Alain Prost has laid claim to driver Jarno Trulli for next season, in order to fend off advances from other teams.

Prost, aware that Ferrari is keen to tempt the Italian to Maranello should Eddie Irvine decide to leave at the end of the season, has made it clear that Trulli is contracted to his team for 1999, which also has an option on his services for 2000. The Italian was linked to Williams over the winter, but lost out to Ralf Schumacher in the race to partner Alex Zanardi.

Prost also said that he would not succumb to to lure of megabucks for his rising star, despite his desire to make the former ligier team one of the best in Formula One.

"I know very well that several people are interested in Trulli," Prost admitted, "but he has an option with me for 2000, and it is up to me to exercise that. I have no intention of giving it up. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't accept money when I believe in something. Trulli stays with me."


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