Born in Pescara, in the Abruzzo region of Italy, on 13 July 1974, Jarno Trulli has been competing regularly in F1 racing since 1997, having driven for Minardi, Jordan, Prost, Renault and Toyota. Trulli’s parents were motor sport fans, as is evident by the fact that he was named after Finnis Grand Prix motorcyclist Jarno Saarinen. His father encouraged him to get involved in the sport, which led to him competing in karting from a young age. He proved to be a talented driver, winning Italian and European karting championships before moving on to Formula Three and winning the German championship in 1996.
It was in 1997 that Trulli made his F1 debut driving for Minardi. Seven races into the season he was called upon to replace injured Prost driver Olivier Panis, and made quite an impression right from the beginning as he finished fourth in Germany and looked set to take second place in Austria, but never finished the race due to engine trouble. For the following two seasons Trulli stayed with the Prost team, taking his first podium position at the 1999 European Grand Prix.
In 2000 Trulli signed with Jordan, and despite a series of awesome qualifying displays, he failed claim a podium finish. This gave rise to some suggesting that he was a qualifying specialist, not having what it takes to successfully complete a race. This reputation followed him when, as a member of the Renault team in 2002, he often out-qualified team-mate Jenson Button, but didn’t quite make the grade in races. Nevertheless, Trulli remained with Renault for the 2003 season as team-mate to Fernando Alonso, who had been promoted from test-driver. In Germany, Trulli achieved a podium finish, being his first with the team. In 2004, Trulli made a vast improvement and for at least the first half of the season was the stronger driver in the Renault team, taking a first-place victory at Monaco. Trulli had his sights set on remaining with the Renault team for 2005, but a lack of judgment on the last corner of the French Grand Prix allowed Rubens Barrichello to take first place and set Trulli at odds with the team-boss Briatore. Subsequent lackluster performances resulted in Trulli parting company with Renault with three races of the season to go.
Trulli had, however, already negotiated with Toyota to drive for them in 2005, and replaced Ricardo Zonta for the final two races of the 2004 season. 2005 started out well for Trulli, with excellent qualifying times earning him one pole and thirteen grid-slots in the top five. He took second place in both Malaysia and Bahrain, scoring Toyota’s best results to date, but finished seventh in the final standings. Trulli did not have a good season in 2006, and still driving for Toyota, he finished twelfth in the standings, being two places below team-mate Ralf Schumacher. 2007 saw Trulli clocking up superb qualifying speeds, but his TF207’s performance was not up to scratch and he finished the year thirteenth overall.
Toyota’s performance showed a marked improvement in 2008, and Trulli scored in 10 of the 18 races of the season, with an encouraging third place in France. Trulli finished the 2008 season in ninth position overall, six points ahead of team-mate Timo Glock. Despite the Toyota TF109’s inconsistent performance in 2009, Trulli managed podium finishes in Australia and Bahrain, ending the season with a second-place finish in Japan. With the withdrawal of Toyota from F1 racing, Trulli signed for the new Lotus team for 2010. The first race of the season at Bahrain, saw Trulli retiring from the race after 26 laps due to hydraulics problems. But with a whole season’s racing ahead, auto racing fans are no doubt keen to see if Jarno Trulli can overcome his reputation, and keep up the pace through the race.
With the European Grand Prix starting at a new venue on Sunday, it was hard to predict who’d race the circuit the best and come out on top. The new circuit took the cars around the harbor streets of Valencia, Spain, providing a scenic backdrop to an exciting race. In the end it was Felipe Massa who took the checkered flag.
Massa didn’t just win the race – he dominated it. Starting from pole position, the Brazilian claimed the fastest lap time and also the victory before the day was done. The win has also pushed Massa up in his bid for the FIA F1 World Driving Championship, since he has now overtaken teammate Kimi Raikkonen and shifted from third to second in the rankings. Despite the fact that Massa was in the lead for the vast majority of the race, his position was not uncontested. Lewis Hamilton wasn’t going to give up without a fight and he chased Massa throughout the race, finishing hot on his tail almost six seconds behind. As if that wasn’t enough to threaten his position at the head of the pack, race stewards considered a Ferrari pit-lane infraction once the race was over; Massa’s pit team released him almost straight into Sutil on the second stop. There was a period of time where fans and crew members sat with bated breath, wondering if Massa would be stripped of his victory. In the end a fine of 10 000 euro was imposed on Massa which he took with a grin, remarking that the fine would ultimately give him an advantage over Sutil since it meant that he had to always let Massa pass him. After all that, Massa was finally able to claim the winner’s trophy.
Driving for BMW Sauber, Robert Kubica managed to finish third, having to first recover from a collision into Hamilton on the first corner. He was followed over the finish line by Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) and Jarno Trulli (Toyta). Kimi Raikkonen must have been very disappointed with his run as he was unable to complete the race when his Ferrari F2008 blew its engine just eleven laps from the finish line. He was kept in good company by Fernando Alonso, whose Renault suffered major damage after being smashed into by Kazuki Nakajima near the beginning of the race, and Adrian Sutil who overshot a corner and ended up in the tires.
Formula One racing fans no doubt already know the results of this weekend’s racing at Magny-Cours: Felipe Massa took the checkered flag followed closely by Kimi Raikkonen, with Jarno Trulli coming it at third place. Let us recap on this weekend’s magnificent racing.
The French Grand Prix started with Lewis Hamilton at 13th on the grid. After his recent atrocious accident in the pit lane in Canada, many would argue that it’s only fair that he starts further back than he is used to. The position is, in fact, the lowest grid placing he has ever had in his career. During the race he managed to wrack up another penalty by charging through the field a bit too early – he made up three places by the end of the first lap! Unfortunately for Hamilton, race stewards felt that his pass on Sebastian Vettel was not within the rules and so they penalized him and this crushed any hope of him finishing in the top eight. The Briton seemed to be so eager to make up ground that he even bumped tires with Fernando Alonso at one point. In the end he managed to finish tenth and he now trails winner Felipe Massa by just ten points.
As usual, the red Ferraris led the pack for most of the race. Felipe Massa and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen spent much of the race vying for first place and it was clear that they were in a league of their own. For much of the race it seemed that Raikkonen had the upper hand. He was able to pull away from his team mate after the first round of pit stops and it appeared as if Massa would not be able to catch him. However, with each passing lap Massa slowly closed the gap – mainly due to the fact that Raikkonen had managed to damage his rear tailpipe. Just past the halfway point, Massa was able to make his move and overtake Raikkonen, putting himself in first place. He stayed in first place for the rest of the race with Raikkonen only just managed to drift over the finish line in second after his tailpipe worked loose ten laps from the end of the race.
Massa’s victory at the Circuit de Nevers was no small feat. For the first time in his six-season career he is now leading the Formula One world championship; he is the first Brazilian to top the driver’s standings in 15 years. Massa’s hero Ayrton Senna was the last person from his country to do this. This was also the first time in ten years that a Toyota has been able to join the Ferraris on the podium. Jarno Trulli had to work really hard to keep McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen behind him in the closing laps, but he managed to do so despite some light rain. All in all it was a great and unpredictable race.