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Trulli confirmed for Team Lotus in 2012
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Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Sep 2011   |  10:41 am GMT  |  31 comments

This morning Team Lotus has confirmed that Jarno Trulli will race for the team again in 2012. Although, as posted yesterday, the team is likely to be racing as Caterham F1 Team next year after reaching a settlement with Group Lotus.

The 37 year old Italian starts his 247th Grand Prix today and next year will be his third season with Team Lotus.

This has been a difficult year for Trulli, who struggled with the lack of precision in the steering of the Lotus until a new power steering system came on stream in Hungary. This weekend he outqualified team mate Kovalainen for only the second time this season, by half a second.

Trulli’s confirmation means that there will be at least six drivers over the age of 30 on the grid next year, while Kovalainen, Rubens Barrichello and Tonio Liuzzi are all over-30s hoping to extend their stay in F1. Meanwhile there is a log-jam of young drivers who need placing in F1 to keep their careers moving, including Nico Hulkenberg, Jules Bianchi and Romain Grosjean.

Team boss Tony Fernandes said, “We are all delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement to keep Jarno on board for at least one more year with our team. He has shown in qualifying in Monza just how much pace he has and how he can wring every last drop of performance out of his car and since day one with us he has brought a level of professionalism, insight and raw speed to our team that has helped accelerate our development on and off track. Today’s announcement will give us the benefit of his experience and knowledge into 2012, another very important year in the growth of our team.”

Trulli said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to confirm today that my contract with Team Lotus has been extended into 2012. The challenge I first accepted when I joined the team is becoming more exciting every day, and I am very proud that I can keep helping the team take steps forward for at least another year. I would like to thank Tony, Kamarudin and Nasa for the chance to keep working with them, Riad, Mike and the whole team and I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead.”

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31 Comments
  1. JW1980 says:

    Agree with James that Trulli’s appointment is creating a log jam of young talent. Trulli’s had his time in F1 and should move on and give other drivers a chance. Not sure why Bianchi gets so much press. Has not impressed me despite of the hype prior to his arrival to GP2.

    1. Jason C says:

      It’s the Trulli Train all over again!

  2. Steve Davies says:

    James, I exchanged some thoughts with Tiff this morning (as you know, he’s not a fan of Trulli’s continued race seat), but nowhere in the TeamLotus press release does it say he will be driving or racing for the team, all the phrases talk about ‘working with’ and continuing his ‘relationship with’ Team Lotus.

    It strikes me as a very careful use of wording, which would imply Jarno’s contract includes an option that his role may become mentoring and development if TL.

    Perhaps you can dig a little deeper on this…

    1. Liam in Sydney says:

      Aaaahh, the conspiracy theorists!! :)

  3. Mattoz says:

    Is Kovalainen likely to stay next year too? I actually thought that he seemed more secure than Trulli, but clearly not…

    1. coal crusher says:

      I’d agree with the guys above. I was a little dissapointed with the news to be honest. drivers are basically having to wait until they’re mid to late twenties to get into F1 (the exceptions where a driver programme brings them through).

  4. Lewis J says:

    I think after two initial years with very experienced drivers, 2012 should have been time for Lotus (Caterham, whatever) to bring in some fresh talent. Maybe not a rookie, but someone in their 20s to plan for the future.
    Trulli/Kovalainen is never gonna set the world alight as a driver pairing, nice chaps though both of them are.

  5. rob says:

    The only comment possible – WHY,WHY,WHY

  6. vvipkho says:

    Heikki also stay for TL next year.

  7. Mon Pen says:

    Steve Davies – completely agree. He has “a contract”. Racing may not come into it at all. Let’s see Karun get more races if the rather past it Trulli finds sone other aspect of the car disagreeable.

  8. Rich says:

    Nasa? I’m assuming that’s not the same as NASA, or have they got a bit of spare cash floating around now the shuttle programme has been shelved?

  9. Jiri says:

    I am hugely disappinted with this. Trulli should have gone before this season. Barrichello is also overdue, Liuzzi had more than enough chances, and the young talents deserve to get a shot. Honestly, Kovy trounced Trulli this year, so Lotus can have continuity with him and get a youngster. My applause to Sauber he was brave enozugh to get two young drivers and they thoroughly showed that they deserve the seat.

  10. Husker says:

    Really sad to see these drivers suffer the “Arnoux” syndrom. it’s all right they want to continue, but WHY would Lotus, Williams, HRT, etc WANT them?

    Isn’t it better to have an eager, young driver giving his all to the team than an “old fart” that keeps whining and not really making a difference in developing the car? I’m loking at you Trulli and Rubens!

    The only way for these drivers is backwards, I honestly cannot believe Barichello really believes he can still win as he claims.

    Like Arnoux, they had their chance, drove good cars and won races but were never top TOP drivers so obviously started driving for worse and worse teams. What’s the point?

    IMO they do more damage than good at this point to their own reputation and “legacy” if they have one. I simply cannot understand the logic behind teams decisions to keep them with them.

    Mark my words, once Massa is FINALLY given the boot from Ferrari next year (can’t it be today?) He will go the exact same route, backwards and backwards for years to no end until absolutely no one wants anything to do with him….like will happen with Liuzzi, Trulli and Barichello.

    Webber for example is a guy that I can see retiring at the end of next year, or the year after that. Not continuing ad infinitum causing nothing but pitty like the other 4 mentioned.

    Bring Hulkemberg back goddamit! LOL

  11. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – Have there been any other names linked to a possible drive for the team?

  12. Andy C says:

    I’d agree with the guys above. I was a little dissapointed with the news to be honest. drivers are basically having to wait until they’re mid to late twenties to get into F1 (the exceptions where a driver programme brings them through).

    I completely understand those going for experience, but can Lotus honestly say Jarno has given them much of a boost in comparison to Heikki, or the Nick heidfeld did so well at renault.

    You only have to look at Seb Vettel. Had Redbulls driver programme not picked him up, he may not have reached F1 until now, let alone be a potential double WDC.

    Ah well, while someone else pays the bill, they can pick who they want I guess.

    1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      Honestly I think mid-20s is probably the right age. Notwithstanding Vettel and Hamilton’s early success (in great cars), I think there are plenty of other drivers (think Seb B, Jamie, Grosjean, etc) who could have benefitted from another couple of years of experience.

      1. Andy C says:

        Indeed, but when you’ve got guys getting a chance at 28 I think thats too late.

  13. Nick says:

    I had also noted that there was no mention of driving when interviewed during the f1 forum on the Beeb yesterday, but the use of “working with, as though perhaps a mentor, ambassador, development-driver etc..

    So, James, here’s one from left field for you. Tony Fernandes kept hinting that a deal had been done where everyone was a winner. Could Team Lotus merge with Lotus Renault GP? Significant financial benefit to both, including resolution of the 2-Lotus debacle. “Renault” could relocate to Norfolk, the true home of Lotus? Is this beyond the realms of possibility?

    Team Lotus could then sell their grid slot to Lola. Caterham Academy could develop young drivers right up to GP2.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts. Thanks. Nick

    1. James Allen says:

      THat is not on the cards at the moment. I don’t know how much longer Genii plan to hold onto the team, but Fernandes is building his own thing

  14. RickeeBoy says:

    Tony, from the first day you arrived on the scene I’ve supported and generally thought you were a ” Right On Chap” ……. then 2 days ago you make a statement about more drastic changes as the team isn’t moving forward quickly enough ….. yet again the bang on right thing to say …. then Why / why / why re-employ Trulli …… you know it doesn’t make sense . …. try some kids out and make money when they break contract to move on. ( Still a huge supporter of TF )

  15. Bevan says:

    Geez they must be watching different races than me at Lotus,Jarno’s never been any better than 4th place at best throughout his entire F1 career.Well past his use by date.
    Bring in the young guns.

    1. James Allen says:

      ??He won Monaco and had 11 podiums

      1. Andy C says:

        Yes, but apart from that what did he do ;-)

      2. Dj says:

        well what else do you expect your driver to do ? at least he won a race, and got quite a lot of podium ?

        Let’s put in context what is being being said here, which is “Jarno’s never been any better than 4th place at best throughout his entire F1 career”

      3. Andy C says:

        Dj, if it was a serious comment I wouldnt have put a ;-) next to it…

  16. tim says:

    I think Trulli’s still fast. It’s his attitude that bothers me. He looks like he’s being forced to do math homework from photos in the paddock, all long faced and sullen. Really, Jarno, you only have the coolest job in the world. Plus you already own a vineyard so your retirement is clear. Crack a smile already or clear the seat.

    1. Kristiane says:

      “It’s his attitude that bothers me.”

      +1

      The image of him going absolutely [mod] in 2009 Brazilian GP is still very vivid on my mind.

  17. Jonno says:

    All the time Lotus are wobbling around towards the back, it might be best for F1 that they’ve got experienced drivers. With the ridiculous amount of overtaking and tyre changes in some races, younger drivers could easily find themselves in a lot of trouble, driving cars that truilli are mobile chicanes!

    The true mid-teams have got young drivers, with the exception of Rubens at Williams, who must be leaving F1 this year.

  18. Henrik says:

    I have to say that people are confusing a few things here. The so-called “whining” is actually pointing to weaknesses and dedication to improving the car and this is needed for car development. Or would you rather hire a new driver, who doesn’t have a clue and keeps repeating that everything is great?

    You also cannot say Trulli is unmotivated (like some like to say), because if he “whines” – as you have put it – he is very much concerned and interested, what is going on, and how to improve.

  19. Kristiane says:

    Trulli has his technical director friend to thank for keeping his name stitched to a Lotus Caterham car.

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