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Trulli pushes back on Petrov rumours
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Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Jan 2012   |  3:55 pm GMT  |  118 comments

Veteran Italian driver Jarno Trulli has today reacted to increasing rumours in F1 circles that his Caterham seat is under threat from Lotus Renault refugee Vitaly Petrov.

The 37 year old has a firm contract for 2012, but has faced question marks about it since it was signed, with Daniel Ricciardo being linked with the drive at the end of last season.

More recently Petrov, who brings backing from Russian sponsors, has been linked with the seat since he was dropped by LRGP. It is clear why someone like Petrov would appeal as he might offer similar levels of performance, if not in qualifying then maybe in the race, and would contribute rather than draw from, team funds.

Although rumours have also linked Adrian Sutil with the drive, the German, who is out at Force India and about to face trial in Germany at the end of this month, is not believed to be under consideration.

Reacting to the rumours on Petrov, Trulli has come out fighting, “On Monday I have a seat fitting at the factory. The team has said nothing to me and until I hear something then the situation is as before,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport today.

Trulli believes that Caterham has grown a lot since its difficult first season in 2010 and now stands on the verge of competitiveness because of the arrival of big name engineers like Mark Smith and John Iley.

“I have faith,” he adds, “In the course of last season I saw a lot of improvement. The step we took was large, even if it didn’t look like that from the outside. Now we need another.”


It’s an important moment for Italian motorsport too, because if Trulli is sidelined, as is looking increasingly likely, there would not be an Italian driver on the F1 grid, which is hard to believe given the country’s place in the sport.

There are well funded young drivers from various countries knocking on doors, but with Italy in economic and political crisis, it seems that Italian corporate backing is thin on the ground.

It’s a long way from my first season in F1 in 1990 when there were no fewer than nine Italian drivers in F1.

The team has confirmed that it will launch its new car on January 26th, on the cover of F1 Racing magazine. This would make it the first team to launch a 2012 model.

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118 Comments
  1. Red5 says:

    Difficult to accurately gauge Petrov’s talent and raw speed.

    On the other hand there’s a lot known about Trulli’s inconsistent form.

    Overall money may swing the balance in the Russians favour.

  2. ian says:

    Really obvious question – why did they re sign Trulli when they did, it’s not as if he had any other options, and the team had/has many.

  3. chris says:

    Mike always rated Jarno and got him in as they knew they can work together well and it was on piece of the jog saw that was easy to fit in their 1st season as a team. The reasons for that appointment have now been eroded away. Kov has done a better job and must work well with the team. Therefore its no surprise to me Jarno is on the way out.

  4. RichardB says:

    i don’t understand why the team signed jarno for 2012 in the first place, he was struggling badly when they did.
    can’t say petrov would be much better but at least he’s got cash. i thought the team didn’t need a pay driver anyway, jules bianchi, sutil, rubens would all be a better choice if so.

  5. sumedh says:

    So, if we get news that the seat-fitting has been delayed, then its definitely Goodbye Trulli.

    I don’t mind Petrov getting the seat. He is a solid driver, doesn’t set the world on fire but is better than the ageing Trulli any day.

  6. David says:

    As much as I like the guy, I don’t really see what Trulli brings to the team. Probably time for Caterham to move on.

    1. Robert says:

      So you think their next big move would be to move on from Trulli?

      If so, I couldn’t agree more!

      1. devilsadvocate says:

        Agree too… but there are plenty of drivers in my mind far more deserving and reasonable than Petrov. Alguersuari would be a huge catch if they could get him, Trulli needs to join Barri on the bench

    2. Brisbane Bill says:

      Agreed – Trulli should take a leaf out of the Barrichelo book and see that the writing is on the wall. Time to retire and hand over the reins to a younger charger than a back-of-the-grid development driver. You’ve had your shot, didn’t make it, now go with dignity (although not much of a F1 reputation left to protect).

    3. K says:

      [mod] You like Trulli? What for?

      Take a look at this.

      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3595822/arguement_between_trulli_and_sutil_2009_brazilian_gp/

      Someone makes a mistake and he goes absolutely spastic. When he does the same see his reaction.

      Left a bitter taste in my mouth having watched him on TV in that GP.

      1. Martin Hathaway says:

        While you have every right to your opinion, please do not use the word ‘spastic’ in this way, it is an insult to so many brave people who seek to rise above their cerebral palsy and live productive lives.

      2. AndyK says:

        While you are to be admired for rising above your cerebal palsy and leading a productive life, you should recognise that use of the word ‘spastic’ in this context is clearly not intended as a swipe at anybody with a disability. You should also realise that nobody has the right not to be offended. Including you… I also think that Petrov has more potential than Trulli.. just to get on topic:)

      3. K says:

        Well my apologies not to listen to you Martin, but that’s how I saw it from Trulli’s reaction. He should know better than whatever he does it’s shown on TV screens, the way he reacted is the impression he gave me, and the only word I found suitable to describe him in that incident is “spastic”. He allowed people to dislike him and destroyed what you called “seek to rise above their cerebral palsy and live productive lives”, coz that certainly was NOT productive in his reaction.

        If I have my right to opinion, then wouldn’t that mean I have my right to my choice of words?

        You may disagree, I’m fine with that and don’t need everyone’s agreement to my views. If you don’t like it, feel free to just ignore it and read on to the next comment.

  7. MAS says:

    I hope this is a case of Trulli protesting too much.

    Vitaly would be a greater loss to the grid than Jarno. Trulli’s been inoffensive enough since he finally got his power-steering sorted halfway through the season but Petrov is actually interesting on track. Still a little inconsistent and occasionally overambitious but interesting and quite quick.

    Also there were sounds coming from both his own camp and Eric Boullier that he didn’t feel happy at Enstone (not unlike Heikki both at Renault and at McLaren). So if anyone could thrive at a team like Caterham (professional but not under as much outside pressure as Enstone or Williams are) it’s Petrov.

  8. goferet says:

    Well looking as F1 drivers such as Bruno Senna tell a couple of fibs regarding whether they have a seat or not, I would say Trulli’s seat is all but sold.

    Personally I would co-sign on a Petrov drive, he seems passionate about his drive unlike some drivers like Trulli who are at that point in their career where it’s all about picking up the pay check so as to invest more money in the wine industry.

    So far, F1 rumours this off season have been accurate with the exception of the Torro Rosso shocker.

    Yes, we are heading into an era where there’re no Italian drivers on the grid because all seats have been scooped up by the German drivers & seeing as German is pulling all the Euro strings, I say, we shall have more of the same with Sutil possibly getting the test driver role at Ferrari.

    Interesting also that despite Italians love for speed & history for producing sexy cars, they sure don’t have many winners in any category of motorsport with perhaps Valentino Rossi being the exception whereas the UK has few sports car brands & yet it’s the country with the most F1 WDCs.

    Hmm… Very strange that Catherham are the first team to launch, maybe they have been working on their car whole season or else, I expect it to break down on the first lap of the first winter test.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Cant see anyone touching Sutil with a barge pole till this court scenario is over and done with lets face it for it to go to trial it must be fairly serious and image diminishing so until the trials over and obv depending on the outcome nobody will go near him other than outline talk for a potential future.

      Caterham first to launch there car I reckon is prob more so a jump to try and attract a major sponsor out with the team owners purse for the forthcoming season.

      Totally agree time to let the likes of Petrov in to Caterham hekki is old and wise enough now to play a lead role if not so much on the track (see what Petrov does) then certainly on development. It will be interesting to see on race day I reckon they will be very closely matched :)

    2. Werewolf says:

      Historically, Italy has had two World Drivers’ Champions, Farina and Ascari (twice), and just over a dozen GP winners. Unfortunately, many of its brightest prospects were killed at a time when motor racing was much more dangerous than it is today. It’s a while, though, since anyone has really challenged for a title.

      There was also, of course, Agostini on two wheels.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Never noticed that ridiculous part of his statement werewolf there’s been more British titles than any other country and may i add 5 of which from scot’s drivers there’s been more british teams won titles than any other country alongside there being more british titles than any other country the only outstanding factor that Italy bring to the table is the fact ferrari have easily won more titles than any other team/manufacturer. there’s only been 3 title wins frm Italian drivers Against 14 british titles if i recall correct Germany or Brazil are next in line with 8 or 9 i may stand corrected :/

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Kevin,

        Firstly, cars 1 & 7 contribute 9 WDCs for Deutschland for second place on the list.

        Why certain countries have done well is an interesting question. As James suggests the Italian ecomony, which has been poor for a long time is an obvious contributor to the current situation.

        I’m Australian, so I don’t know many British tracks, but I’ll offer a few thoughts. The early 20th century ban on racing on roads, but the allowance of hillclimb events, which I feel favours lower cost cars, and the general support of kit cars to the present day, makes it more affordable to participate. Kids get the bug from their dads and get into karting, increasing the potential pool of F1 drivers.

        The World Wars brought a lot of UK airfields into being. These became circuits at relatively low cost. This would have added to the culture.

        The early years of F1 were relatively low tech. The 1969 Matra is generally regarded as the first F1 car to be generally regarded as being built to aerospace standards. Equality probably only came in the 1980s. In the 1960s the engineering across a car tended to be inconsistent. Good ideas in one area were compromised by another. I feel the British industry, which encouraged kit cars, do it yourself efforts and the like encouraged people to give F1 a go.

        After a time a critical mass establishes itself. Ecomonically, the UK hasn’t been doing brilliantly, and so there are teams like Red Bull that are based in the UK but have no strong desire to employ UK drivers over anyone else. Frank Williams might prefer to, but at the moment he doesn’t have the financial choice. McLaren has been more about winning, which at the moment has resulted in two UK drivers. Commercially I doubt it is ideal, but with English being the dominant language, fluency is good for sound bites.

        For Australians it is not a clear path at all. Mark Webber was aided by David Campese (an Australian record holding Rugby Union international also from Queanbeyan) and Alan Docking before Norbert Haug got involved based on a talent assessment. A couple of flying Mercedes later, Paul Stoddart rescued his fellow Aussie via buying Minardi and an F1 career was born. Dan Ricciardo got spotted by Red Bull early and the rest is history. Right now that seems to be the best hope for Australians.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      3. Werewolf says:

        Hi Kevin. A quick count up from my stats does indeed show Britain with 14 championships (10 drivers), Germany with 9 (2 drivers) and Brazil with 8 (3 drivers); Argentina has 5 (1 driver).

        Britain (10), Brazil (3) and Finland (3) are the only countries with 3 or more different drivers to win the title.

        As you say, 5 of the British titles were from Scots (and Coulthard is also high on the all-time points scorers lists). Irish drivers have won GP races (Watson and Irvine spring to mind) but I cannot offhand remember a Welsh winner (although Pryce had the talent). Anyone?

    3. Kevin Green says:

      Martin what are you rattling about 1&7 and what exactly is your point? As for financial backing for drivers over the years the UK ain’t been too rosey either compared to other countries over the years no? i think the only key jump the UK has driver wise over other countries as far as F1 goes is that its Generally the home of the Sport with probably the strongest following other than perhaps Brazil? for what appears to be very obvious reasons.

  9. Dmitry says:

    May be Trulli is not at his best, but Petrov (from my point of view) is definitely worse…

    Yes, he can buy Trulli’s place with some shady-way-received money, but a miracle won’t happen – he won’t become a better driver.

    Of course, they can retain Trulli for his experience and get Petrov as a third driver and alternate them at GPs during practices and may be even races…

    1. MAS says:

      I could not disagree more with that assessment.

      Petrov has done fine this season. He was neck-and-neck with Heidfeld in points at the point the German was sacked and he soundly beat him in qualifying. He scored only a few points more after Heidfeld left but the team had badly stumbled in the development-race by then (which also affected Heidfeld in his last races).

      Overall he was consistent – I can think of only two really big mistakes on his part in 2011. More importantly, unlike Trulli he wasn’t just pootling around on track, content with just collecting a paycheck. He was involved in quite a few duels and skirmishes (admittedly not always in the most elegant manner but still). Additionally, Petrov got the short end of the stick several times with bad strategy-decisions and several of his retirements were not his fault (unlike in 2010), so the results -modestly decent as they are- don’t quite reflect his potential.

      Trulli, on the other hand had a terrible first half of 2011 because of the power-steering problems that never troubled Heikki. Worse, he would not stop complaining about them. When the phantom issue was finally sorted he was still nearly as slow and boring. The one thing he always had going for him: his qualifying performance was completely gone: he only outqualified Heikki twice.

      Another couple of points that aren’t really related to performance:
      -Unlike Trulli, Petrov did not complain when things went wrong (except a single interview after the season in which he made valid criticisms). So in my book he’s a more pleasant and deserving personality to have in F1 than Trulli.
      -Both Eric Boullier and Petrov’s management have indicated that he did not like the atmosphere at Enstone (similar complaints came out of Heikki a year ago and also from a few engineers that went elsewhere after the crashgate-debacle). So after putting up with that, like Heikki, he deserves a chance at a professional yet convivial team like Caterham. Kovaleinen thrived there after being disappointing at Renault and McLaren so I’d like to see what Petrov can do there.

    2. Rambala says:

      Truli is aging and complaining all the time rather than trying to prove with the machinery he has got on hand and cannot show case his talent any more.
      Petrov looks a better bet looking into the future.

    3. Steven says:

      The thing is that Petrov has room to grow, but Jarno is a known quntitie, hes not gonna get any faster. He was in a well funded team at Toyota, and that went nowhere. Its not like he hasnt had his chance.

    4. Chapor says:

      Trulli-train anyone? That speaks for itself. Petrov deserves another crack at it imo.

      1. Pyaare says:

        Any idea why Trulli train happened?

      2. Darren says:

        Great in qualifying , but held up a lot of cars looked like a train with all the cars behind him

  10. james encore says:

    Exactly what is Trulli hanging on for ?
    His time at Toyota was marked by decent qualifying followed by sliding back through the field during the races, and it was fairly clear even then that this best days were long behind him when Toyota pulled out. If he hasn’t convinced a back of the grid team that his experience can move them forward then it’s time to free a seat for a new driver.

    1. Richard Mee says:

      ^^^all of this^^^

    2. Martin says:

      Hi James,

      Your point on Trulli’s performane is valid. I just feel that it could be that while he grumbles about getting his butt kicked by Heikki, he still enjoys the speed of F1. If you are getting paid to have fun, why give it up easily?

      Cheers,

      Martin

    3. Pyaare says:

      His time at Toyota was marked by decent qualifying followed by sliding back through the field during the races,
      >> Isn’t that proof he was putting the car way above its capabilities in qualifying and the car inherently was not good enough to sustain that position during the race? In a way that is testimony of Trulli’s capabilities.

      The British ex-driver turned pundit was totally out of place to deride “Trulli train” rather than explaining ignorant fans that its the car that was struggling in race and it was brilliance of Italian that used to result in the car being qualified 4-5th on the grid.

      I am sure if it was British or English speaking driver ( in that order) the English media (and pundits) would have gone at length drumming up the driver and how he out qualified the car….

  11. Kevin Green says:

    With the strides forward in car structure

  12. AMSG says:

    I guess he can fall back on the wine making.

    Looks like someone else will be in the seat this year. No smoke without fire and all that.

  13. Graham Coles says:

    NO NO NO

    His seat shoukld be under threat from RUBENS BARICHELLO

    1. Kevin Green says:

      On race day Barrichello’s seats going to be HRT if any and even thats prob financial backing permitting maybe shumi could sponsor him for playing wingman for so many years during his series of false title accomplishments :) . It will be interesting to see where he lands up if at all in a testing role?? views James Allen???

      1. James Allen says:

        Can’t see him at HRT.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Either can I realistically James but im afraid that appears to be his last chance saloon so to speak HRT could certainly do with him for a season though!

      3. Richard Mee says:

        Unless you know something we don’t i’d take a wager that Reubens will actually go to HRT.

        He’ll be able to convince himself that it is worthwhile. May even drive for free.

        I think he’ll want to put his total starts record safe. And he will also want a proper send-off either this season or maybe next in Brazil.

        Go on, I bet you a copy of the 2012 Review! Ha! ; )

      4. James Allen says:

        You’re on. How come you didn’t buy it anyway?

      5. Kevin Green says:

        I dont see why not from his point of view unless he cant come up with the cash if that turns out to be prime importance to the team, as everyone knows HRT are s**t and it certainly would’nt tarnish his career in anyway as it would be in everyone’s eyes who actually follow/understand F1 other than just race days that its as much a development place as it is another notch come day longer to his record breaking career he certainly should on the basis of maintaining his career record never mind the fact he clearly stated he still enjoy.s F1. I think if the money was available (if req) HRT would have him in.

    2. David says:

      Spot on, it is a great shame Rubens has been dumped and Maldonado staying in will not bring home as many points. Hope Rubens can go to Caterham and help them develop since unlike Trulli Rubens is still fast.

  14. Kevin Green says:

    With the strides forward in car structure safety I reckon wind the clock back a bit and get the cars back more towards mechanical grip and manual transmission’s like in the 80′s when the drivers really were drivers would remove a huge chunk of the ridiculous F1 running costs too and if you didn’t have the best it was more than clear the drivers actual ability there’s more pay as you go drivers than not these days just makes you wonder how many drivers are out there that are actually better than the current F1 line up. More so with F1 being the pinnacle of motor sport the best drivers should be there through raw proven talent as opposed to who you know where you come from and to somewhat of an extent luck. why not put the ridiculous aero development cash into scouting so no stone goes unturned along all the known registered proven racing disciplines. F1 should be finding there way to the best drivers not the other way round its certainly commercial enough now to be going down this path now.

    1. Brisbane Bill says:

      This is what I have been banging on about for several years now, so too Martin Brundle. Reduce the reliance on aero – it doesn’t translate to road cars anyway, focus on drag co-efficient and mechanical grip, do away with expensive carbon brakes and get back to steel discs (increases braking distance and the critical overtaking zone). Increase minimum weight limit and standardise some parts (e.g. steering and suspension control arms) to make them heavier and stronger so that an accidental rub doesn’t cause the suspension to disintegrate at the merest whiff of contact. Trulli might actually be useful then – oh no, wait, no, he is definitely past his use-by date.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Dont agree with the removing of carbon brakes as that relates to on road tech that will probably see its way onto a vast number of high production road cars come time also suspension tech should be unlimited too other than for electronics in brakes transmittions and traction etc (more so for the pure driver,s skill comparison side of things. I just see the Aero so irrelevant in the degree its at just now to the real world and also removing the need for talent to a certain degree in the real world. the cars seem to be betting more brittle in respect to wings etc and so reliant on the function of the parts that when the parts break at speed the cars become so unstable causing Obv safety concerns which to be frank looking at examples so far and close shaves even despite how much safer the cockpits are we have been lucky. Does not matte how much stronger they are Impact is still Impact i just feel there,s been quite a few bullets been dodged a recent Webber and not so long ago kubica crash comes to mind.

      2. Brisbane Bill says:

        Sorry – carbon brakes don’t go on road cars. They need a lot of heat to work efficiently. You don’t get sufficient heat popping down to the shops. Same with ceramic brakes – although they are on performance road cars they are not progressive enough and are on or off with nothing in between at speeds under 50 mph.

        Agree with cars beeing to brittle and fragile, hence the increase to minimum weight.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Well bill guess I better demand my money back from the extortionate money back from my Audi main dealer that I paid for my carbon ceramic brake upgrade they must have been lying huh. By the way the brakes work immensely! Best to know what ones talking about :) who is trying to set lap records when heading to the shops? the tech is there now with Abs/Traction control systems that the brakes can pulse so to speak to keep the heat on its only a matter of time until certain cars will have full carbon brakes and as usual with tech the sky seems to be the limit. Did you imagine you would be doing things online with your phone to the extent you can even just 10 yrs ago?

      4. anonymous says:

        Carbon Brakes are well understood and dumping them would probably cause more trouble than good. Still there is a chance that by enlarging the braking areas they could cause more opportunity for real overtaking.
        Aero is a difficult thing. It depends on how you do it. By introducing the lower plank and restricting the diffusers the FIA has taken downforce off the cars, but the price was that the responsibility for downforce was shifted towards the wings, which are very sensitive to dirty air. In constrast, Indy cars have a flat floor and simple wings, so their downforce is mainly created by the floor, which is less sensitive to dirty air. As a result, they have less problems following each other in the bends. Formula One proposed the “wing car” concept to return in 2014, but that was rejected as the designers had been afraid it would lead to too high levels of downforce, and would be too hard to control. I guess the companies have also thought about their investments in up-to-date aero technology and were simply afraid their incvestments could have been money thrown out of teh window, if the aero would have been dramatically simplified. Personally I think that would be the way to go, even if it was a bold step and will certainly take some experience to restrict it properly.

  15. Jonny Baker says:

    Hi James,

    Good post as always. This is by far the most informative F1 site around at present. Regarding Caterham, what are your views concerning Tony Fernandes’s involvement with QPR? Do you think this could be playing a role in why he is considering Petrov, so he can ease the financial burden? As you mentioned, Petrov’s performances would be similar to Trulli’s, so I would imagine he is thinking he can pocket some sponsorship and still have a driver capable of producing similar results.

    1. James Allen says:

      As I said, you can see the logic in that. But then again Trulli has a contract, so there would be a cost involved in ending that, especially as it would come so late it would affect his chances of finding work elsewhere.

      1. Peter Scandlyn says:

        Maybe there’s an opening at QPR?
        Seems like a way out for TF after Caterham scored an own goal by resigning Trulli too soon.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Would that contract clearly stipulate being in the seat on race day though James as opposed to simply being in the team and getting paid his contractual salary ?

      3. amazon says:

        James, do you still consider petrov better than de cesaris? Because to me they are at a similar level, being de cesaris more crash prone as his name indicates.

      4. James Allen says:

        Weird comparison! Never thought about it.

      5. Brisbane Bill says:

        You’re not serious, are you? Petrov is way better than de Cesaris was. Petrov is through (I believe) his crashing phase and now should be on a bit of an upward trend in performance. De Cesaris was flat line on progress and destroyed a whole mountain of car parts.

      6. amazon says:

        weird!!!? i would say unexpected, wich is usually fun.
        Both drivers had lots of accidents at the begining of their carrers. Both came with big money from sponsors.
        Both got nowhere in f1, but one was there for more tyhan 10 years, the other we have to wait.
        There are sonme similarities, and for me both are at the same level more or less.

      7. DB4Tim says:

        JA…isn’t it an unwritten rule in F1 contracts are not at ALL iron clad …what ever the team wants they get. ANY team !!

      8. Kevin Green says:

        Within reason Tim Tony fernandez is relatively not as well off as the majority of the F1 tycoons from what i understand, not to mention lacking hefty sponsorship and seems to have a lot of expensive current hobbies and a yet to be proven business venture ie Caterham cars. can see his vision of it heading the same way as Mclaren have but cant see it materialising in near the same scale as Mclaren seem to be instantly heading. That is also why i believe there releasing there car 1st to hopefully grab attention and pick up the dream major sponsor. I would not think Trulli would be very expensive to dispose of in relation to f1 costs

      9. Liam in Sydney says:

        James: a question about driver contracts.

        Do drivers normally have a stipulation that if they are cut loose very late before the start of the next season, like Jarno potentially is here, which would likely mean he will not find work elsewhere, that the team would have to pay him more than just the remaing 1 year of salary?

      10. James Allen says:

        Not necessarily, but that’s what a tribunal or civil court would rule if a case were brought.

  16. Andrew Carter says:

    Given his performance over the last two seasons I cant help but feel that Trulli has reached the end of the road in F1, though I dont see Petrov as being much of an improvement.

    Does Italy have any topline drivers coming up through the lower formula at the moment?

    1. Paul says:

      There’s a lot of Italian drivers out there who are decent but none that look like they might break into F1 anytime soon. Possibly Kevin Ceccon who was fortunate to with Auto GP last year. Bortolotti convincingly won F2 last year, but he’s been around a while now and has burned his bridges with both Ferrari and Red Bull. Edo Mortara is very good, but I think he realises his career is in tin tops. Davide Rigon definitely showed promise, but he had little money and was badly injured in an accident in the GP2 race in Turkey last year. I’m not sure he has recovered.

  17. hero_was_senna says:

    I really like Trulli, ever since his debut in 1997.
    A karting champion and German F3 Champion in his first season of car racing suggested a great future.
    Moving from Minardi to Prost for the French GP, and qualifying 6th. Leading and but for a blown engine in Austria would have won the race.
    In 2004, he certainly had the measure of Alonso in qualifying, yet would move backwards during the races, except he was mesmerising to watch in Monaco, a brilliant pole and win that year.
    How many times, over the years, did he out-qualify his car’s real pace but couldn’t keep the same level of performance during races?
    An enigma, and what seems a truly nice man, but his day has passed

    1. Jas says:

      You have well and truely taken the words right out of my mouth!!!

      1. Andrew says:

        I agree with this but feel that if he gets a decent car then his qualifying speed will return. Trulli has had one bad season. Anyone remember the difference in speed with Button when they were at Renault together? He also matched Alonso in qualifying and beat Ralf Schumacher easily.

        Trulli is arguably the fastest qualifier of his generation. What has Petrov or any of the other names being suggested ever done?

        He has had a bad year but deserves to at least start the season. If he’s no better after 3 or 4 races then by all means replace him.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Raikkonen was faster than Montoya who was faster than R Schumacher who was as fast as Trulli so…

    2. anonymous says:

      So often people say it’s the driver who has become slow, but deny the fact that first and foremost it’s the “chemistry” between driver and car that makes a fast couple.
      I don’t think Trulli has become a lot slower with his age, yes, reactions fade, but look at Rubens Barrichelo who is blistering fast and look at Michael Schumacher who still beats his way younger team mate from time to time. I guess that with raising age it gets a bit harder for the drivers to adapt their driving style to a car that doesn’t feel quite right, which means: they need a few laps more. Their experience may help them with honing the car’s setup for their style though, so that will compensate most of it. Compared with their prime, the drivers have maybe lost a tenth a lap, but not more. So give Trulli a car that he truly feels comfortable with and he will beat Kovallainen hands down. Give them a car thats suits Kovallainen better and it will be the other way round. If the car suits both drivers qually good, I do think Kovallainen may have the edge, but I would not bet my money on it.

  18. Husker says:

    I still don’t understand why Catheram signed Trulli for 2012 in the first place. He contributed nothing to the team in 2011 other than his constant moaning about the power steering.

    I would sign Sutil in a second had he not gotten into all the court trouble, but Petrov is a no brainer for the team, he brings in cash and would be closer to Kivakainen than Trulli was in 2011 or will be in 12′ if kept as a racing driver.

    It’s time for Trulli to move on, and it has been for several years now.

    1. Husker says:

      Kovalainen….gee major typo hehe

      1. Kevin Green says:

        experience for development if it was not him it would likely have been the likes of Barrichello or Fisichella or the likes of i reckon husker

      2. Kevin Green says:

        lol not to mention catheram huskler he he

      3. O.S. says:

        Husker – go and look at the driver’s world championship table for 2011, and tell me which Lotus driver finished higher.

        Other than finishing the year as the team’s more successful driver.. I suppose he did contribute nothing!

      4. MAS says:

        That’s due to only his result in Monaco and nothing else. If you really want to play the statistics game then don’t forget the following:

        In qualifying Trulli got smashed 16-2 (often by over half a second in the early season by the way)
        In races that both drivers finished he got soundly beaten 8-3.

        The results of one race hardly make up for taking such a beating, even if it was a race that mattered a lot to the new teams for the championship due to weird circumstances and attrition.

        But what’s more important than the anorak’s perspective is that over the race weekend it was always Kovaleinen who gave the established teams pause. It wasn’t Trulli who was often forcing Sauber, STR, Force India and sometimes Schumacher and Renault to burn up a precious set of soft tires in Q3. And it wasn’t Trulli who on several occasions beat a Williams or a Renault on merit on Sunday.

      5. MAS says:

        whoops, burn up a set of softs in Q1 was what wanted to say. Following qualifying live, you often saw drivers that were on the 15th or slower spots while Kovaleinen was out would often go out for a run on supersofts. The gap to Kovaleinen was often only a tenth or two until such a final run.

    2. Dan Abbitt says:

      But would you risk signing Sutil knowing he has the court case hanging over him? I don’t know enough about the situation to say how likely he is or isn’t to go to jail, but there’s always that possibility.

      In Caterham’s mind, the cost of cancelling Trulli’s contract and then signing Sutil and presumably contributing something to his legal fees just wouldn’t be worth it.

      With Petrov, however, he brings some serious money so it’s a possibility. I think Petrov should get a shot, he seems like a decent guy and isn’t afraid to speak his mind and can be pretty quick!

      1. anonymous says:

        I’d talk to Hamilton and others involved and if I was confident they’d tell me the truth and it wasn’t all that bad, then I’d sign him anyway. Of course the contract would contain a clause to be able to replace him in case of a problem related to the trial, but that’s all. I’d opt for the faster and more experienced driver, always, and if it’s just for a few races or the season pre-tests.

  19. Phil irwin says:

    James, now your a BBC man, maybe you can find out why, despite being (until recently) the uk’s premier media channel for F1, the BBC website is consistently the very last with any F1 news or hot stories. I have three f1 news feed gadgets on my google home page, BBC f1, autosport and espn f1. Autosport and espn are BANG on the minute with breaking stories, the BBC are either hours or days behind the times or don’t even bother to cover the story!!
    Please sort them out.
    Surely they should have better access than the other two given their contract with FOM.

    Thanks
    Phil.

  20. Tom says:

    James, what’s your view on Sutils prospects? Personally I’d rather put him in the second Caterham seat – he brings some cash & certain performance – but he seems tainted goods in F1 circles thanks to the Lux incident?

    Petrov is certainly a better choice than Trulli based on 2011 form, but it seems a shame that Sutil is being overlooked.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not looking great. I’m hearing from teams that the court case in Germany is not helping.

    2. K says:

      “Personally I’d rather put him in the second Caterham seat – he brings some cash & certain performance – but he seems tainted goods in F1 circles thanks to the Lux incident?

      Petrov is certainly a better choice than Trulli based on 2011 form, but it seems a shame that Sutil is being overlooked.”

      Yer, good idea Tom, sign up Sutil then leave yourself without a driver to drive the second car.

      1. Tom says:

        I was talking about the merits of Petrov/Sutil versus Trulli for the second Caterham seat – the first being Kovalainen…

  21. Richard D says:

    Trulli’s time in F1 does seem to have passed. Wilst he has managed an odd win here or there he has never really delivered reliably when he had opportunities in some decent cars. That said, of the recent batch of new drivers Petrov is one that has least impressed. There are a number of better drivers in the reject pile from 2011. I don’t like seeing drives being allocated on the basis of money that a driver brings with him.

  22. VanDhloms says:

    I think it would make sense to keep Trulli for the remaining part of his contract. He’s good enough to develop and set the base line for the new car with Renault drive chain. In a sense the team is not yet a race winning team so there’s not much Petrov would do that Trulli cannot do. Petrov is lacking a bit of technical experience which is what the team needs at the moment. If the car is good Heikki will show it on track, once Tony is happy with fundamental performance of the car he can look for quicker and maybe paying driver to replace Trulli in 2013. Petrov is a good guy but I don’t think he’s got what it takes to be an F1 driver, other than money of course.

  23. Paul says:

    Petrov or Trulli – talk about an uninspiring choice! Sutil, Alguersuari, Barrichello and Heidfeld would all be much better options with recent F1 experience.

    I don’t understand why Petrov though. The team made a big deal out of not chasing the cash and picking experienced race winners when they debuted and now they are contemplating Petrov?

    I don’t understand why Marussia don’t seem to be doing anything to snare Petrov either. It would make sense for him to lead a Russian national team. I wonder if they regret signing Pic because they must have been fairly sure Vitaly was staying at Renault. Is there any remote possibility that Petrov could go to Marussia and Glock to Caterham?

    1. Janis says:

      Indeed.
      However, Trulli has always been highly regarded for his car setup skills. He will adjust and tinker, and if managed to get the car to his liking, could be blindingly quick. One should not forget he was beating Alonso in Renault before Briattore decided to get rid of him!
      Sure, that was several years ago, still in my book Trulli is well above Petrov’s hard headed approach to racing.
      I suspect though, Petrov may have come up with some very lucrative financial proposals – which may or may not materialize in reality, but still will sound very tempting…

  24. Rich C says:

    I’d be very interested in seeing the actual wording of F1 contracts in general.

    Do you suppose there might be an old one just lying around somewhere that we could see?

    Or even that you could comment upon, James?

    1. Werewolf says:

      I suspect all contracts are different but I seem to remember there being some talk, when Trulli was announced for 2012, that everyone seemed careful to avoid specifically confirming the contract was for an actual race seat.

  25. DMyers says:

    The thing that bugs me about ‘stories’like this is that we are told that driver X is linked to team Y, but nobody reports where the story comes from and why. Tittle-tattle isn’t news and it isn’t interesting, but that’s just my opinion :)

  26. Franco says:

    With the lack of F1 news I think this is could be newspaper talk although we all know contracts can be broken and if the sponsorship money Petrov can bring is substantial it  may result in TF taking the money and paying off Trulli.  Remember guys TF also has other interest outside F1 and I bet owning QPR is not cheap especially as he has to buy players in this January transfer window to have a hope in staying in the premiership

  27. Werewolf says:

    I can see the logic but I doubt Petrov will bring any more speed or development expertise but I could be wrong. Trulli seems to need the right car to shine.

    I’m beginning to dislike this team. There’s been the name game, the broken promises to Chandhok and now various apparent efforts to replace a recently-signed driver. Hopefully, Kovalainen will prove himself again this year and get a really good drive elsewhere.

  28. Adam T says:

    It would be interesting to see if Caterham value Russia as a market they would like to exploit, this I think will be the deciding factor, not just the potential money that he may bring to the team

  29. Andrew Barker says:

    All this talk about Trulli being replaced by Petrov,Sutil what about Anthony Davidson? British driver in a British team he has just become available after Peugeot’s demise. People say that Bruno Senna deserves a chance then Davidson sure does he should be in Formula one now anyway any thoughts James ? Or anyone else for that matter?

    1. Werewolf says:

      Good point, I always felt Davidson never really got a fair chance (nothing unusual in that I suppose).

      1. James Allen says:

        He’s certainly not the only one…

      2. Andrew Barker says:

        I mean Just think of that qualifying lap at Turkey in a super Aguri 11th place that must have been some lap !!!

  30. Spyros says:

    We have a good benchmark in that team, with Kovalainen, if the swap happens, we will see.

    I really can’t see the Russian being anywhere near the Finn, in performance.

  31. Alexis says:

    “On Monday I have a seat fitting at the factory. The team has said nothing to me and until I hear something then the situation is as before”

    Oh dear. If he’d tweeted ‘had a seat fitting today at the factory’ and left it at that, I might be less sceptical. It’s worrying that he’s commenting at all if he’s got a contract. I don’t hear any other contracted driver saying such things.

  32. AB says:

    The fact that Caterham have no moved to hose down the rumour speaks louder than any words that Trulli has to say imo

  33. Denis says:

    Italy’s economic crisis has nothing to do with no Italian driver’s in F1 as Italian drivers have always struggled to obtain any sponsorship from corporate Italy (even in their good economic times).

    They have good young talented drivers like Mirko Bortolotti (FIA Formula Two Champion 2011) and Kevin Ceccon (Auto GP Champion 2011)but without any financial backing where do they go from here?.

    Why doesn’t Ferrari sponsor these young talented Italian drivers, or their owners Fiat through one of their many brands (Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Chrysler, Lancia, Iveco, Case New Holland etc)?.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Being Italian, I have family and had access to Italian papers for some years.
      When it comes to motorsport, Italy only cares about Ferrari, the Italian drivers aren’t that important.

      The only motorsport figure outside of Ferrari that matters in Italy is Valentino Rossi. This being mainly because the man is charismatic and a winner.

  34. K says:

    “It’s an important moment for Italian motorsport too, because if Trulli is sidelined, as is looking increasingly likely, there would not be an Italian driver on the F1 grid, which is hard to believe given the country’s place in the sport.”

    Trulli only puts Italy to shame, being a mediocre driver and deliver below par performances. Italy and F1 will do better without him. Even Barrichello is waaaay better than him given RB is better than Trulli here.

    He should just move on in life and leave F1, there are other drivers who deserve his seat more.

  35. Roo F1 says:

    T & P are two equally uninspiring, dull and future-less drivers. Give Ricciardo a seat for the sake of sponsors, fans and results.

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s already got one at Toro Rosso!!

      1. Roo F1 says:

        Sorry… g’duh… I meant should have been given before when they had a chance ;-)

  36. Andrew Kirk says:

    Hi James anyone who are sad to see without a seat for next year? Barrichello? Heidfeld? (the most underrated driver ever in my view) the two Toro Rosso boys?

    1. James Allen says:

      Interesting question – Alguersuari improved a lot second half of last season and deserved more of a chance. But if Red Bull are only interested in the next Vettel, you can understand why that wasn’t enough.

      Rubens has had a great run, unprecedented even. He hit the 300 GPs mark, I don’t think he can ask for much more.

      Kubica is the one whom F1 misses the most. He should be in a competitive car mixing it with Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Button. It’s a huge shame that it hasn’t worked out that way for various reasons, not least injury

      1. Andrew Kirk says:

        Thanks for the reply

        I feel bad for Alguersuari who was just coming into his own in F1 but the sport is ruthless as I am sure you are more than aware of.

        With Kubica it is a crying shame he is not in an F1 car as we shall never truly know his level. I for one cannot see him back in one of those cars after such a massive accident and serious injuries. Cannot see a team like Ferrari taking a shot at him given he will be rusty in race craft and there will question marks over his fitness.

      2. Jon Wilde says:

        Not James but;

        Alguersuari- he was becoming interesting. He’ll still be in F1 this year as 3rd Driver for Mercedes, but I doubt he’ll actually race.

        Kubica – No question. But he’ll also get a 3rd driver role when he recovers from Massa pushing him over in Italy a few weeks ago.

        D’Ambrosio – Also probably a third driver with Lotus, but I would have likes to see him get another season.

        Liuzzi – Unlikely he’ll be driving now I guess. He deserved a season in a half decent car.

        Chandock – His 0.8 seasons in F1 never really gave a lot for a fan to go on, but he is highly knowledagble and seems like a great team player.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Massa pushing him over lol tell us more was’nt a cunning move to safeguard his seat for sure at ferrari this season was it? :) kubica must be kicking himself now (if he could) silly man he was right up there with the absolute best pre rally crash :(

  37. Henry says:

    Hi James,
    A quick question (and its possible that I have missed something here) but you say:

    “…if Trulli is sidelined, as is looking increasingly likely, there would not be an Italian driver on the F1 grid…”

    Is Liuzzi definitely not driving for HRT? I didn’t think they had finalised the line up yet?

  38. Adam says:

    As Caterham management are not publicly denying these rumours, I fear that Trulli is simply being kept in the dark while the team negotiates.

    Trulli’s performance suggests the team have nothing to lose by trying a fresh driver, and Petrov would provide them the finances to buy Trulli out of his contract.

  39. eric says:

    James, I’ve always thought Trulli is much like Button. A solid driver, but one who needs the car to fit in the narrow window necessary for him to access his best. If so, the speed is there. Would you agree? And what is your overall impression of the Italian?

    1. anonymous says:

      I’m not James, but I certainly would.

  40. Andy C says:

    Had this discussion been two weeks ago, and someone asked me whether tony would replace a key member of his team who already had a contract I’d have said no.

    Now Mr Warnock can attest to contracts and their solidity when underperforming.

    For what its worth I think Petrov is a quick driver. I cant see him ever reaching WDC status, but there are plenty of drivers out there who’ve had long careers in F1 without that.

    I’d like to see Jarnos seat go to either Alguersuari or for Lotus to take one of the numerous excellent youngsters out there. Robbie Wickens etc etc.

  41. Methusalem says:

    What about, Nick Heidfeld? Nobody seems to talk about him lately — remember he was always better than R. Kubica.

    1. Henry says:

      The difference being that Kubica managed to win a race where as Nick finished second more times than any other driver who has never won a race…hes consistent I’m just not sure he has that last little bit of “je ne sais quoi”…

  42. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    Reserve drivers also need seat fittings Jarno…

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