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.”