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Interview with Toyota's Jarno Trulli 26 Jul 2007

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF107 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2007 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF107.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2007 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2007 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF107.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2007 (L to R): Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota talks with Pascal Vasselon (FRA) Toyota Chassis Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2007

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli is not accustomed to finishing a race in last place, as he did at the Nurburgring on Sunday. But then again, by anyone’s standards the European Grand Prix was an extraordinary race.

Speaking to the team’s press office, Trulli reflects on what was actually a pretty positive weekend for the Japanese squad, and looks forward to the forthcoming round in Hungary…

Q: Jarno, we don’t see too many races like that, do we?
Jarno Trulli:
No, thankfully! It was certainly a dramatic race. In situations like that, things can work for you or against you and I always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Q: A man starting on the back row leading his first Grand Prix by 33 seconds after four laps showed what can happen in those conditions?
I think the amount of risk you are prepared to take depends on how much you have to lose. If you qualify on the front half of the grid most people tend to keep a close eye on what the others are doing and on the grid at Nurburgring the rain had not started so everybody started on dry tyres. We knew rain was expected but you can easily destroy the wet tyres if you have to run on a dry track. For Markus Winkelhock though, it was worth the gamble of putting wet tyres on and when it rained straight away it worked out for him. His bad luck was that it rained so hard that lots of cars went off and the race had to be suspended. And that was bad for me, too.

Q: What was the sequence of events for you?
From eighth on the grid I had a strong first lap and was running well in fifth. You cannot know what the weather is going to do and that was the problem. I was one of just seven cars that didn’t pit for wet tyres at the end of the first lap. You never know if it’s going to be a shower or heavier rain but this time it rained properly and that second lap on dry tyres was very, very difficult. It was all I could do to keep the car on the circuit. That cost me quite a bit of time and as soon as I went out again it started raining so hard that the extreme wet tyres were more suitable so I pitted again immediately. That cost me more time but I would have been in good shape because most people were on the wet Bridgestone Potenza tyre rather than the extreme wet tyre at that stage. Unfortunately though, when so many cars went off at the first corner the race was suspended and I’d lost a lot of time stopping twice, which meant that when we restarted there were only two cars behind me. Finally, when I pitted for tyres after the re-start, we had a delay in the pits. The combination of circumstances meant that I was too far behind to make an impact, which was a shame because we had looked quite strong earlier in the weekend.

Q: How had qualifying been?
It was okay and both myself and Ralf (Schumacher) did a good job, putting the cars eighth and ninth on the grid. If we’d been just a 10th quicker we’d have been sixth and seventh. It’s very tight at the moment but there is work to do to catch up with the top teams.

Q: Is Toyota’s performance level stronger compared to the start of the year?
I think that recently we have performed better because, in general, the circuits we have been at have downforce levels which are optimum for the TF107.

Q: Did the red flags for Lewis Hamilton’s accident make Q3 more difficult?
As a driver you never like to see an accident but it became apparent that Lewis was okay and so it became just a question of managing the interruption and trying to make sure you had good track position. You have to re-focus the mind but we’re used to jumping in the car and doing a hot lap.

Q: How much confidence do you have, looking ahead?
I still have confidence in the car and the team. Obviously Nurburgring was not a normal race but I am always confident that I can score points. The car seemed pretty good on the long runs in Germany and certainly I was a lot happier compared to my situation at Silverstone. The next race is Hungary and that demands a very different set-up. The average speed is low and we will need high downforce. That will introduce another set of factors and we will have to see how we perform.