Exclusive Q&A with Toyotas Jarno Trulli 18 Mar 2008
With both their cars making it into the final qualifying shoot-out in Melbourne on Saturday, it looked as if the Toyota team had finally made a step towards realising their long-held ambitions. But come Sunday evening, the Japanese team left Albert Park with no world championship points and a technical issue to resolve.
For driver Jarno Trulli, who had run as high as fifth during the Australian Grand Prix, the result was especially disappointing. Especially as the battery problem, which ended his race on Lap 20, remains a cause for concern ahead of this weekends Malaysian event
Q: Jarno, getting both cars into Q3 was a really positive result. The race, however, was less successful. What happened?
Jarno Trulli: I can only speak about my situation. I was running pretty well, I had a good race strategy and was running up there with the Williams and the BMWs. I had a problem with the battery from the start, so when I stopped for my regular pit stop the battery blew and left me without electricity. That was really a shame.
Q: That misfortune cost the team points and even a place on the podium
JT: Points for sure - podium Im not so sure. But at least I could have been fighting for the podium.
Q: It was a race full of calamities for many teams and you shared your DNF result with two thirds of the starting field. In terms of pace, however, it seems that Toyota is on the right track. Would you agree?
JT: Well, yes. But this battery issue worries me a bit. We are doing testing when we are at the track on Friday. And we think that we can solve the problem but it then occurs again. It is obviously in direct relation to the heat.
Q: There have never been so many drivers watching a race on the television after retiring. As well as the technical issues, several retirements were caused by driver mistakes. Do you believe that these could have been caused by the heat too?
JT: Well, I dont know if all those driver mistakes were caused by the heat. It was just a crazy race - and thats the way it was.
Q: Coming back to your own situation, Formula One racing is heading to another hot destination - Malaysia. Are you worried that the battery issue could follow you there?
JT: I am worried. I hope that we can solve the problem, but to be honest, I am a little concerned about it.
Q: With the Malaysian event taking place this weekend, is it realistic to believe that the squad can solve this problem in the near future?
JT: Well, that is surely one of the key questions. You should ask the team that!
Q: But it must be of interest to you too
JT: Well, sure I want that problem to disappear, as the next race could be even hotter than Melbourne and if the battery stays so vulnerable to heat we can say goodbye to good results.
Q: Aside from the battery issue, the fact that both cars qualified in the top ten must bode well for the teams future
JT: I would like to say that. Yes, we have made good progress with the car but it is not enough yet, we still have to push in order to make the car quicker, and in particular work better on the tyres. This is the main problem.
Q: To qualify in front of Renaults Fernando Alonso must be a cause to celebrate
JT: Yeah, its promising, but then again it is not enough. We are in the midfield battle with four or five teams where a little mistake can cost you a lot, and not making one, can gain you a lot. And this year I definitely want to be on the gaining side!