Jarno Trulli has echoed Toyota Motorsport President John Howett's insistence that the big-budget Japanese manufacturer needs to 'show its true colours' in Formula 1 this year – or else risk following Honda swiftly out of the exit door.
In seven seasons in the top flight to-date, Toyota has notched up eight rostrum finishes – but no victory, a meagre return on its significant investment in the sport. Trulli – the man who has registered half of those podiums, and 97 of the squad's 219 total points, making him comfortably the Cologne-based outfit's most successful driver – knows that now is time for the team to either produce results…or get out.
“We need to deliver as a team,” the veteran Italian underlined, in an interview with the official F1 website. “Everybody at Toyota is facing a difficult moment as we have come to an age where we have to show our true colours.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to get to the top spot of the podium, but we consistently improved our performance last year and with the arrival of Timo [Glock – team-mate] it went further up.
“Timo and I want to win and get as many good positions as possible. We all understand that we have to deliver results and we are all fully committed. For this year our objectives are very simple; fight for top positions, score as many points as possible – and look out for that first race win.”
Trulli acknowledged that his vast experience accrued from twelve seasons of competition in the highest echelon would be a boon as the sport enters its brave new technological dawn – and he was also open about the advent of the hitherto troublesome and controversial KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) devices and the lack of knowledge gained of the new TF109 so far, given the distinctly inclement conditions that greeted teams testing in Portugal last week.
“In a few laps you cannot get a final verdict on a new car,” the 34-year-old stressed, “but the overall feeling is that we can look to this season pretty confident. When we get into normal testing conditions – meaning much warmer weather – we will understand much better where we stand. I would say that after the Bahrain test at the beginning of next month I will be able to answer this question with more accuracy.
“We drivers know so little about KERS, and yes, from the incidents we know some of the teams [have had] we are a little bit concerned – but I am convinced that the FIA has an eye on that issue. In the last two days I was running the car with KERS and there wasn't a problem at all, but then again two days cannot give you an in-depth understanding so we have to see what happens at the next tests.
“The front wing flap will help, but KERS is a completely new world – if we introduce it. There is so little time left to really integrate it and get enough experience to fully understand how to use it. We have to make sure that it is safe and reliable, and then we have to figure out if it holds an advantage. KERS is a bit question mark.
“The target [behind the rule changes] is to have a better race for all of us – and I am sure we can achieve that target. I cautiously predict that we will see more action on the track.
“Experience always helps, but fact is that we have to focus entirely on the remaining winter tests. What is more important is we have to get it right before Melbourne – because there will be no chance to turn things around dramatically during the season.”