Jarno Trulli is convinced that after a troubled opening half to the season with Team Lotus, he is now firmly back on-track and 'in control of the situation' in F1 2011 – and insisting that he is 'not panicking' about his future, he has hinted at an announcement 'in the next weeks'.
Trulli endured a torrid first nine outings of the current campaign, finding himself out-qualified eight-one by team-mate Heikki Kovalainen – and this, worse still, for a renowned single-lap specialist – and enjoying little good fortune in the races, either.
Struggling woefully to gain any feeling or feedback from the power steering on the Renault-powered T128 and consequently unable to push the car to its limits, the nadir, he confesses, came in the British Grand Prix, after which he was 'rested' for the following German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in favour of reserve driver Karun Chandhok – a move viewed by many as a warning to raise his game or face losing his seat altogether.
However, a new power steering system for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring has left the veteran Italian much happier and much more 'motivated' now looking forwards – so much so, that he has even raised the prospect of a prolonged future with Lotus into 2012.
“The worst was at Silverstone,” the 37-year-old is quoted as having said by supersport.com
. “I was totally lost. I stepped into the car and I didn't know where I was or where the limit was. I was trying to feel it, but I didn't have any feeling. I was not in control of it, and sometimes you ask questions, 'is it me?' and you start to have these question marks.
“It's a much better feeling now. They did a good job with the new power steering system, which is giving me the exact feeling with the car. I think we can still improve the system, but the feeling is okay. For the first time this season, I started working with the car and changing many things because many things were becoming very clear for me. It's totally another world. The way I drive is totally different. Before, I was a passenger in the car. I just hope now that I can build up my confidence day-after-day and move on.
“It's, let's say, not my fault, but my driving style. I'm extremely precise. This has been my weakness and also my strength, and when we had the [old] power steering, the feeling I was getting was not the real one. What was happening with the car was not [what] was transmitting to me. Because I'm so precise, I was reacting to something that was not true, so I was basically chasing something that was not real. I'm not going to say that I'm going to fly now, but I'm in control of the situation.
“As I always say, I'm not panicking about my future because first I have to be quick and second I have to be motivated. Now, it all looks very different for me; everything looks brighter. I'm not really looking at the future; I want to build up from now, and whatever will be, will be.
“Some announcement will be made probably in the next weeks, but at the moment, I'm happy with the way it is and I just want to focus on my job and the team and my results. I want to enjoy what I'm doing, because I wasn't enjoying it much before.”