According to reports, Jarno Trulli has turned down an F1 commentary position for the 2013 season.
Speed Week have reported that Trulli, who has competed in 256 races and who lost his Caterham seat ahead of this season, was sounded out by new Italian broadcaster Sky to travel to next year’s 20 races as a television pundit. But the report said Trulli, 38, turned down the punditry offer because he wants to return to competitive action in 2013.
Another option for Sky was 1997 world champion and French-Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, but the former Williams and Sauber driver said no because he reportedly “doesn’t want to travel that much”.
Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, the former Red Bull, Force India and HRT driver, is the latest candidate, Speed Week added.
Pirelli is reportedly considering signing a 2011 race driver to be the official tyre supplier’s new test driver.
AS newspaper in Spain said Jaime Alguersuari, formerly at Toro Rosso and now travelling the F1 calendar as a co-commentator for British radio, is a front-runner. Pirelli has secured the use of a 2010 Renault for private development testing this year, which is expected to begin in May.
AS said the “only obstacle” to a deal for 22-year-old Alguersuari is that Pirelli, an Italian marque, is also interested in grand prix winner Jarno Trulli, who raced last year with Team Lotus (now Caterham).
There are no Italian race drivers in F1 this year.
Jarno Trulli says he was surprised to line up on the front row of the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but is adamant Toyota can have a strong race on Sunday.
The Italian veteran, renowned for his searing one lap pace, was quick through all three qualifying sessions in Sepang and a late charge in Q3 saw him come to within a couple of tenths of Jenson Button’s pole position time.
Although Trulli has gained a reputation for fading on race day, the Italian is confident he can translate the team’s underlying pace into a strong result on Sunday. And with Timo Glock lining up alongside him in P3 as a result of the grid penalties imposed on Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel, Toyota are looking in good shape for a podium.
“The team has done a fantastic job, we stayed away from traffic and the car was feeling good, so it has been a very successful day for us,” he said.
“The car feels strong now but I have to admit I wasn’t sure I would be in this position after practice yesterday because it was quite difficult.”
“I worked hard with my engineers to analyse the data and make some improvements to the set-up and we got it spot-on in qualifying. In a way it’s a little disappointing to miss pole position by just a few hundredths but that’s how close Formula 1 is at the moment.”
After several lacklustre seasons the Cologne-based outfit find themselves right on the pace of the front-runners in 2009, despite coming close to following Honda’s suit and withdrawing from the sport at the beginning of the year. Trulli is adamant there is more to come from Toyota.
“Compared to last year we are much more competitive this season and instead of fighting for the top six we are now here fighting in the top three,” added Trulli. “I hope for a strong race tomorrow and I will fight as hard as I can.”
Timo Glock confirmed the improvements Toyota have made through the winter to qualify in fifth place before being promoted to third.
“Overall the qualifying went quite well and I’m happy to be starting third. But I’m a bit frustrated with my final lap in Q3 because I was struggling a little bit to get used to how the car felt with a heavier fuel load. That meant I didn’t get 100% out of the car,” he said.
“In Q2, on a light fuel load, I made a few mistakes on my first run but then I got it absolutely right on the second and I was really pleased with my lap. In the end it’s a good result for the whole team to have two cars in the top three. It will be a tricky race and Jarno and I will push each other very hard but we also have to think about the weather because that could be a factor.”
Toyota’s senior management meanwhile were delighted to start tomorrow’s race from such a strong position.
“We are very pleased with this result even if the ultimate target is to be on pole position,” said Pascal Vasselon, Toyota’s senior chassis manager. “Yesterday’s sessions went so-so I would say, we were not completely happy with the car balance and the grip but obviously we have reacted well overnight and finally it has been a very good team result.”
“Thanks to Bridgestone, the tyre situation here is quite easy to handle for qualifying and the race so we don’t expect anything unusual in that sense, which is the opposite of Melbourne when the final laps were dictated by the tyres. So all in all it has been a good weekend so far and we are very optimistic for the race tomorrow.”
Jarno Trulli says he has been given justice after the FIA reinstated his third place in the Australian Grand Prix – and disqualified Lewis Hamilton and McLaren.
The Toyota driver was docked with a 25-second time penalty after the race for passing Hamilton under safety car conditions. That dropped him to twelfth place.
But the ruling was overturned today after the FIA deemed that McLaren had submitted misleading evidence during the post-race enquiry.
The governing body analysed radio communications which revealed that McLaren had asked Hamilton to let Trulli pass, something the team denied doing in the original hearing.
McLaren have since argued they did so out of fear that Hamilton himself could have been penalised for overtaking under the safety car, but the FIA uphold that the Woking squad mislead stewards.
The disqualification of Hamilton and McLaren promotes Jarno Trulli back into third place. The Italian was delighted with the news.
“I am happy because I just wanted some justice, and I am happy I got it,” he told autosport. “I am happy for myself, for the team – and I have to thank the FIA because it does not happen very often that they reconsider something.
“It must have been really hard for them, but they had common sense to really try and understand what was going on. I have been always honest and it has paid off.”
“We did not do anything, and I did not make any further comments. I think the FIA was clever enough to understand the situation. They had a very busy end of the race, with so many accidents, and they now had a bit more evidence to understand the case.
“So they wanted to hear us again, and it just confirmed what happened in Australia as I didn’t change my statement. That is it. I don’t know what made them change their mind.”
“Honestly, it was a controversial end of the race and it was hard for anyone to understand. But again I would like to thank the FIA because they had the strength to reconsider the case, giving new evidence and understanding what was going on.
“I never lied, I was always honest in my statements and I never changed it.”
Lewis Hamilton´s third place finish in Australia – awarded to him after stewards penalised Toyota´s Jarno Trulli – is again under question as the FIA reopen the issue.
Under safety car conditions, Trulli made a mistake and went off the track and Hamilton had no choice but to pass him, the world champion told Speed TV. Trulli then illegally re-passed Hamilton, for which act he was penalised and demoted from the podium position.
But stewards are investigating new evidence which has come to light. The new evidence – thought to be previously unheard McLaren radio traffic – raises the possibility that the team told Hamilton to slow and let Trulli by.
After the race, Trulli explained the events from his point of view.
“When the safety car came out towards the end of the race, Lewis Hamilton passed me but soon after he suddenly slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road,” he said.
“I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do.”
If the new enquiry finds that the McLaren team withheld evidence, the consequences could be serious, as failing to produce key evidence in such a case clearly contravenes sporting regulations.
Hamilton and Trulli have both been summoned to appear in front of three race stewards today in Malaysia to explain the story. They, together with Australian GP race stewards, will reconstruct the sequence of events for the FIA panel.
Jarno Trulli has admitted that he has concerns about the forthcoming inaugral night race at Singapore. The event will be the second street circuit on the Formula 1 calendar and will also be held at night with strong flood lights lighting up the track.
However no test sessions are planned for the track and the official timetable for the race weekend lacks much practice time for the drivers.
“At the moment we still don’t know what the schedule of the weekend will be,” Trulli explained. “We are a little bit concerned.
“We go there, we haven’t tested, we don’t have any idea. It is going to be a night race, it is going to be in the rainy season, so it isn’t exactly what you really want from a safety point of view. It doesn’t look comfortable so far.”
Jarno Trulli underlined Toyota’s step forward in performance with a solid charge to fifth place in Sunday’s European Grand Prix at Valencia, while Hungary star Timo Glock also made it into the points having been compromised at the start.
After being out-shone in qualifying by his on-song team-mate, Jarno Trulli re-took the initiative at Valencia, outpacing Timo Glock to seventh place on the grid. From there the Italian hustled is way up to fifth at the chequered flag.
“After our difficult practice yesterday, we completely changed my set-up for today. Then we had a gearbox oil pump problem this morning that meant I could not try it out.”
“So in a way I was driving blind this afternoon but I used my experience, I concentrated very hard and I made it through into Q3. I made a mistake on my last run but I am still very happy with what we achieved today.”
“I’m also delighted with the way the car is developing and the fact that we can always fight for the top ten and score points. That is again our target tomorrow. It’s important and realistic and it will be an interesting race. Here, more than anywhere, anything can happen and it should be a great event.”
Timo Glock once again impressed behind the wheel of his Toyota having clawed his way up to seventh from thirteenth on the grid.
“I don’t know what went wrong but I just didn’t get the lap together in the second session and that was that. We definitely had the chance to be higher, in the top ten, but it was a difficult qualifying in the end.”
“For me the prime tyres seemed to work better but I struggled to get temperature into the tyres in the first sector of my last lap in Q2. So it was just not my day today.”
“I had a heavy cold overnight and didn’t feel particularly well, but no excuses. I think the car was good enough but it just didn’t work out. Of course we will do our best to make up positions tomorrow. There could be safety car periods so we will aim to make the most of our freedom with the strategy.”
Toyota chiefs were delighted to see both their cars firmly in the top ten again: “Altogether it has been a very difficult day and a disappointing qualifying result,” said Pascal Vasselon, Toyota’s Senior General Manager. “Yesterday we had a very competitive Friday, especially with Timo, and now things have turned around. Jarno did a fantastic job because he could not run in P3 this morning due to a gearbox oil pump problem.”
“But that did not stop him and all his laps apart from his last lap in Q3 were very good. For Timo, today was not as successful as yesterday. He was on the pace in Q1 but Q2 did not go as expected so we will have to investigate what happened.”
“After the overnight rain the track was green again today but the tyre situation is clear. The positive thing for us is that we are in good position to defend against safety cars tomorrow and make sure that both cars are not caught out by the same safety car period.”