Looking back over a trying campaign in the top flight with F1 2010 newcomer Lotus Racing, Italian veteran Jarno Trulli has reflected that he 'knew the year was over' right from his very first test in the Cosworth-powered T127 – and that his sole source of motivation as the months passed by was to think of next season.
As one of the three new teams to join the grand prix grid in 2010 – in company with Virgin and Hispania (HRT) – Lotus was operating on a far lesser budget than any of the sport's more established competitors, and as such languished at the rear of the field waging its own private war with its two fellow new boys season-long.
It was a war that the Anglo/Malaysian outfit ultimately won – with Heikki Kovalainen's twelfth place in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka assuring Lotus of tenth spot in the final constructors' standings – and Trulli himself was on average the fastest qualifier of any of the new team drivers, but the 36-year-old has confessed that after being accustomed to doing battle for podiums and pole positions with such as Renault and Toyota, to enter each race knowing that even a points finish was an unlikely outcome was somewhat difficult to acclimatise to.
With poor reliability seeming to afflict his car in particular, the only thing that kept him going, the Abruzzese conceded, was the prospect of better times ahead in 2011, when Renault engines and a Red Bull Technology gearbox and hydraulics package should help to vault Lotus – or whatever it ends up being called – a little way up the pecking order.
“At the first test, it was obvious what the facts were,” the former Monaco Grand Prix-winner told Dutch magazine formule1.nl
. “I knew the year was over, and the only way to keep motivation was to count down to next season. Of course I expected a difficult season in terms of performance, but not so much on the reliability side. By the end, I was used to it. What can you do? Getting angry doesn't help.
“It was important to beat the other newcomers to finish tenth in the world championship, so it doesn't matter if you're not performing as you want or are tired of the hydraulics failing – the team comes first. Anyway, the season is over now. I managed to motivate myself until the last race, and I'm really looking forward to 2011.”