Monday, March 21, 2011

Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli (born July 13, 1974 in Pescara, Abruzzo) is an Italian Formula One racing driver. He has been a regular in Formula One since 1997, driving for Minardi, Prost, Jordan, Renault and Toyota. He won the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix for Renault, his only Grand Prix victory to date. He is known for being a qualification expert. After Toyota pulled out of the sport, following the 2009 season, having received no offers from any of the remaining teams, he signed up to race for Lotus Racing in 2010.After winning the Italian and then European kart championships he won the German Formula Three championship in 1996, and in 1997 made his debut in F1 with Minardi. After 7 races he replaced the injured Olivier Panis at Prost and impressed immediately, finishing fourth in Germany and even leading in Austria, looking set to finish second until his engine blew. He stayed at the Prost team for the next two seasons and eventually scored his first podium in wet conditions at the 1999 European Grand Prix. However, this was a rare highlight in a race few of the main front-runners finished, and the poor performance of the Prost team convinced him that a switch to Jordan would bring improved results.

In 2000 he moved to the Irish squad, but the team was no longer the force it had been in the late 1990s. In his two years with Jordan, Trulli failed to score a podium, but did impress with a series of brilliant qualifying displays. During this period suggestions were made that Trulli was more of a qualifying specialist than an out-and-out fast race driver, a charge he frequently denied. Under long-term contract to personal manager (and Renault manager) Flavio Briatore, Trulli secured a contract with the Anglo-French squad for 2002.Alongside Jenson Button, he often outqualified his British teammate, but was generally shaded in races. Regardless of Button's improved pace that season, it was Trulli who stayed at Renault for 2003 to partner promoted test-driver Fernando Alonso. The 2003 Renault was a strong car and in Alonso's hands won in Hungary. Trulli struggled to attain similar results, but did achieve a podium in Germany, his first since leaving Prost.In 2005, early season podiums demonstrated Trulli's speed and at Indianapolis he took Toyota's first F1 pole (albeit with very low fuel). For the vast majority of the year he outpaced highly paid team-mate Ralf Schumacher, but a late season dip in form saw him slip to seventh in the championship, two points behind the German.n 2006, Trulli suffered a very poor start to the season. On the first lap of the 2006 Australian Grand Prix, he was taken out by David Coulthard. He seemed to be outpaced by team-mate Ralf Schumacher more often than not, but his reputation was restored when he raced to 6th from 4th on the grid at the Canadian Grand Prix. Following this was a 4th place in the United States Grand Prix. From then on, he would only score 3 more times, with a couple of 7th place finishes in the German Grand Prix and the Italian Grand Prix and also a 6th place in the Japanese Grand Prix. There was even bad luck here, as his car became troublesome to drive mid-race, and Ralf Schumacher was delayed in the process. Trulli was racing very well in the season finale at Interlagos, but bad luck robbed him again, as his car suffered suspension failure in only the first 10 laps, a fate which befell his team-mate at the same time. He finished 12th overall.

Trulli scored his first points of 2007 in Malaysia, finishing in 7th place after qualifying 8th. A couple more points followed in Bahrain, but he stalled on the grid at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix and dropped out during the early laps due to mechanical failure. Monaco brought no better fortune for Trulli, as he finished down in 15th place, just ahead of team-mate Schumacher, after qualifying his season-worst 14th. Points were collected by Trulli at the Indianapolis for 6th place. After a series of non-scoring runs, Trulli said that the result was 'incredible'. He also qualified well for the French Grand Prix but crashed with the Renault of Heikki Kovalainen on the opening lap, and duly retired because of the damage. Trulli accepted the blame for the incident. The second half of the season was disappointing with Trulli's only point coming in the final race of the season at Brazil.In 2008, Trulli was hoping Toyota would make a big step forward. Timo Glock was confirmed as his team-mate for the season. Trulli started the season quite well, with several points scoring finishes, the height of which was a fourth place finish in Malaysia. Trulli's qualifying performances were also very good throughout the first few rounds of the Championship. His form then slumped a little, with disappointing performances in Turkey and Monaco, as he finished in non-points scoring positions.Trulli was confident going into 2009. In the first race of the 2009 season, the Toyotas of Trulli and Glock started the race from the pitlane as their qualifying times were disallowed due to Toyota's flexible rear wing breaching regulations. Although Trulli started from the pit lane, he finished in an impressive 3rd place before being penalised 25 seconds, dropping him to 12th position for passing Lewis Hamilton under the safety car. On 14 December 2009, Trulli was confirmed as one of the newly-formed Lotus team's drivers, joining former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen. He only finished one of the opening four races, a weaker reliability record than Kovalainen, leading him to note that "everything happens on my car and my car only – so to this day, my expectations have not been met". At the launch of the Lotus T127, Trulli admitted in an interview with Autosport that US F1 and Sauber had been in contact with him. In late 2009, Trulli was asked to test a NASCAR stock car in North America for Toyota. The car was set-up by Michael Waltrip Racing. He will continue to drive for Lotus Racing in 2011, again partnering Heikki Kovalainen.

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