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2012-02-20 07:53

BACK THEN... Jarno Trull when he raced for Lotus - now he's just another Italian ex-F1 driver.

Barnaby Chesterman

ROME, Italy - Jarno Trulli has accused Italy of burying its head in the sand and failing to foresee or stave off the situation that has left the country without an F1 driverr for the first time since 1969.

The 37-year-old has been ditched by Caterham in favour of Vitaly Petrov just two weeks after Vitantonio Liuzzi was dumped by Hispania. That means F1's only Italian representatives this season will be constructors Ferrari and Toro Rosso.

For Trulli, though, this is a situation that his country should have seen coming. "It's a shame to have F1 without an Italian driver. I'm disappointed but it's not my problem.


"Others need to take responsibility for this penury, something which didn't start yesterday but upon which everyone has been sleeping. In Italy we don't have a system that helps drivers to reach the top level so it's normal that we've arrived in a situation such as this.

"There is talent but if they're not supported by anyone then they don't have any hope. I want to see more involvement from everyone but during a crisis as we have in our country, I can't see how a youngster can find the help needed to be considered by any team."

And Trulli claimed that a team such as Caterham, rebranded for 2012 from Team Lotus, cannot afford to overlook drivers who bring with them significant financial backing from personal sponsors.

"I'm not personally disappointed," Trulli added. "I was ready for the divorce with Caterham and I knew of the difficult economic situation that would force the team to look for a driver with adequate backing. The small teams have certain needs and contracts speak for themselves.

"I hope that with Petrov's contribution everyone who works there can have a more tranquil future."


Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali insisted his team was trying to find the next generation of Italian drivers.

"I'm very disappointed that after so many years there is no longer an Italian driver in F1," he said. "It's a difficult time due to external factors but a few years ago we started a long-term project thanks to our driver academy to try to develop a new generation of drivers."

Italy produced two of the first three World champions: Giuseppe Farina won the inaugural F1 season in 1950 and Alberto Ascari  back-to-back titles in 1952 and 1953. However the country has never won another driver's title despite Ferrari being the most successful constructor.

Italy is only ninth on the all-time list of drivers titles with three, a long way behind Britain in top spot with 14.

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