Jarno Trulli Q&A: Staying with Toyota my top priority 27 Aug 2009
It is not easy for a driver to hear from his team that budget decisions for next season will be postponed to late autumn, especially if the team are not doing so well. But as this applies to a number of drivers, Toyotas Jarno Trulli is not too concerned about his future. His priority is to stay with the Japanese team in 2010, hopefully with a more competitive car - or at least one with the level of performance the TF109 enjoyed at the start of this season
Q: What is your feeling on your personal future at Toyota, after the comments given by John Howett that commercially it is doubtful that you will be staying?
Jarno Trulli: At the moment I do not think that I need to respond to anything, as the team in general cannot make any decisions on anyone or anything. I do not know the exact quote from John, but he came back to me and apologized for what has been quoted. I have some possible contacts in place with other teams, but for now it is way too early to talk about this.
Q: Does this put you in any kind of difficult situation, having an offer in the background whilst still waiting for Toyota to decide on their team budget?
JT: In general I think only a very few (drivers) have a good offer with a strong team, as I think that there are only a few solid teams in Formula One, also due to the economic situation that we are in.
Q: So is the budget situation putting any pressure on you, as a driver?
JT: The team has no budget approval for the next year until November, so the team is not able to make any decisions at all. My priority is to stay with Toyota, so once the budget is set we will sit down and discuss what is going to happen next season.
Q: So how is the teams situation at the moment, and are you concerned that there might not be a Toyota team on next years grid?
JT: For all the team it is unclear, for the engineers, for the mechanics and also for the drivers. Toyota has a big number of people working in F1, so the main idea is to keep the team alive. As we have seen during the last couple of week, anything can happen in Formula One, so we have to be ready for any kind of opportunities. As I said before, there are only a very few drivers that can talk about a clear future. For me Toyota has been my family for the past five years, and I have such a good relationship with all of them, and also with the Japanese side, so for me it is clear to put my priority on staying with the team.
Q: Do you think the team would be able to score wins next season, as it looks rather doubtful for this year?
JT: This year we did start very well, but since the last couple of races we do not know what is going on. We are going up and down. The car seems to be a mystery, as it behaves differently even without changing anything. You can feel straight away once you leave the pit whether its fast or not. Also the engineers can see it on the data - as we have now collected a lot - that the car sometimes has no grip, and sometimes even on the same weekend without changing anything on the set-up. We have analyzed everything, but we cannot come up with a solution, as these things have happened to Timo (Glock) as well as to me. It is a real shame, as the pace of the car is there. Usually when the car behaves unexpectedly, we were always able to find the reason.
Q: We heard you say something very similar at the Australian Grand Prix at the beginning of the season
JT: Yes, in Melbourne we had a similar situation. We had been slow in practice and the next day, even though we did not touch the car, we were extremely quick. In these situations you lose your flow, as there is nothing you can do about it, regardless of whether you are getting quicker, or slower, as we just cannot find an answer to this problem. So we are just uncertain what is going to happen next.
Q: What are the most important factors that could attract you to another Formula One team?
JT: I think Formula One is changing a lot, and I think that the number of top teams will decrease. And then there are only some teams left that are able to win races. So for me I have to make a decision on what I want to achieve, but still it is too early to think and talk about that.
Q: So what is your feeling on the future of Formula One racing?
JT: I think it is going rather into the direction of the early 90s, where there where just a few manufacturer team, but more teams that are supplied with an engine from the manufacturers. This will be the trend if the constructors are pulling out, like BMW did some weeks ago. In some way I do agree with this situation, as the money being spent was far too high. So we might see more teams coming in, but these teams have a lack of experience, which they still have to build up. And building up experience in Formula One means that you are always in need of money.