Vitaly Petrov is hopeful of staying at Lotus (nee Renault) next season, saying he would relish the chance to race alongside Kimi Raikkonen.
Although the Russian's future with the team is in doubt, amid reports that it is evaluating other options for its second seat in 2012, Petrov said he is eager to remain there. He reckons that he would do a much better job next year than he did this season, when errors on both his and the team's side resulted in a disappointing campaign.
"I think the team did a big construction, changed a lot of stuff with the team and drivers, and they want to be sure we can do it together," said Petrov at the Race of Champions on Friday. "I know this year was a not a good example from my side but sorry, I am still a rookie. I did just two years in F1, so now I learn a lot so I can do the third season much, much better.
"In 2010, I did mistakes that I didn't do in 2011, so I have a big step improvement. In 2010, you could see how difficult it was to fight with Robert Kubica and be a top guy, but in 2011 I improved quite a lot.
"I can do it. I was still doing some mistakes, but F1 it is not the easiest of sports. But can you imagine what I can do in 2012? So I will again have one more step and, together with Kimi, together in one team, it will be good fun. He is experienced and I want very much to be part of this team. I hope the team takes the right decision and we wait a few days more. I hope to stay with the same team because I love very much this team.
"I like the people, working with the mechanics and engineers, so it feels like a family. They gave me the opportunity to drive. I don't want to change to another team, so I cross my fingers and wait for the answer."
Petrov believes the troubled 2011 campaign, and the difficulties he and the team faced, gave him a learning opportunity that he will likely never experience again.
"For me there is nothing to lose," he said. "I learn a lot from the 2011 season. I learn very much – and I will never learn so much, even in the future, because we have so many problems.
"I need to adapt my driving for this car to develop new things in the car. I have a big step in my head and a feeling of improvement. Together with Kimi, he is a World Champion, and he is motivated and funny.
"I watch a lot of videos of him, from previous years, and we are very close nationality [wise] so I hope I can stay together with him for next year."