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Exclusive with Jarno Trulli - could 2006 be his (and Toyota's) year... 27 Feb 2006

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 31 January - 3 February 2006. World © Capilitan/Sutton

His 2004 Monaco victory remains the highlight of Jarno Trulli’s Formula One career. It was followed by an untimely departure from Renault. However, 18 months on the future looks bright - for Trulli and Toyota. So what is the Italian expecting in 2006?

Q: Toyota made a massive step forward last year, moving up to fourth in the standings. How much pressure is there on everyone to finally become a winning team and justify Toyota’s huge investment?
Jarno Trulli:
Anyone who is in Formula One wants to win races, so therefore we always have pressure to win races. It does not matter about budget or any other factors; we just have to focus on our achievement.

Q: New engine, new tyres, new aerodynamic package - the TF06 certainly looks like a podium contender. How do you realistically rate your chances for the first three flyaway races?
At the moment, this is very difficult to judge where we are. We have a lot of work to do and the first races will help us to determine how we have developed.

Q: During your nine years in Formula One racing you have seen several qualifying formats come and go. Are you satisfied with the 2006 system and do you think it will benefit your driving style?
Personally I feel that it is not an advantage for anyone and I find it to be rather complicated for the spectators.

Q: You have often been labelled as ‘great qualifier, average racer’. Will this be the season you prove that image wrong?
Honestly, I think that I am a good racer as well.

Q: Team mate rivalry is always a hot topic. You and Ralf Schumacher were separated by just two points last year so you look to be pretty equal. How is your relationship two weeks ahead of the new season?
The relationship between the two of us has always been and continues to be good.

Q: Your current Toyota contract expires at the end of this year and it is no secret that you have politely asked the team to make up their mind as quickly as possible regarding your future with them. What do you see as the pros and cons of continuing with Toyota beyond 2006?
I have been working two years for Toyota now and would be happy to stay. It is never an advantage to leave a team, especially when you are developing and producing promising results.