Exclusive Trulli Q&A - Toyota can bounce back in Turkey 05 Jun 2009
Toyota started the season with a bang, but lately the Cologne-based team have been stuck in a bit of a rut, after suffering poor results in Spain and Monaco. Driver Jarno Trulli, however, is keen to brush aside that troubled phase and look ahead to a brighter future, as he reviews his first day at Istanbul Park
Q: Jarno, after Monaco the engineers must have been busy improving the car. What do you think will be the fruits of their labours?
Jarno Trulli: Well, we have brought some major improvements to this race. We have new aero parts which should help us make a really big step forward. Today the running went pretty smoothly even though the track was not in an optimal condition. My lap times, compared to others, were promising, although you must never read too much into Friday times. Overall my guess is that we should be pretty competitive this weekend.
Q: Putting aside Barcelona and Monaco, Istanbul Park is a new generation track. Do you think the TF109 can regain the strength it showed at the beginning of the season here?
JT: This is our hope as we came here with high expectations and I really hope that we can match those expectations.
Q: So far you have been on the podium twice, but youve also retired twice and at the last race in Monaco finished just 13th. It looks like its a real rollercoaster ride in performance. Would you agree?
JT: Oh yes, definitely. We have had some very bad weekends. Actually two weekends have been really bad for the team, and the weekend in China wasnt very good for me. So I hope to bounce back to the front of the grid this race.
Q: The start of the season was very promising, but lately it seems the TF109 is letting you down a bit. What do you think the reasons for that are?
JT: It is very difficult to analyse. I have gone through it with the engineers in order to understand what happened. And we came here having understood a lot of things, which will eventually help us in the future, but without understanding everything. For sure Monaco was the bottom where both cars started from the last row of the grid - that was not so nice. On the other hand we have to think positively. Monaco is a very special race, a typical street circuit, where sometimes even good cars can perform really badly. And Toyota have never performed well there. Lets be more positive for this race and see how it goes here.
Q: The moment the paddock returned to Europe, and other teams had the chance to improve their cars, Toyota fell somewhat behind. Could that show a lack of development speed?
JT: I think in Barcelona that probably was the case, as some of our parts didnt work as expected. On the other hand I think Monaco is a too specific a track to really find out where you stand. Here we should enjoy a big leap forward and should be able to bounce back to the front of the grid. But obviously improving with the new regulations is not so easy.
Q: When looking at the standings, Toyota are still the third force on the grid, but Ferrari are catching up quickly. Where do you realistically see Toyota at the moment?
JT: I think that we are still the third team in terms of the constructors championship, after two very bad races where we didnt score points. And that shows how good our car was at the beginning of the season. But obviously everybody else has also improved and now its time that we again show our true colours for the rest of the season. There are still many races to go. It is now necessary to fix our targets from what we have seen in the last two races. I believe we really have to work hard if we want to keep up with our high expectations.
Q: Much has been written that this season might be a crucial year for the team and its presence in Formula One racing. How is the mood in the team? Have fears intensified?
JT: This is not a question for me to answer. It is more a question for the team. I really cannot say much about it.
Q: At the moment there is an air of uncertainty surrounding team entries for 2010. Is that making you as a driver concerned about your job for next season?
JT: Well, rather than thinking about a drivers future we should think about Formula One right now, because we have plenty of other series around and Formula One looks like its going through a very difficult moment. At the moment I just hope that the teams and the FIA sort it out, so we all have a future.