Vitaly Petrov has revealed he lost his seat at the Renault team, which is now known as Lotus, following disagreements with key team members.
For 2012, the Russian has had to switch to Caterham, a F1 backmarker.
In the meantime, with an all-new driver lineup comprising former world champion Kimi Raikkonen alongside Romain Grosjean, Lotus has stepped up a gear and is now among the sport's most highly competitive teams.
"What happened last year was a shame, but at the end of the season relations with some people soured and they were against me," Petrov is quoted by the Russian website f1news.ru.
Now he's at Caterham, paired with Heikki Kovalainen, who is widely regarded as the Tony Fernandes-led team's main driver.
"At Renault it didn't work," Petrov explained. "I was ahead of my teammates, but asked to leave anyway. But this was an exception, as in all situations you must always strive to be ahead of your teammate."
The Russian insists Kovalainen is not treated preferentially.
"Of course things sometimes appear that way, but when I saw the situation from the inside, I realised that everything is open. Here's an example: in Malaysia we had one new engine cover, they called Heikki and I together, and tossed a coin! From that day I had not a single doubt."
As for his chances this weekend in Monaco, Petrov insisted: "There is a good chance to be in a good position. But if we score points then it will not be because we are fast but because of something else like a better strategy."