Feb.1 (GMM) Vitaly Petrov on Sunday confirmed that he is paying to make his F1 debut with Renault this year.
But the 2009 GP2 championship runner-up denied reports the deal is funded by Russian multinationals to the tune of multiple hundreds of millions of rubles.
On the 25-year-old’s helmet visor this year, the word ‘Russia’ is prominent.
“My father has given me the money to be here. It’s just him, my manager and my father’s friends. No one else,” Petrov said at the Valencia circuit.
He is hoping his confirmation as F1’s first ever Russian race driver will stir the corporate interest of the huge country.
The BBC said his deal is for one year initially but with options for 2011 and 2012.
“The people in Russia, they must wake up to what has happened here because we are in F1 without any sponsorship and any help,” said Petrov.
“Now people will see us in formula one and hopefully it will change things.”
He also hopes his presence on the grid this year will be a step towards the inauguration of a Russian grand prix.
“This is what I’ve been trying to do,” he explained. “I’ve been telling people ‘We are Russia, a big country, and we must have a grand prix’.
“So now I am here, maybe people will try to do something,” he added.
Team boss Eric Boullier admitted Petrov is contributing some 7 per cent of Renault’s entire F1 budget for 2010, but insists the first priority was to sign a driver with talent.
“We actually had (talks with) drivers who could have brought twice the amount Vitaly is bringing with him,” he said.