F1 »

Trulli: I will keep racing for as long as I am quick and I enjoy it

Former Monaco Grand Prix-winner Jarno Trulli will be third on the all-time list of the most experienced drivers in F1 history once his three-year contract with Lotus expires - but the Italian reveals he has no intention of hanging up his helmet yet awhile...
Whilst acknowledging that his new 'long-term' project with Lotus F1 'might' also be his last in the top flight at the age of 35, Jarno Trulli is adamant that far from being ready to be pensioned off once his three-year contract is up, he will continue racing 'for as long as I am quick and for as long as I have the passion to do so'.

With 216 grand prix starts under his belt from 13 previous seasons at the highest level, Trulli will be the third-most experienced driver on the grid in F1 2010 – behind only 'record man' Rubens Barrichello and the returning Michael Schumacher. He is, moreover, sixth on the all-time list, and should he indeed see out his full agreement with Lotus, he will leapfrog countrymen Giancarlo Fisichella and Riccardo Patrese and former sparring partner David Coulthard to sit third.

That being the case, some might say that to join a start-up operation in what is effectively the autumn of his long and successful F1 career is a backwards step or at the very least a risk. Trulli, however, argues that nothing could be further from the truth, and makes it clear that together with esteemed and no-nonsense chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne – with whom he established a strong working relationship at firstly Jordan Grand Prix and subsequently Renault and Toyota – he will be giving it everything to drive Lotus up the pecking order.

“To be honest it was several factors, not only one,” the Pescara native told Crash.net Radio, when asked what his motivation was in electing to throw in his lot with the Anglo/Malaysian newcomer. “First of all, Mike is on-board; he's such an experienced engineer who I've worked with before, and I've always been successful with him. I would say Mike was one of the key reasons for me joining.

“I've always looked for a good, stable technical situation, and I couldn't find anything better or anyone better. Mike contacted me early on, as soon as Lotus got their entry. I waited a little bit because I wanted first to finish completely with Toyota, and then eventually I made my decision – and Mike was very important in that. He has done an incredible job to set everything up the way it is now in such a short space of time – nobody else could have done that, I tell you.

“Secondly, there's a good budget in-place, and third, whilst I didn't know Tony [Fernandes – team principal] before, when I met him he came across as a very charismatic, strong person with a very good business head. Lotus only got its entry in September, but everything is progressing. I'm really amazed by the job that they've done so far.”

Having been accused at the outset of previous seasons of being a pessimist in his forecasts, Trulli counters that he is simply a realist – in stark contrast to the all-too frequent hyperbole and ludicrous over-optimism that is emitted from the mouths of many of his rivals. Results will not come quickly for Lotus, this he well knows, but looking to the future, he is confident that all the foundations are in-place to genuinely achieve long-term glory – and that is a future in which the erstwhile Monaco Grand Prix-winner fully intends to play a leading part.

“We have to be realistic,” he stressed. “It's going to be a tough season, and to begin with what we need to do is be reasonably competitive. Eventually, the target will probably be to show some good performances by the end of the year. As I say, it's a long-term project, and the first season is all about building up the team. Obviously, what Lotus is looking for is to be an established, strong Formula 1 team for the future.

“I am with Lotus for the next three years, because I want to build up something strong as I was doing at Toyota. If you look back at Toyota, we were very close to a win – and this is what I want to reproduce and eventually try to achieve [at Lotus]. If you look at Michael [Schumacher], everyone would have said Ferrari was his last project, so it's hard to say at the moment [what the future holds]. I think I will keep driving as long as I am quick, and for as long as I want to race and have the passion to do so.”

On the subject of the record-breaking seven-time F1 World Champion, finally – the man who is making what is being billed as one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history with Mercedes Grand Prix this year – Trulli opined that there is no reason to suggest the German legend will not be capable of fighting for an incredible eighth drivers' crown.

“Why not?” the Abruzzese mused. “Being 41 is not a problem; age is just a number. He's still in very good shape, and physically and mentally I don't think he's going to have any problems. I think the only trouble he will find is returning to racing after three years – it's not that easy to get back into the same rhythm in Formula 1. I think it will take him some races before he can really begin to attack again – but that is the only issue I can see him facing.”

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
19.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Jarno Trulli (ITA), Lotus F1 Team - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
Jarno Trulli (ITA), Lotus Cosworth T127 F1 Launch, Royal Horticultural Hall, London, GBR
Jarno Trulli (ITA), Lotus Cosworth T127 F1 Launch, Royal Horticultural Hall, London, GBR
Tony Fernandes (MAS),  Jarno Trulli (ITA), Lotus Cosworth T127 F1 Launch, Royal Horticultural Hall, London, GBR
Jarno Trulli (ITA), Lotus Cosworth T127 F1 Launch, Royal Horticultural Hall, London, GBR
Lando Norris, McLaren, Honda [Credit: McLaren F1]
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Singapore Grand Prix
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
F1 Sparks
Renault F1 40 years demonstration
Renault F1 40 years demonstration
Renault F1 40 years demonstration
Renault F1 40 years demonstration

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


February 23, 2010 9:24 AM

jarno is a racer! look at his performances last year, when he raced at the front, in a car that was never fully competitive. ok, there were days when, due to strategy of the team, he slipped back, but he DEFENDED his position, which he is paid to do! in 2008, most posters (including myself) had written off button and barrichello, yet, given a superior car, they then performed above expectations. his experience will stand his team in good stead, this year, even though i dont expect exceptional results.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.