Trulli: Toyota can still finish fourth 16 Sep 2008
Jarno Trulli was running as high as sixth during Sundays Italian Grand Prix, but an extra pit stop to take on standard wets saw the Toyota driver finish in 13th. And with neither Trulli nor team mate Timo Glock scoring points at Monza, rivals Renault have now managed to catch up with the Japanese team in the standings. The Italian, however, is confident that Toyota will eventually prevail
Q: After qualifying seventh and running sixth what is your reaction to finishing 13th?
Jarno Trulli: It was disappointing but I think it was down to bad luck. We were unfortunate that the strategy didn't work out in those conditions - you cannot control the way the track or the weather develop throughout the race. We felt we had a strong strategy because we were on a one stop but unfortunately the switchover point from extreme wets to standard wets came a few laps after my only pit stop. It was not possible to put the standard wets on at my planned stop given the track conditions so we had to make an extra pit stop later in the race. If it had rained more heavily again in the middle of the race, as the forecasts were predicting, we would have been looking very good.
Q: Did you have problems after the change to standard wets?
JT: I was not as competitive because the car was sliding around a lot. It just didn't work out for us. We thought Monza might be a difficult race before the weekend as we were using the harder compound tyres but after qualifying we were more positive. We lost out by needing an extra stop and that was simply bad luck.
Q: What was it like driving in the wet at Monza?
JT: It was quite an extreme experience and probably worse than people would think because of the nature of the track. Monza has the highest average speed on the calendar so the car is in low downforce spec, which doesn't help you much in the wet. The major problems were aquaplaning and the visibility. Following another car it is hard to see where you have to brake because the spray was just terrible and that can be dangerous.
Q: Toyota was one of just two teams to qualify both cars in the top ten. How good an achievement was that?
JT: Myself, Timo (Glock) and the whole team did a very good job. We didn't expect the TF108 to be at its best in low downforce configuration so the weather actually did us a favour, even if it made our jobs as drivers a lot tougher. The car did not feel great in the dry running we had on Friday afternoon but in the wet we were going well, except for a scary moment in Q2.
Q: What happened there?
JT: We knew that heavier rain was forecast and you had to do your time early in the session. I did mine on my first flying lap but I was held up by Sebastian Vettel, who slowed down in front of me before the Parabolica and forced me to lift. It was a dangerous situation in those conditions. I was only 0.17s away from fastest Q2 time and without that incident I could have been quickest.
Q: With the European season over, how do you view the remaining four Grands Prix?
JT: It's going to be exciting. Singapore is our second new venue of the season and, of course, our first night race. Then we have the Japan and China back-to-back races and that is always an interesting trip. Everyone remembers the weather at Fuji last year and I think that is an element that nobody can really predict at any of the four remaining races. We could have more races like Monza. Obviously Fuji is Toyota's home Grand Prix so we are all geared up to fight for a very strong result there and in general we are quite positive about our chances in all the remaining races.
Q: Are you confident Toyota can finish fourth in the constructors' championship? JT: Definitely we can finish fourth and we have shown that already this season with a lot of very strong performances. We have been on the podium twice on merit this year and a couple of races ago we had a 10-point cushion, which I think was a fair reflection on our competitiveness. But we were unfortunate in Spa and Monza - two races where we expected to be a little less competitive than usual - and now we have the same points as Renault. It is going to be a really exciting battle because it is so competitive at the moment. Small things can change the situation completely but I am confident we can beat Renault because I think the last two races did not reflect our true pace. We will be doing everything we can to fight for more podiums and finish fourth in the championship.