Jarno Trulli magnanimously accepted responsibility for his accident with Heikki Kovalainen on the opening lap of last weekend's French Grand Prix, promising he would do his best to make amends at Silverstone in a week's time.

The Italian had lined up a strong eighth on the grid - his seventh top ten qualifying effort from eight starts this year - but it all went wrong just yards into the race when he left his braking too late as the pack closed up into the tight Adelaide hairpin for the first time and T-boned the Renault, damaging his front wing and suspension in the impact and hastening his retirement from the race.

"It was a racing accident," Trulli acknowledged. "The field was very bunched up on the first lap, and to be honest I just misjudged it going into the hairpin. I wasn't attacking anyone; I simply braked too late and hit Kovalainen. I am really sorry for him because it spoiled his race, and mine as well. Unfortunately I just made a mistake.

"I got back to the pits but there was no way for us to continue. It's a real shame because I was confident we had a good strategy and I expected to score points, but the next race is very soon and with everyone in the team working so hard I am sure we will get a better result at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix."

Indeed, Toyota left Magny-Cours empty-handed as team-mate Ralf Schumacher was delayed by the ensuing m?l?e, dropping back behind a tardy Rubens Barrichello for the whole of his opening stint. Despite setting strong lap times once he found himself some clear air, the German was unable to better tenth spot at the chequered flag, a one-place improvement on his qualifying performance.

"The race went quite well apart from the first lap," the 32-year-old stated. "It's a shame we didn't score points because our pace was competitive. The circumstances on the first lap, when Jarno hit Kovalainen at the hairpin, were unfortunate for me. I couldn't go anywhere and lost a couple of positions as everyone tried to get through the corner safely so I was a bit unlucky. I was a lot quicker than Barrichello but I couldn't overtake.

"From there on the race was difficult and I lost 20 seconds before my first pit-stop, but we kept fighting and put some good lap times in, which showed our potential. We are continuously developing the car and I'm sure we will make more progress to improve it. Silverstone is a different track and a new race. We had a good test there recently so I hope to score some points."

New team principal Tadashi Yamashina remained nevertheless encouraged by the squad's showing over the weekend, even if he was aware the results did not necessarily bear that promise out.

"The result is not actually that good but there are two or three better things," the Japanese remarked. "One is the competitive performance from Ralf, especially over long runs when he was not held up in traffic. His performance was very good and you could see from his lap times that we had the pace to finish much higher. Unfortunately he lost places after Jarno's accident; without that he would have scored points.

"I am sure Jarno would have scored points too. Another positive was that our launch at the start was good. Clearly Jarno hit Kovalainen but he was challenging for a top six place and I am very glad to see him racing at that end of the grid. Finally, we had no reliability issues, the cars ran without major trouble all weekend and the team did a very good job. I am proud of them."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...