Mar.14 (GMM) Caterham's team boss insists Vitaly Petrov is just as good as the experienced Grand Prix winner he replaced.

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham F1 Team
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham F1 Team

Photo by: xpb.cc

Just ahead of the 2012 season, Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes decided to oust former Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli with Russian Petrov, the well-sponsored Russian and former Renault driver.

"I think he (Petrov) is as good a driver as Trulli, but he obviously brings a Russian commercial element," Fernandes told the US cable news channel CNN.

"It gives us the ability to exploit commercial opportunities in Russia. We've watched Petrov very closely. He brings in sponsorship. He's competent enough to be a second driver," he added.

It gives us the ability to exploit commercial opportunities in Russia

Tony Fernandes

Fernandes, who also heads the Malaysian airline AirAsia and the English premier league club Queens Park Rangers, said Caterham is once again targeting tenth place in the constructors' championship for 2012.

"We want to get into the midfield," he confirmed. "We said it's going to take us two years, we want to be tenth then we want to be racing.

"And looking at the times right now, we're there or thereabouts. Maybe half a second, a second away from the midfield pack."