Whilst stopping short of confirming that he will stay on-board for a second consecutive campaign, despite having endured a season that he admits was at times 'pretty bad compared to what I was used to' with F1 2010 newcomer Lotus Racing this year, Jarno Trulli has strongly hinted that he will remain with the Anglo/Malaysian operation into 2011.
Although Lotus ended proceedings as the best of the three new outfits on the grand prix grid, for a man more accustomed to doing battle for pole position and the podium, it has been quite a comedown for the Italian – and certainly a culture shock.
Although he ably proved that his raw pace remains undimmed by setting 'pole position' amongst the new teams in qualifying more than any other driver, Trulli's efforts on race day were persistently hampered by a succession of reliability woes – with his T127 seeming to bear the brunt of the team's bad luck in comparison with that of evenly-matched team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.
Pinpointing a feisty performance in the penultimate outing at Interlagos as a rare highlight – even though he took the chequered flag a lowly 19th following further issues – what is indisputable is that Trulli's wealth of experience from 14 seasons of top flight competition played a key role in driving Lotus forward over the course of the campaign, and whilst he has not yet been officially announced for 2011, it seems all-but certain that he will be.
“I'll go to the factory in a few days to get ready and prepare the 2011 season chassis, cockpit and seat,” the 36-year-old Abruzzese told BBC Radio Norfolk
. “Then I will probably have a break with my family, just relaxing.
“In the end I was happy with , even though it was a tough season. It's really hard to find a highlight for me, but Brazil was a great weekend, nearly a smooth weekend for me. I qualified well, [and] unfortunately during the race I had another failure, but my pace was unbelievably quick. At the end of the season, I found something in the set-up and car characteristics that gave me a good step in terms of performance.
“You've got to have the motivation to push harder, no matter where you are at the end of a lap. Some performances have been pretty bad compared to what I was used to, but nevertheless, I have always tried to get the best out of myself and the car [and] I've still enjoyed a lot of good fights.”