Toyotas Jarno Trulli: a man of many passions 04 Sep 2007
Jarno Trulli is rightly regarded as one of the fastest drivers in Formula One racing, but there is more to the Toyota star than his artistry behind the wheel. Trulli lives in the public eye, courtesy of his success in motorsport, but the Italian enjoys success off the track as well as on it, with a young family and a growing wine business.
Trullis first passion is motorsport and he has devoted his life to his art. His supreme pace over one lap is legendary, particularly in qualifying, but he is also a committed racer who has helped Toyota move closer to the front.
After a rapid rise through junior racing, Trulli made his Formula One debut as a fresh-faced - and fearsomely fast - youngster. It all began after he was inspired to aim for the top as a small boy. He explains: I was four or five, quite young and a Formula One car arrived in my home town as part of a show, it was standing there and obviously I just wanted to touch it and sit on it. That was my first contact with Formula One.
My Formula One career started pretty young, when I was 22, at the Minardi team back in 1997. That was good because for the first time I drove a Formula One car in a Grand Prix race in Australia and that was a great moment.
Since then, Trulli has spent a decade at the top of his game, tasting the joy of victory, as well as several pole and podium positions. He has also experienced fulfillment away from the race track, with his young family that includes wife Barbara and sons Enzo (two years-old) and Marco (10 months).
A happy home life is the perfect escape from the hectic Formula One lifestyle and Trulli winds down by relaxing with his family in their house in St Moritz, Switzerland.
It is very important because obviously when you come back from racing or testing I want to relax and sit with my family, he explains. When you first get back, it is always difficult because there is jet lag and a lot of things to sort out but it is important to spend time with your family.
I think I just see the life in a different way. We all have different personalities and having a family doesnt really change you too much, but you do understand a bit more about certain things.
With a young family of his own, Trulli is conscious of the needs of others, in particular children, and he has given his support to the United Nations World Food Programme. In 2004, he took part in a television campaign, urging people to support the charity, which fights hunger throughout the world. He has a simple message: Join the team, give to the World Food Programme.
For the Italian, family life also extends to his other business - wine. He adds: My region is rich in vineyards, we have a long culture and passion for wine. Together with my father we started the old business of my grandfather. It is very different from Formula One and I am enjoying it.
For us its a completely natural thing to do. When my father suggested we do something away from racing I thought why not do that? It just made sense. We bought some land and we started the business together with some close friends.
In 2000, Trulli bought the vineyard in the Podere Castorani region of Italy. Although racing keeps him away from its day-to-day running, the 33 year-old has trusted help in the shape of his father Enzo. Together, they have expanded production from around 18,000 bottles a year, to an impressive 600,000, and like the man who lends his name to the best bottle, it travels far and wide.
The year 2000 vintage was our first season, Trulli says. It was also a really good season. It was strange for me to drink a bottle of my own wine but I was happy because it was produced from my land and my passion.
It is a really good feeling, especially when people appreciate the wine. In the beginning, I was very careful and tried not to get carried away but now when I hear people say it is a good product I am very proud. It is great because when I travel around the world to Australia, or to Canada and many other places I find my wine!
Trulli is a man of many passions and he has not lost track of his roots in motorsport. Karting is a discipline which sets many a racer on the road to Formula One glory, Trulli included, and nowadays many youngsters start their career in a Trulli kart, courtesy of the Italians business.
His primary passion remains Formula One racing and, like wine producing, that requires every element in the process to work in perfect unison. As a committed team player, Trulli knows the important role his hard-working mechanics play in his own success, saying: It is a strong relationship between a driver and his mechanics. Dont forget that our life is in their hands.
They work very hard on my car, they make very few mistakes and they have done a good job. There is a strong relationship between us. I must admit I see them during the season more than my family because we spend more time together. We get on well, sometimes we go out for dinner, we laugh, we smile and sometimes we cry together, but that is part of the job.