Panasonic Toyota Racing's Jarno Trulli has had a pretty tough season to date and he has only managed to finish in the points in four out of the ten races thus far. Bridgestone caught up with him for the latest Racing all over the World podcast and here he chats about his season so far, the future and lots, lots more...

Racing all over the World:
Jarno, how have you felt progress has been this season?

Jarno Trulli:
We have made quite good progress and we have proved it with some good performances. We are getting closer to the top teams, even if circumstances in the last few races haven't really shown that fully. I am pretty happy with the way the team is performing now and how it is improving. There is a lot to come still for the rest of the season and we just have to carry on pushing.

Racing all over the World:
Is Toyota really starting to get on top of the handling inconsistencies you have been suffering with this year?

JT:
I think winter time was very hard for us. We were not competitive but then we started to learn a bit more about our car and the performance was reasonable. Obviously we expect it to get better now.

Racing all over the World:
You had handling problems at Silverstone and had to retire. At the time you weren't sure what was the cause, have you been able to get any closer to figuring that out?

JT:
The team is still investigating that - sometimes it is not so easy to find the exact solution in Formula 1. We struggled all weekend with the car there, with the tyre wear and son on. There was something wrong and we are trying to understand more.

Racing all over the World:
There is only one race in Italy this season, rather than the usual two. How much are you looking forward to Monza?

JT:
Obviously with it being in Italy it is a bit special and we will have a lot of Italian support. Monza has got a special atmosphere and I am looking forward to the only Italian Grand Prix as usual.

Racing all over the World:
What areas do you have to work on for Monza? Is it a hard circuit for the car and the tyres?

JT:
It is a very different circuit compared to any other we go to. It is a very high-speed circuit. There are very long straights, so we use very low downforce. The engine plays a very important role too. Normally you have to set-up the car to be as quick as possible on the straights and as stable as possible under braking. We reach 360 kph - the maximum speed on the straights - and there are several hard braking areas, where we slow the car down to 80 kph. It is very important to have good car stability.

Racing all over the World:
You have got a bit of a reputation as a qualifying specialist. How do you manage to be so quick over a single lap?

JT:
To be honest I just do the job - there is nothing special there, I just do what I am meant to do. I probably do better than others - or the other drivers' do less better than me.

Racing all over the World:
Do you consciously manage the tyres differently when you are doing a qualifying lap, as opposed to when you are racing?

JT:
I think in qualifying you have a special feeling because everything is spot on. The tyres are brand new so you can really get the best out of the cars, out of the conditions on a single lap and obviously you have to use the tyres in a different way.

Racing all over the World:
What sort of information do you give the Bridgestone race engineers over a race weekend and how do they use that information to help you in the race itself?

JT:
Well they know the situation with the tyres very well and so once we start testing we have to report and collect the data. We then talk to them and give them the temperatures and the tyre wear. We can then get an idea of what our cars reaction is and the balance. From the tyres you can 'read' the car and so, it is very important to have good communication between the race engineer, the driver and the Bridgestone engineer because they can help us a lot in terms of choosing the right pressures, right set-up and the right direction.

Racing all over the World:
How different have you found this season with everyone running on the same Bridgestone Potenza tyres?

JT:
I think this year in general the cars are much easier to handle for everyone - even though you still have to get the best out of them and to get the best you need to be in a certain window, with regard to temperatures and general car set-up. It is better in a way. It is still a challenge for everyone and with everyone running on the same tyres, the one that gets the best set-up, does the best driving and so on, can go ahead.

Racing all over the World:
Do the tyres feel different to last year's ones? Do you have to drive in a different way now?

JT:
The tyres are very, very different from last year. I won't say you need a different driving style, but there is definitely a different way of working with them this year. They are stiffer, they are more consistent. They are very good to work with because they are so consistent and so you have a very good idea about the car, balance and all the set-up changes.

Racing all over the World:
How does that affect your approach in terms of putting in a quick lap or competing in the race as a driver?

JT:
There is not much difference there. You still have to get the best out of the car, whether it is a case of doing it on one lap or doing it over 60 laps.

Racing all over the World:
Have you enjoyed the challenge of maximising performance on both compounds during a race weekend?

JT:
Sometimes it has been a little bit difficult because it is tough to get the right set-up and balance with both compounds, especially with our car. It always seems to perform better with one compound rather than the other. That has affected us a lot with the set-up of the car and it affects our strategy.

Racing all over the World:
You were testing at Spa recently. What did you think of the changes made to the circuit there?

JT:
Spa is always the best circuit in the world and they have made several changes to the circuit. It is always a fantastic circuit. There are only a few bad points in terms of safety. Obviously Eau Rouge is still a very quick corner with very limited run-off area, as is Blanchimont. But probably the only place where really the new part hasn't been done very well is the pit entry. I believe that must be changed for the grand prix weekend in September, because it is a bit too narrow. If one car misses the entry or crashes into the wall there will be no way anyone else will be able to pit.

Racing all over the World:
Was the test there useful? What did you achieve?

JT:
It was quite successful, even if I did have a bit of a troubled day. It was a bit wet in the morning and then it dried up in the afternoon - although there were still some showers. In the end though I think we were quite competitive in terms of lap times, even if they didn't show it at times. We were mainly concentrating on race preparation and testing new bits - new aero parts which will be useful to help improve the car in the future.

Racing all over the World:
Were you working on general improvements or improvements specifically for Spa?

JT:
We just wanted to get an idea of Spa with the new V8 engine and sort general set-up and balance. We wanted to get the best out of my one day testing there, because it is a very short time.

Racing all over the World:
Looking to the races ahead, what do you think can be achieved by the end of this season?

JT:
It is always difficult to make any prediction but we believe we can improve from where we are. We have to get the best out of the car. We need to improve our performance and I am sure that by the end of the season we will get closer to the top.

Racing all over the World:
What are your long term plans for Formula 1 over the next two-three seasons?

JT:
Well obviously I am staying with Toyota because for me it is a big challenge. I really want to give Toyota their first victory in Formula 1. I have given them the first pole and the first podium and so I am really looking forward. I want to try and get the first win as soon as possible and then eventually the championship. There is a lot of potential here. We have great resources and I think we can do the job.

Racing all over the World:
When you do eventually retire from Formula 1 do you think you will carry on racing for fun and go and do other things in motorsport or will you retire purely to your wine making?

JT:
I am only 33 years old. I feel very young to be honest. There is still a lot of time to think about it. I still have a lot to give to Formula 1 and to receive from Formula 1. At the moment the vineyards and the wine is a big passion, which I carry on with my family. My father looks after it and I help also.

Racing all over the World:
Final question, on Robert Kubica's crash in Canada. Obviously it was a big one. How difficult is it to put things like that out of your mind when you race?

JT:
To be honest it was a shock - but once we knew why it had happened, we just forget about it. We know that Formula 1 is dangerous but we don't think about it. We know what to do and what not to do. The rest is just natural for us. We don't feel scared. If we did feel afraid we wouldn't be able to be race in Formula 1.

To listen to the latest Bridgestone Formula 1 podcast simply visit www.bridgestonemotorsport.com. Alternatively click here.

 

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