by Russell Atkins


Jarno Trulli is feeling 'positive and confident' ahead of the 2008 Formula 1 campaign, as Toyota strives to rediscover the sort of form that propelled it to a pole position, five podium finishes and fourth place in the 2005 constructors' world championship.

Since then, the Japanese manufacturer has flattered to deceive in the top flight, despite possessing what is believed to be the biggest budget of any team in the sport. Indeed, last year it notched up a mere 13 points, less than a sixth of its 2005 tally. Trulli is convinced, however, that a corner has now finally been turned.

"I feel positive and confident," he enthused, speaking exclusively to Radio at the launch of the new TF108 at Toyota's Cologne motorsport headquarters. "We have a brand new car, the team has been working hard over the winter time to solve all the problems we had last year and it's a new season, so there's new motivation.

"We expected from 2005 to move forwards; instead we didn't move much, which was a shame because we had been doing great things. Nonetheless, I really believe that just as we showed great performance in 2005, we can be capable of doing the same even as soon as 2008. You must always be motivated and ready to fight."

The 33-year-old dismissed any notion of the squad being under any greater pressure in 2008 given its chronic lack of results last season, and insisted the overall performance level in 2007 was perhaps less bleak than the final outcome made it appear.

"There's always pressure every year," he underlined. "It doesn't matter if you do well or badly; every year we talk about pressure. We all have responsibilities, we are all here to win and we all would like to win, so it's up to us to make the best with what we have.

"The car was slightly better in qualifying [in 2007], but our race pace was competitive too, especially in certain conditions. The fact we didn't score as many points as we expected to after qualifying was due to other problems, and particularly at the starts we were not so great. When you lose positions at the start it's difficult to make them back up again afterwards because the midfield battle is so tight.

"I'm now really looking forward to finding out what kind of improvements we have made, compared to the other teams too. Obviously everyone has been working hard in order to make their car quicker; we just hope we have made a better job of it."

Effusively in favour of the ban on electronic aids such as traction control - a move which he believes will re-focus the emphasis on driver skill - Trulli is evidently eagerly anticipating his first laps in the new car at Jerez this weekend and, after that, he hopes, a return to action towards the front of the field.

"I'm looking forward to having a quick, competitive car," he summarised. "At the moment it would just be nice to have a better car than last year in order to perform always in the points. Podiums are always welcome too, but let's fix the targets later on."




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