Trulli expecting tough challenge at Japanese Grand Prix
SUZUKA (Japan): Italian Jarno Trulli admitted on Thursday that it will be difficult for him to put in a strong performance on his debut for Toyota in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Trulli, who won this year’s Monaco Grand Prix for Renault, left the Anglo-French team after the Italian Grand Prix last month and signed to race for Germany-based Toyota in 2005.
He missed the last race in China two weeks ago and has completed limited testing ahead of his return to the grid in new colours this weekend as a replacement for test driver Brazilian Ricardo Zonta. And he admitted: “When you jump in a new team and you go to a race after three days’ testing it’s not going to be easy, especially here in Japan at Suzuka and especially with a wet track as we are expecting.
“The team so far has been really nice to me and I’ve had a very warm welcome but it is not going to be an easy weekend because everything changes, the car, the team, it’s all new.
“I think I moved pretty quickly, but it’s just a question of time to take the car to the limit. It is a new adventure and in all adventures you are very motivated you can see people are positive.” Trulli first tested for Toyota at Silverstone before the Chinese Grand Prix and took part in a three-day test in Jerez last week, in which he completed 111 laps on the final day.
But the Italian driver, who made his Grand Prix debut in 1997 and has competed in 126 races, admitted he still has plenty more to learn about driving his new machine. “I think I made a good step from when I first started testing the car at Silverstone, but it’s never enough, especially when you’re driving such a quick car,” said Trulli.
“When you drive a Formula One car it is not like sitting in a road car and just driving it. At 300 kph (188 mph), things happen very quickly, you have to have a good feeling with the car, you’ve got to be extremely confident. “Also, the visual things, when you’re sitting in a new car, despite the fact that you are so concentrated on driving and the feeling of the car, everything has to be quite natural and it takes time before you can settle in.” Trulli insisted he does not feel the need to make an immediate impression and said he is feeling no greater pressure from making his debut on the team’s home ground in Japan this weekend. The team’s best result so far this season was Olivier Panis’ fifth place in the United States Grand Prix in June and Trulli admitted: “We all want to show good things but obviously we know our limits.” afp