Jarno Trulli has stated that he is due a strong season in Formula 1 in 2009 after suffering more than his fair share of misfortune in the past - and has revealed that it is his 'dream' to deliver Toyota the company's maiden grand prix victory, a target he believes is achievable this year.

The experienced Italian - now a veteran of almost 200 starts in the top flight - enjoyed arguably his finest campaign since his 1997 debut last year, proving to be a regular points-contender, putting his car on the front two rows of the grid on no fewer than four occasions and claiming the Cologne-based concern's first rostrum finish in 40 outings when he came home third in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, poignantly just days after the death of popular former Toyota F1 team principal Ove Andersson.

It was, Trulli acknowledges, a strong season - and he is now looking to have an even stronger one in 2009, during which he eyes the possibility of breaking the Japanese manufacturer's duck in the sport and standing atop the podium for the first time in five years.

"I am having a lot of fun at the moment," the man from Pescara affirmed at the launch of the team's new TF109 challenger today, "and I am really happy to be a Toyota driver in Formula 1. It is very rewarding to see the progress we have made and to feel part of such a positive change.

"Obviously, racing is more fun when you have a competitive car and you are fighting at the front, so I enjoyed last season a lot, but it doesn't change my motivation because I am always fighting for the best possible result, whatever that is. We are looking strong and I believe, after all the bad luck I have had in the past, I am due some pay back!

"I expect Toyota to be competitive again. Beyond that I cannot say; we will have to wait and see what the first few races hold. I am a very confident person and I am always optimistic so again this season I have high hopes, but I know from my experience that whatever I say in the winter doesn't really count for much when the season starts - the important thing is what we do on the track.

"I hope we can build on the progress we showed in 2008 and challenge for the team's first win. Formula 1 is a team game - you win and lose together, and Toyota did a very good job last year which allowed me to be competitive and fight at the front. I am full of hope for this season.

"You need to build strong foundations before you can win. It is like a house; you cannot start by building the roof. We have established the foundations and I believe we can build a winning team. In 2008 we made a huge improvement and took a big step in the right direction, so I hope now this year we can be a top team.

"I hope I can fight for Toyota's first victory - that is my dream. Formula 1 is extremely competitive at the moment, so I expect this season to be exciting and very interesting. I am looking forward to it [and] I am confident in my own ability, so if I am given a competitive car I know I can deliver the results."

Trulli also expressed his delight at continuing his working relationship with team-mate Timo Glock for a second consecutive season, describing the young German former GP2 Series Champion as 'a fast driver and a nice guy'. The harmony between the pair was praised by Toyota management last year as one of the key factors in driving the team forward.

"It's great to be working with Timo again this year," he enthused. "We had a lot of fun last year together and we achieved a lot in terms of improving car performance. We have a good relationship and I'm sure we will build on that this year.

"He's a fast driver and a nice guy so I'm looking forward to see what we can achieve this year. Timo and I are capable of delivering strong results if the car is competitive, so I hope we have the chance to fight at the front this season."

What are different in 2009, however - and significantly so - are the sport's technical regulations, with the TF109 looking drastically different to its predecessor [see separate story - click here] in a hefty push by governing body the FIA to both severely reduce costs whilst at the same time improving the on-track spectacle so as to maintain fans' interest.

As a self-confessed purist, Trulli admits he is eagerly anticipating the return of non-grooved rubber - and hopes the changes produce the desired effect in terms of facilitating overtaking and spicing up the show.

"I am very pleased to be racing on slick tyres again," the Abbruzzese confirmed, "because they give more feel to a driver and they are much more fun to drive with than the grooves. I am very much looking forward to trying out a new set of slicks on a flying lap in qualifying; that will be great fun!

"It is a big change, and whenever you make a change like this it is impossible to predict how it will affect each team. Toyota has the capability to adapt to these regulations as well or better than any other team, so I am hoping it will give us a good opportunity. You can say I am cautiously optimistic.

"One thing is for sure - there will be bigger gaps between teams next season and bigger fluctuations in performance. It was so close last year because we had a period of quite stable rules, but always when you make a big change the grid is spread out more, so I expect that will be the case this year.

"They (the new regulations) should make overtaking easier, but that would not be very difficult as it was nearly impossible in the last few years! You had to be really committed and a lot faster to attack another car; it was possible and I made several good moves last season, but it was far from easy.

"We won't know until we are racing in Australia if the rule change really works as they have planned, but I can understand the logic and I hope it works. I really enjoy fighting on the track and it can be frustrating when you are quicker than the car in front but just cannot get past because the aero makes such a difference. Whatever happens, I do not expect overtaking will be easy because we are racing with the best drivers in the world - and it can never be easy to overtake."

That much is true, but despite being one of F1's elder statesmen now at 34, Trulli's passion, motivation and desire to succeed - to say nothing of his raw qualifying speed and superb racecraft - clearly remain undimmed. He may be approaching the twilight of his grand prix career, but he still has plenty of goals to accomplish.

"First of all, I don't think in terms of age or how many grands prix I have competed in," he reasoned. "They are just numbers, and I am not really interested in numbers. The fact is, I love driving, I love competing and I love the challenge of Formula 1. This sport is the focus of my life and I am completely dedicated to it.

"Nowadays in Formula 1 the competition is so close and it is so difficult to get everything exactly right that you have to be totally committed if you are going to succeed. Being a fast driver is not enough now; a Formula 1 driver needs to be completely motivated and committed, and I am.

"I still have plenty of things I want to achieve in Formula 1, but my dream now is to win the first race for Toyota. I have spent longer racing for Toyota in Formula 1 than any other driver, and I have seen the huge progress that has been made since I joined in 2004. It has been a long journey and we have had ups and downs, but we have never given up or lost faith. It was fantastic to be back on the podium again last year, as well as leading several races, and my target is to enjoy more of those moments."


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