Trulli Q&A: Im as motivated and committed as ever 15 Jan 2009
The 2009 season will be Jarno Trullis fifth at Toyota and the Italian believes it could well be his best yet. As one of the grids 'elder statesmen' he has racing experience of slick tyres already, and with a healthily competitive relationship with his younger team mate, Timo Glock, Trulli is confident he'll make an impression
Q: What are your expectations for 2009?
Jarno Trulli: I expect Toyota to be competitive again. Beyond that I cannot say; we will have to wait and see what the first few races hold. I am a very confident person and I am always optimistic so again this season I have high hopes, but I know from my experience that whatever I say in the winter doesn't really count for much when the season starts - the important thing is what we do on the track. I hope I can fight for Toyota's first victory; that is my dream. Formula One is extremely competitive at the moment so I expect this season to be exciting and very interesting; I am looking forward to it.
Q: Do you believe Toyota can win a race this season?
JT: I hope we can build on the progress we showed in 2008 and challenge for the team's first win. Formula One is a team game, you win and lose together, and Toyota did a very good job last year which allowed me to be competitive and fight at the front. I am full of hope for this season. You need to build strong foundations before you can win. It is like a house; you cannot start by building the roof. We have established the foundations and I believe we can build a winning team. In 2008 we made a huge improvement and took a big step in the right direction so I hope now this year we can be a top team. I am confident in my own ability so if I am given a competitive car I know I can deliver the results.
Q: Are you happy to be racing alongside Timo Glock again?
JT: It's great to be working with Timo again this year. We had a lot of fun last year together and we achieved a lot in terms of improving car performance. We have a good relationship and I'm sure we will build on that this year. He's a fast driver and a nice guy so I'm looking forward to see what we can achieve this year. Timo and I are capable of delivering strong results if the car is competitive, so I hope we have the chance to fight at the front this season.
Q: What is your opinion of the new regulations?
JT: It is a big change and whenever you make a change like this, it is impossible to predict how it will affect each team. Toyota has the capability to adapt to these regulations as well or better than any other team so I am hoping it will give us a good opportunity. You can say I am cautiously optimistic. One thing is for sure, there will be bigger gaps between teams next season and bigger fluctuations in performance. It was so close last year because we had a period of quite stable rules, but always when you make a big change, the grid is spread out more, so I expect that will be the case this year.
Q: Will the new regulations make overtaking easier?
JT: They should make overtaking easier but that would not be very difficult as it was nearly impossible in the last few years! You had to be really committed and a lot faster to attack another car; it was possible and I did several good moves last season but it was far from easy. We won't know until we are racing in Australia if the rule change really works as they have planned but I can understand the logic and I hope it works. I really enjoy fighting on the track and it can be frustrating when you are quicker than the car in front but just cannot get past because the aero makes such a difference. Whatever happens, I do not expect overtaking will be easy because we are racing with the best drivers in the world and it can never be easy to overtake.
Q: Are you happy with the return to slick Bridgestone Potenza tyres?
JT: I am very pleased to be racing on slick tyres again because they give more feel to a driver and they are much more fun to drive with than the grooves. I am very much looking forward to trying out a new set of slicks on a flying lap in qualifying; that will be great fun!
Q: At 34, how would you describe yourself as a driver?
JT: First of all, I don't think in terms of age or how many Grands Prix I have competed in. They are just numbers and I am not really interested in numbers. The fact is, I love driving, I love competing and I love the challenge of Formula One. This sport is the focus of my life and I am completely dedicated to it. Nowadays in Formula One the competition is so close and it is so difficult to get everything exactly right that you have to be totally committed if you are going to succeed. Being a fast driver is not enough now; a Formula One driver needs to be completely motivated and committed, and I am.
Q: Is Formula One racing still a pleasure for you?
JT: Absolutely. I am having a lot of fun at the moment and I am really happy to be a Toyota driver in Formula One. It is very rewarding to see the progress we have made and to feel part of such a positive change. Obviously, racing is more fun when you have a competitive car and you are fighting at the front so I enjoyed last season a lot, but it doesn't change my motivation because I am always fighting for the best possible result, whatever that is. We are looking strong and I believe, after all the bad luck I have had in the past, I am due some pay back!
Q: What are your remaining targets in Formula One racing?
JT: I still have plenty of things I want to achieve in Formula One but my dream now is to win the first race for Toyota. I have now spent longer racing for Toyota in Formula One than any other driver and I have seen the huge progress that has been made since I joined in 2004. It has been a long journey and we have had ups and downs but we have never given up or lost faith. It was fantastic to be back on the podium again last year, as well as leading several races, and my target is to enjoy more of those moments.