Jarno Trulli has taken the unusual - and shock - decision to announce his own departure from the Renault team, ending speculation about his future with the Enstone-based squad.

The Italian - who, despite winning this year's Monaco GP, has been tipped to feel Flavio Briatore's axe - issued a statement on the morning of the German Grand Prix, confirming that he would be on the move over the winter. Paddock rumour has recently suggested that Trulli would be come the new team-mate to Ralf Schumacher at Toyota, and today's announcement now paves the way for the Cologne-based team to confirm the move.

"I will be leaving the Renault F1 team at the end of the 2004 season," Trulli's statement read, "I am happy with this decision and feel very confident as my plans for the future are clear.

"I would like to thank everyone at Renault for the trust and support they have given me in the past three seasons, and also to thank the team for releasing me from my obligations after the final grand prix of the season. However, until that time, I remain as motivated as ever and am fully focused on the current championship. This season has been a very successful one and I intend to add more achievements for myself and the team before it is over."

Whilst many expected Mark Webber to hold the key that would unlock the driver transfer market, Trulli now appears to have stolen a march on the Australian. Should he be confirmed at Toyota, that would close one of the doors thought to be open to Webber, leaving the current Jaguar driver to decide between either Williams - where he is strongly tipped to end up - and Renault. Giancarlo Fisichella is also being linked to both teams, although the Italian has admitted that he would be happy to return to Enstone.

David Coulthard's hopes of going to Toyota would also end with Trulli's confirmation, leaving the Scot to effectively decide between going to Jaguar in place of Webber, or remaining at McLaren in a testing role, which team boss Ron Dennis has said would be open to him.