Exclusive interview - Toyotas Jarno Trulli 13 Sep 2008
Toyota have quietly raised their game of late to lie fourth in the constructors championship standings. But given that neither Spa last weekend nor Monza this are particularly well suited to the TF108, the question is can they defend that position with Renault breathing down their necks? Jarno Trulli is confident that they can, even under such intense pressure. The Italian says it will be essential for both cars to score points, but he believes that team mate Timo Glock is more than up to the job
Q: Jarno, Spa must have been very disappointing for you. You no doubt had a better result in mind than 16th
Jarno Trulli: Well, it was one of those races that started in a great way but unfortunately finished after the first corner. After Bourdais hit me my car was damaged and the gearbox did not work. At the start I managed to be third from P11! So the race that very moment looked very good, and with a one-stop strategy we could have achieved a great result. It was not meant to be. That was a shame.
Q: In the prior couple of races it had looked as though Toyota had got back to where they wanted to be - and then came Spa. Neither car made Q3 - something that hadnt happened in quite a long time. Was it the car, temperatures, tyres, the track - or a combination of them all?
JT: Looking at Spa in an overall view, both the car and the circuit did not suit us very well. Its a high-speed circuit, with very low downforce with cold conditions, which are the three factors that are not really supporting our cars characteristics.
Q: Despite the difficult Spa weekend, Toyota still managed to retain P4 in the constructors standings, But Renault are catching up - how sure are you that you can fend them off?
JT: I think we have a very good chance to defend this position, because our car is very competitive at this stage. It will definitely depend on the circuit design, and its conditions. If these are in favour of our car, we can still be ahead. For the last five races, we have to score as many points as possible.
Q: Your team mate Timo has made steep progress over recent weeks, often equalling, or even beating your performance. How important is it to have both cars finishing in the points to keep that fourth position in the constructors championship?
JT: Timos contribution is very important at this stage. He has been doing very well in the second part of the championship so far. From his skills he is exactly showing what the team has expected from him, and what I have been telling that he is capable of.
Q: Are you surprised that he is doing so well?
JT: Actually not, I have expected him to do so well and to improve during the season step-by-step. Sooner or later I said that he will be as quick as me, and this is happening.
Q: Monza is a slightly different kind of track - one that goes better with the TF108?
JT: Well, actually not, as we have seen in the two Friday practice sessions. I am not that confident that we can have a good race here. So our goal must be to score as many points as possible as P4 could be under attack.
Q: The test here two weeks ago also showed a rather indifferent picture of the cars performance with neither Timo nor yourself better than eighth on the timesheets. Q3 must be your goal for this race - is that feasible?
JT: At the test we were trying some personal things, but as I said before we are not running to our full potential on a high-speed and low-downforce circuit. We definitely have to improve that deficit. So lets see what we manage here. If I have such a fantastic start as I had in Spa - and nobody hits me from behind - then a lot of things are possible. And with the weather conditions very unpredictable a lot will depend on a good strategy - and we have been quite good at that lately.
Q: A home Grand Prix is special. Realistically, what would be your ideal race finish?
JT: Well, of course I will do my best and I will deal with the situation. I have always been very strong in Monza, even though Ive never had a winning car while driving here. That was a shame, but I always managed to score points here.
Q: There is still a question mark over the Spa result. You expressed the opinion that Lewis Hamilton gained advantage and that the 25-second penalty was therefore justified. Is it also justified if it costs him the championship?
JT: Well, for sure the penalty itself was very harsh, but in one way it was deserved, because of him gaining an advantage out of this situation. Probably if he had not attacked Kimi straight after this situation it would not have caused any problems. But I am not a steward, so it is not up to me to decide on the kind of punishment. It is a shame, because I do not want anyone to be robbed of the victory by such a decision, but on the other hand he did make a mistake and there has to be a consequence.