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.”