Q&A with Toyotas Jarno Trulli 30 Sep 2005
Ahead of Toyota's home race, Jarno Trulli talks about Japan and its famous fans, and gives his thoughts on the teams 2005 season, which is likely to see them finish fourth in the constructors championship in only their fourth year of Formula One racing.
Q: Are you looking forward to going to Japan for Toyota?
Jarno Trulli: I actually really like racing in Japan. Suzuka is a great circuit to drive and it was in Japan last year where I took a 'provisional pole' for Toyota when we had both of the sessions on Sunday morning before the race. That was when we were expecting a typhoon in the Suzuka region and it was decided to abandon the Saturday. We had the very unusual situation of all the drivers hanging around at the Circuit Hotel waiting for a storm that never came. But I suppose it was better than being wise after the event! And we got a chance to do some bowling and have a meal together.
Q: What is so special about Suzuka?
JT: It is sweeping and fast and you have to have both good rhythm and strong commitment. The Esses in sector are a challenge to the drivers and the 130R bend, although slightly modified now, is still very fast.
Q: Do the Japanese fans have a special affinity with the sport?
JT: They seem to. The race used to be even better-attended than it is now and I think that they used to receive something like six times as many requests as they had tickets, so they held a kind of ballot to see who got them. I remember seeing fans sleeping outside on tables in the pouring rain to be guaranteed a good place to watch.
Q: When will you go to Japan?
JT: I arrive on the Tuesday before the race, which will give me some time to adjust to the different time zones. It is actually quite tough because after Brazil, which is five hours behind Europe, I go back to Spain to test this week at Jerez, before heading on to Japan, which is eight hours the other way. With all the travelling it is important to try to eat at the correct times, sleep at the correct times and keep the body well hydrated to minimise the effects of jet lag and changing time zones.
Q: With just the far eastern races remaining, how do you assess your season?
JT: It has been extremely good. Over the last few races we were hoping to challenge Ferrari for third place in the constructors championship because there was no doubt we had the capability. But things haven't quite gone our way. Overall though, the season has been better than I could have expected and I'd say the highlight was the second place at race two in Malaysia and then repeating it in Bahrain.
Q: What did you think of the way the championship was won?
JT: It seems a long time since we have had a different world champion, it was almost as if Michael Schumacher had taken over private ownership of the title! I think Fernando Alonso has driven a very good season. Both he and his team have shown very strong reliability and consistency and, as my old team mate of course, I'd like to offer him my sincere congratulations!
Q: What does Toyota need to do to challenge for the title?
JT: More of the same, I'd say. We made very significant progress this year to be challenging for a top three finish in the manufacturers' championship and you have to remember that the team is still relatively young. We will have done four seasons at the end of this year and if you add to together the collective experience of Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, it comes to almost 125 years!