A race weekend with Jarno Trulli 05 Aug 2008
After 12 years as a Formula One driver, and with 192 Grand Prix starts and eight podium finishes under his belt, Toyotas Jarno Trulli is an old pro when it comes to his race routine. We caught up with Trulli in Hungary, following Sunday's event, to find out about his time in Budapest and discover a little more about how he likes to spend his time in the office over a race weekend
Q: We were in Budapest this weekend, what do you associate with this circuit?
Jarno Trulli: Heat and dust. Most of the time - I only can remember one race, some years ago, when it was surprisingly cool - it is really, really hot here and the track is usually quite dusty because it isnt used very often. That means that if you go off line you lose a lot of time. Still, its a track that I like and Ive enjoyed many good races here.
Q: You dont take to the track until Friday morning, but when do you like to fly in?
JT: For European races like Hungary I try to arrive on Thursday morning. That means I am able to spend as much time as possible with my family. Obviously for the flyaway races it is better to spend a little time in the country before to acclimatise, so I arrive a day or two earlier.
Q: Do you make an effort to discover your surroundings at a race, or do you stick to the airport-hotel-track-airport itinerary?
JT: To be honest, its not really possible to see much of the city when we are here in Budapest because I am so busy at the track. When I arrive on Thursday, I go directly to the track to meet with my engineers and do some media work and I am busy from that moment on. In the evening maybe I have the chance to have a meal in the city but I am here to race so I dont like to stay up late. That means sightseeing is out of the question but this is my 12th season coming to Budapest so I have seen a decent amount of the city over the years.
Q: Whats your exercise regime over a race weekend? Does it vary according to the race location, demands of the circuit etc?
JT: I dont do any intensive exercise during the race weekend because there isnt the time and I am already in good shape from my training away from the track. But, depending on the circuit, I might go for a run around the track on Thursday night, or even take my rollerblades out and have a go on them.
Q: Whats your preferred accommodation at races - city hotel, hotel near the circuit, your own motorhome near the paddock?
JT: I like to have a good hotel near the circuit so the travelling time is as small as possible.
Q: Anything you have to have provided in your hotel room or any luxuries you always bring with you from home?
JT: I dont have any fancy tastes so Im quite an easy guest! I have everything I need so I dont normally ask for anything special, but an internet connection helps.
Q: Do you enjoy entertaining friends and family during a race weekend?
JT: Normally my family stay at home during the race weekend because I dont have much time to spend with them. I am always completely focused on racing when I am at the track so its not the best environment to bring my wife and children to. Sometimes I have friends at a Grand Prix and in that case its nice to spend a little bit of time with them, maybe have dinner together or whatever.
Q: Do you get the chance to go out and socialize on Friday and Saturday night?
JT: Not really, no. Often I have PR or marketing commitments, such as media dinners, that kind of thing, or I may need to stay late at the track with my engineers to study data from the car and decide what to do next. If I have the spare time, I prefer to relax, perhaps have a quiet meal but nothing too lively.
Q: Any drivers you particularly like hanging out with?
JT: For most drivers the weekend is really busy and usually we dont stay in the same hotels, so its hard to spend time together. If I get the chance, I like to catch up with my old team mate Fernando Alonso.
Q: Your favourite race for nightlife?
JT: Im not really a nightlife sort of person!
Q: Whats the best night out youve had at a Grand Prix? And have you ever overslept the next morning?
JT: Sometimes you do get the chance to have some fun - but only really ever after the race and as long as youre not flying out the same evening. Ive had some good meals out. The first place that springs to mind is the Le Latini restaurant in Montreal. And no, Im always early for appointments so I never oversleep!
Q: What do you have for breakfast on a race Sunday?
JT: I dont have any breakfast on a Sunday but instead I have an early lunch of pasta at around 10am.
Q: How much do you drink over a race weekend? And what?
JT: For a hot race like Hungary you have to be careful to drink a lot of fluid. My doctor provides me with a mineral drink which has everything in it that my body needs. I dont know exactly how much but in a hot climate it is many, many litres because re-hydration is very important.
Q: How do you spend the morning on race Sunday?
JT: I try to relax as much as possible but thats not always easy. I usually have an appearance to make at the Paddock Club or at the merchandise booth, then theres the drivers parade and I also spend time with my engineers discussing the coming race. If I get the chance I also like to catch some of the GP2 race.
Q: How do you like to get to the circuit on Sunday morning? Do you drive yourself?
JT: I prefer not to drive myself so usually my manager will drive me, although at some races, like Turkey and China, we have our own driver.
Q: How do you like to spend the hour or so before the race? Any superstitions or pre-race rituals you always go through to bring you luck?
JT: I have a short sleep and then I do some stretches and get into my overalls in time to take the car to the grid 30 minutes before the race starts. I dont have any superstitions but I generally go to the bathroom soon after I have taken the car to the grid - I find that is a good strategy!
Q: Do you have a lucky charm?
Q: What do you do to stay calm as youre sat on the grid awaiting the formation lap?
JT: I have a programme of mental exercises which I do all year round with the team doctor, Dr Ceccarelli, so I am well prepared for this moment. I just try to think about what I am doing and try not to make any mistakes on the formation lap, because if you are not concentrating then you never know what can happen.
Q: How do you wind down after the race?
JT: Thats quite easy. I talk to my engineers and we discuss what happened, then after that, the race for me is finished and I dont worry about it; my focus is on the next race. I take a shower and change into more comfortable clothes, and then I am calm. I just have a chat to my manager and any friends at the track and probably I am a bit hungry so I will eat something.
Q: If things dont go your way and you retire early, do you prefer to get away as soon as possible, or hang out and watch the rest of the race?
JT: If that happens I stay at the track and watch the rest of the race. That way I have the chance to do a proper debrief with my engineers when the race has finished.