Q&A with Toyotas with Jarno Trulli 20 Sep 2007
Despite starting a promising eighth on the grid, Toyotas Jarno Trulli endured a disappointing Belgian Grand Prix eventually finishing down in 11th. After failing to score points for a seventh consecutive race, Trulli is hoping his luck will change as he heads to his team's home race at the Fuji Speedway.
Here, the Italian weighs up his weekend in Spa and reflects on the impact traffic and strategy may have had on his performance
Q: Jarno what is your reaction to the Belgian Grand Prix?
Jarno Trulli: It was very disappointing to start eighth and finish 11th. Spa is a great circuit and I really enjoy driving there. The car felt well balanced throughout practice and qualifying. My time was ninth fastest but I started eighth because Robert Kubica had a 10-place grid penalty after an engine change. The fight directly behind the top three teams was very tight, as usual. We were missing the tenth or two which would have helped us challenge the top six in qualifying but I was still confident that I could score points from eighth.
Q: What went wrong?
JT: I was on the dirtier side of the grid and someone came down the inside, locked up and I had to go around the outside to avoid being in an accident. There was nothing I could do about it and that put me behind cars that were on a different strategy. I was directly behind David Coulthard after the first lap and he did not stop until Lap 25 - well over half distance. I was on a two-stop race and pitted for the first time on Lap 14, so I was not able to run at my proper pace in the first stint.
Q: Did you feel you lost a lot of time in traffic?
JT: Yes I was able to lap much faster. It was really frustrating because when you have to follow a heavier car for a whole stint you lose so much time that you cant recover but we didnt seem to have the straight-line speed so it was not possible to overtake the cars ahead. If you look at my fastest race lap, which I set on the penultimate lap, it was the seventh best of the race, within a second of the Ferrari pace and quicker than two of the drivers who scored points. So that shows we had the potential to get a better result. Its frustrating to lose a good opportunity at the first corner.
Q: What is it that drivers like so much about Spa?
JT: There are lots of things. There are the changes of elevation for a start, which is quite unusual and obviously pretty dramatic through Eau Rouge. When people see that for the first time, especially if they have only seen it on TV, they cant quite believe it. And then, considering the circuit as a whole, it is fast and challenging and you really feel that the cars are at the limit. You get into a rhythm and its a really satisfying track to drive - but not if you are stuck in traffic.
Q: What are your thoughts heading for the final three flyaway races?
JT: Really, what I am thinking is that in the second half of the season, our true pace has been reasonably competitive but we havent been able to come away with the results. Obviously I would like to put that right, starting with Fuji, Toyota s home race. We have seen that we are capable of scoring points but the fight is so close in the midfield that you have to run a nearly perfect race. Everyone has been working just as hard as they always have and I would like the team to see some reward before we go into the winter test programme and turn our thoughts to 2008. If that could start at Fuji, in front of the Japanese fans, it would be great.
Q: Are you looking forward to Fuji?
JT: It will be interesting. I always enjoyed racing at Suzuka but Fuji Speedway is a very historic circuit and its great to be going there. Im looking forward to it. As always with a circuit that is new on the schedule it will be a case of gathering data and analysing it efficiently on Friday and Saturday to give us the best possible base for the race. I enjoy the challenge of a new circuit and I am very motivated for the next race.