Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Jarno Trulli believes Fernando Alonso made the right decision in returning to Renault.

Trulli spent two seasons as Alonso's team-mate at Renault in 2003 and 2004, before switching to Toyota towards the end of the latter year.

The French marque then helped Alonso become world champion in 2005 and 2006 before his ill-fated move to McLaren for last season.

An ignominious campaign culminated in a bitter fall-out between Alonso and team boss Ron Dennis, ultimately resulting in the 26-year-old being released at the end of the year.

Despite the saying, 'you should never go back', Alonso now finds himself in familiar surroundings again - despite the fact Renault endured a poor season by their previously high standards last year.

"Fernando is a champion, so we can expect him to be fighting at the front. But then Renault has to deliver a good car, which was not the case in 2007," said Trulli - speaking at the launch in Cologne of Toyota's new challenger for 2008, the TF108.

"I think last season they suffered the same problem as Toyota in that they under-estimated the tyre and the influence that had on the car performance.

"I'm sure they've been working hard over the winter to give him a good car, just as hard as Toyota have been working to give me and Timo (Glock) the best possible car.

"Obviously, I wasn't involved in his situation last season - so I don't know the full facts behind it.

"But it is clear things didn't go very well between them, and in the end they decided to split.

"Whether it is right or wrong, that is hard to say. But it's just a shame to see what happened.

"That's the way it is and better for him to have stepped back and returned to his old team."

There were suggestions Alonso's Latin temperament did not help in a team more accustomed to adhering to protocol.

"Whatever your character, you have to get on well with a lot of people in Formula One," added Trulli.

"There are so many people working on two racing cars, and you have to communicate well in this environment.

"Probably there was something wrong in the relationship, but I cannot judge.

"Of course, I am of Latin temperament as well - although probably a bit more polite and quiet. I try to get on well with everyone."

As the experienced older head in the Toyota team following the departure of Ralf Schumacher and arrival of rookie Glock, Trulli is aware of the responsibility on his shoulders.

With Toyota looking to end six winless seasons in F1, the 33-year-old Italian said: "I am the one who provides continuity - so the team will expect good feedback, especially in the first half of the season.

"But Toyota does not rely on one leader. We have never had, and never will have a leader, because the Toyota concept means you are part of the team - one team, one aim."

With 25-year-old German Glock on board, Trulli insists he is not under added pressure to perform.

"In Formula One there is always pressure. It doesn't matter who you have next to you or in front of you," he added.

"But I'm happy to have Timo on board, because he is very motivated and is someone who will help develop the car."

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