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Exclusive Jarno Trulli Q&A: TF109 feels like the best Toyota yet 17 Mar 2009

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109 Formula One Testing, Autodromo Algarve, Portimao, Portugal. 20 January 2009 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 9 March 2009. Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota talks with John Howett (GBR) President of Toyota F1. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 9 March 2009. Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109 Formula One Testing, 1-5 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109. Formula One Testing, Day One, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Monday 16 February 2009.

Toyota covered more than 500 laps in their final pre-season test in Barcelona last week, with Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock making the top four on all four days. Perhaps no surprise then that Trulli left Spain feeling confident for Melbourne. Even without the much-talked about KERS system - Toyota do not plan to use it in Australia, at least - the Italian believes the TF109 could be the car to finally deliver the Japanese team’s long-awaited maiden win…

Q: Jarno, you have seen quite a few Toyota's being unveiled. What makes you convinced that the TF109 is the best Toyota ever?
Jarno Trulli:
I am confident for this season because so far testing has gone very well. I believe the car is going to be very competitive and so far everything is looking good. This car feels better than any other Toyota I have driven in pre-season so I am full of hope.

Q: Those drivers who will be running KERS in Melbourne seem quite enthusiastic about ‘pushing the button’. What is your feeling about it?
So far I haven’t tested with KERS, as we are not going to use it in Australia, so I don’t really know what it is like to drive.

Q: In your view, do you think we will see a division between those who have KERS and those who don’t?
I think the teams who will not use KERS at the start of the season have made that decision because they think they will be faster without it, so I don’t expect any problems.

Q: Many observers say Toyota are the insider’s tip for success this season. Do you share that view?
I certainly hope we can achieve great things this year and so far it’s all looking good in testing. We are definitely optimistic. We try to improve our performance year by year and I believe we are established as a good team which has improved a lot. After the strong results of the last year our goal is to fight for top positions this year and my dream is to give Toyota the first win.

Q: In previous years you always brushed off any kind of pressure to perform. This year it must be different. How vital are good results to the survival of the team?
That’s not for me to comment on, but it is obvious Toyota is in Formula One to win. I believe the team has got enough experience, the right people and everything, so we want to deliver. For me and Timo (Glock) it will be an important season because both of us want to win as much as each other and we want to deliver the results. We are all working together in the same direction and I am optimistic we can have a strong season.

Q: Are you happy with the tyre situation? It seems there was hardly a test where you could run them under typical race temperatures?
The weather in testing has not been kind to any of the teams, that’s for sure. Even in Bahrain we had a sand storm! But when the conditions improved in Bahrain we did a lot of work; I did more than 400 laps in three days. One of the good things about testing in Bahrain is the higher track temperatures, because that gives a better idea of how the tyres will behave during the season, so that was really useful. It has been quite a lot of work to adapt to the new tyres, but things have gone well and I really like the slick tyres, so I am happy.

Q: How much of the race set-up for Melbourne did you test in Barcelona last week?
Not so much the race set-up, but we do have some new aero bits on the car so it is closer to the spec we will take to Australia.

Q: As we mentioned, all the teams were hit by the poor weather over the winter. Coupled with the in-season testing ban, does it mean we will see some relatively underdeveloped cars racing this season?
The teams have to adapt to this situation, which makes it trickier to develop during the season. I am sure we will have plenty of new parts during the season, but we have to work in a different way because there is no testing. Even considering the weather, we did a lot of good work in pre-season and our set-ups have constantly improved so I am confident we will take a very well-prepared car to Melbourne.

Q: There is a new points system under discussion that would see a three-point gap between first and second place. What is your stance on that?
I don’t really mind too much. This season the dream is to win and to be honest if we can do that I don’t care how many points we get.

Q: From your experience with the TF109 so far, what are your objectives for this season?
I want to fight to win the first Grand Prix for Toyota and I really hope I can do that this season. As well as that, we want to build on last season’s strong performance by finishing on the podium and scoring good points more often.