Jarno Trulli certainly had his fair share of bad luck in the last couple of years and his frustration at numerous car failures was plain to see. But the Italian has kept his optimism and heads into 2004 with a determination to make the most of any...
Jarno Trulli certainly had his fair share of bad luck in the last couple of years and his frustration at numerous car failures was plain to see. But the Italian has kept his optimism and heads into 2004 with a determination to make the most of any opportunities that come his way.
"We are working on it, trying to develop a system, but it will be a lot down to the driver." In regard to whether he preferred manual or launch control starts, he laughed. "Launch control was pretty easy, you just press a button!"
A new penalty system comes into play in 2004: the previous drive-through and stop-and-go punishments are replaced with a points system. Decisions on the penalty will come after the race and if a driver racks up too many demerit points, further action will be taken.
"If they apply it everybody consistently I'm not concerned about anything," said Trulli about the new system. "I wasn't too concerned about it before. The problem is that sometimes it (the penalty) is not applied well." Asked if he meant in regard to his teammate Alonso, Trulli added, to much laughter: "I'm not talking about him, I'm talking about me! I paid for something I didn't do!"
Trulli and Alsono are known to get on very well, something a bit unusual for teammates. Jarno may have been put a little in the shade last year as Alonso was the focus of much of the media attention but the Italian is not bothered by it. He will do his best to match Fernando on track this year.
"I think what Fernando achieved was great, he had a really good season," he commented. "He's a nice person, I work very well with him. It's just a shame that I've lost opportunities that were not my fault. You can accept it when you make mistakes, you cannot hide in Formula One (when it is driver error) because it is clear. But sometimes it was disappointing when I lost opportunities, which he got. But this year I will try to turn it around."
"I think we are pretty much the same, we get on very well together, we work in the same direction, the team is completely open. I think the fact that we talk to each other is good, because our comments are very similar and it makes a good atmosphere in the team. We can work well to improve the car and improve the performance."
Trulli is gradually coming more into the spotlight; often in the points in 2003, he scored a podium finish with third in Germany and finished eighth over all in the standings. So presumably in 2004 he will be improving again?
"I think so," he said. "I know that I can do it, it's just a matter of getting it right, not losing the opportunity -- I will not get sad if I lose the opportunity unless its my fault. If it's my fault I will blame me, but if it is not I cannot do much about it. You just have to wait for the next race."
After last year's close fight for the title, everybody wants an opinion on what will happen this year. Williams gets Trulli's vote: "Assuming I'm not winning the championship myself," he laughed, "let's say that Williams is looking strong."
"I think this because of Michelin; the only way Ferrari will lose the championship is because Bridgestone is not up to the challenge. Everybody in Formula One works very hard -- we know that Ferrari can deliver very good results in a very good car, we know Michael Schumacher can, but we can expect a very tough championship for everyone."
"At the moment I can see Williams doing well. McLaren I don't know, to be honest, because they're still working, still doing development but I'm sure it will be an interesting championship."