Jarno Trulli insists that the new Lotus F1 team has to be realistic in its aims for the 2010 F1 season after confirmation finally arrived that the Italian will race for the newcomers next season.
Following Toyota's departure from the sport, Trulli was quickly linked with the Lotus squad thanks to his past links with chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne and will now lead the Malaysian team into its debut season alongside former McLaren man Heikki Kovalainen.
Like Gascoyne, the Italian admitted that the first target for the team has to be to establish itself as the best of the four new teams on the grid but said that a change in rules to allow the top ten drivers to score had to provide Lotus with its ultimate aim for the season as a whole.
"We have to set realistic targets for the first year,” he said. “We are one of the new teams, so we have to prove ourselves and to gain respect in the paddock. We have to establish ourselves as the best of the new teams and see what gap we have between us and the rest. Only then will we really understand what gains we need to make during the season.
“The points system has changed to reward the top ten drivers, so I would like to see us making progress towards the top ten by Abu Dhabi."
Trulli added that he was exciting by the challenge of helping the new team establish itself on the grid and admitted that, while his experience would be an advantage for Lotus, there was still a lot of work to be done.
"I am really pleased to be joining Lotus F1 Racing,” he said. “It was quite a difficult situation at the start of November with my former team withdrawing from Formula 1, but I was convinced I would stay in Formula 1. I was in contact with Mike about the possibility of joining the new Lotus team and it became quickly clear that it would be a very good opportunity for me. I have been in Formula 1 for many years but there is something extremely motivating about helping to build a team from the ground level up. There is a lot of ambition from Tony (Fernandes, Team Principal), Mike and in fact the whole of Malaysia as a nation, and that level of enthusiasm is infectious for a driver. I am really looking forward to the challenge.
"I have driven for quite a few teams in my career, both manufacturer and independent teams, so I have a wide range of experience. I hope that this experience will be a positive asset for Lotus as we begin this new challenge together. We should not underestimate the task in hand. Formula 1 in 2010 is an exciting prospect with brand new teams, established manufacturers fighting back and of course other young teams looking to repeat their 2009 success. Everyone will be fighting hard for results, but we still have all our foundations to set, so we have a lot to do."