- Lotus news
Lotus looking to extend Trulli's contract
Tony Fernandes has revealed that Lotus is in talks with Jarno Trulli to extend his contract at the team beyond the end of the season, despite the Italian being replaced by Karun Chandhok at this weekend's German Grand Prix.
Trulli will make way for Chandhok in order to let the team test the Indian driver in race conditions, but will return to the Lotus cockpit for the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend. Fernandes thanked Trulli for moving aside and said an extension of his contract would be announced soon.
"I want to take this chance to thank Jarno for helping make Karun's opportunity this weekend possible," said Fernandes. "He has been extremely accommodating in stepping to the side for this race and our commitment to him is unwavering. I am delighted to confirm that we are in the process of negotiating an extension to his contract with us and we are all looking forward to unveiling the details of that very soon.
"He is a key member of our team and I hope that we can give him a car as soon as possible that allows him to utilise his considerable talent to the full. For this weekend he will be on hand to lend his huge experience and support to Karun and I am sure Jarno, Heikki and Karun will do me, the whole team and all our fans very proud indeed."
Trulli will work alongside Chandhok to help him during his first race weekend since the British Grand Prix last year.
"I'm looking forward to working with Karun this weekend and doing whatever I can to help him get the most out of his opportunity in Germany," Trulli said. "It's great that the team is true to its word of helping develop young talent, particularly from parts of the world where it is even harder to break through into the top rung of motorsport, so I'll be there to give him guidance and assistance, in and out of the car."
Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said part of Chandhok's job this weekend would be to analyse the T128's troublesome power steering system, which has been Trulli's main bugbear with the chassis this season.
"Jarno will be stepping aside for him for this race and we will use Karun's feedback over the weekend as a comparison against Jarno's and Heikki's experiences this season with a number of aspects of the car, including the power steering system, to help us keep moving forward in 2011 and beyond," he said. "I am sure Karun will equip himself very well in this and in his performances in and out of the car all weekend. The whole team is looking forward to helping him get the most out of his time in the cockpit in Germany and it will be good to see him grab this chance and make the most of it."