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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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1
Adrian Newey Jnr

Reserve drivers also need seat fittings Jarno…

2

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

3

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”…

4

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.

5

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?

6

I’m not James, but I certainly would.

7

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.

8

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?

9

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?

10

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

11

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.

12

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 🙁

13

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.

14

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

15

He’s already got one at Toro Rosso!!

16

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

17

“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.

18

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)?.

19

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.

20

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

21

“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.

22

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.

23

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?

24

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

25

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

26

He’s certainly not the only one…

27

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

28

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.

29

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

30

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 🙂

31

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?

32

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.

33

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?

34

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…

35

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.

37

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.

38

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.

39

“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.

40

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

41

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

42

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.

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