You may think that one-time grand prix winner Jarno Trulli would decide the mount that took him to his solely success as his all-time favorite automotive – much more so if the backdrop for that success was Monaco. However the Italian driver as a substitute plumps for the ultimate actually aggressive automotive of his Components 1 tenure, the Toyota TF109 of 2009.
The Renault R24 during which he scored his first and solely F1 win in 2004 was, in Trulli’s phrases, “extraordinarily good solely at Monaco, which is a selected circuit”. Alternatively, the double diffuser-equipped TF109 was “the best-handling automotive I ever had”.
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He provides: “I examined the automotive very early and instantly, with out having any reference to every other automotive, I may really feel it will be aggressive. It was the type of automotive that offers you the sensation you’ll be able to push, with a superb entrance finish and with good traction on nook exit.”
Trulli scored three podium finishes on his option to eighth within the drivers’ standings with the TF109, his greatest inserting since taking seventh in 2005. As in that season when F1 mandated tyres needed to final a full grand prix distance, Toyota additionally completed fifth within the constructors’ in 2009. However its success was front-loaded – after the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, Trulli was fourth within the drivers’ and Toyota third within the constructors’ desk, solely a degree behind Crimson Bull.
There have been two primary components behind its subsequent drop-off, in line with Trulli. The primary was that the TF109, whereas nice to drive, was inconsistent.
“I used to be on pole place at Bahrain with [team-mate] Timo Glock second, however two races later at Monaco, we had been each on the again row,” he remembers. “It was an odd automotive in that sense. However when it was working, it was very good to drive.”
The second was merely that Toyota, which was one of many three double diffuser groups at first of the season together with Brawn GP and Williams, was out-developed by its rivals – notably Ferrari and McLaren, which each outscored Toyota by the tip of the season.
Photograph by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images
At all times famend as a qualifying specialist, Trulli claimed pole on the 2009 Bahrain GP within the TF109
“The TF109 was very aggressive at first of the season, however we missed a little bit of fixed evolution when it comes to upgrades,” explains Trulli. “The double diffuser was most likely one of many issues that helped, and the very fact everybody else cocked up. However then, after the primary 4 races, in Europe everybody was bringing large upgrades, and that’s the place we missed out. Everybody caught up and began getting forward of us.”
Trulli additionally factors out that, in contrast to the Ferrari and McLaren, Toyota was not geared up with a KERS system in what was the primary 12 months that the know-how was allowed.
“I’m not saying it was a superb or dangerous resolution,” he causes, “however whenever you fought intently with one other automotive that had KERS, for instance the McLaren, which was not pretty much as good a automotive because the Toyota, they had been a lot faster on the straight. That made all the things extra sophisticated racing-wise.”
“When the rain got here I made a transparent name to go on intermediate tyres. The crew, with out telling me, put me on heavy wets and Timo Glock on intermediates. He was ninth, however he completed the race second. I used to be second and I ended up fourth” Jarno Trulli
Trulli agrees with the notion that Toyota might need reconsidered withdrawing from F1 had it been capable of rating a grand prix victory in 2009. Whereas Bahrain is commonly cited because the race that acquired away from the marque, Trulli cites the rain-soaked Malaysian GP as the true missed probability: “I actually deserved to win, as a result of I used to be preventing with [eventual winner] Jenson Button and when the rain got here I made a transparent name to go on intermediate tyres.
“The crew, with out telling me, put me on heavy wets and Timo Glock on intermediates. He was ninth, however he completed the race second. I used to be second and I ended up fourth. They actually screwed up – it will have been a straightforward win. After that, we had been shut once more, like in Japan [where Trulli finished second], however we had been by no means fairly adequate.”
That proved to be not solely Toyota’s final probability to win, but additionally for Trulli so as to add to his one and solely F1 victory. Following Toyota’s departure on the finish of 2009, the now-49-year-old would wrestle on in F1 for 2 extra years, lumbered with uncompetitive Lotus equipment, earlier than bowing out after 2011 with 252 begins to his identify.
“I’ve some regrets as a result of issues may have gone in another way, however that’s the way in which it’s,” he concludes.
Photograph by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Trulli believes he ought to have received at Sepang in 2009 if he’d been put onto the inters he’d requested for