Jarno Trulli makes his point -- in writing

This weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix winner has to adapt to a strange set of circumstances: setting the car up in silence! Here's an explanation.

Jarno Trulli.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

As the old adage goes, 'silence is golden' and this weekend, Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli is having to prove it. The Italian lost his voice earlier this week, but has been his usual smiling presence in the paddock -- just a little quieter than normal. The situation has given the international media some headaches as they have tried in vain to record the thoughts and impressions of Formula One's newest Grand Prix winner, but spare a thought for another group: the Renault F1 Team race engineers.

In effect, a silent driver has the potential to cause many problems. With efficiency at a premium under the new one engine per weekend rules, time is precious -- and it is critical for the driver to be able to communicate his impressions accurately and concisely over the radio. But what to do when the driver cannot talk?

"Jarno losing his voice has been another small challenge to adapt to this weekend," explained Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds. "He and his race engineer Alan (Permane) have been communicating in writing. Each time Jarno comes back into the garage, he has a pen and paper in the car, and he has been writing answers to the questions Alan asks. This may have been a slight hindrance during the sessions, but when debriefing, Jarno has been scribbling away merrily in the engineering truck, and his speed certainly doesn't seem to have suffered!"

Assuming the situation doesn't improve for tomorrow though, what can be done in the race? Holding up a sheet of paper with set-up changes on it as you pass the pit-wall is hardly an option. "Well, we will just have to employ a little lateral-thinking," concludes Pat. "In effect, Jarno will end up communicating over the radio by a form of morse code that we will devise this evening." Just another small instance of how a team must remain adaptable at all times.