was P10."