The reason for Italian Jarno Trulli’s premature departure from Renault this week has been revealed… As expected, the Italian has joined Toyota - and will test for the team at Silverstone on Thursday.

The reason for Italian Jarno Trulli’s premature departure from Renault this week has been revealed… As expected, the Italian has joined Toyota - and will test for the team at Silverstone on Thursday.


The Panasonic Toyota Racing team confirmed that Trulli would join the team “as a race driver from 2005”. The Italian signed a two-year contract on Tuesday at Toyota Motorsport's headquarters in Cologne, which will see him partner Ralf Schumacher next year.


Trulli, the winner of this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, will drive a Toyota TF104 for the first time at the Silverstone. The team plans for Ricardo Zonta to drive the third car in Friday free practice sessions, as well as undertaking test duties alongside Olivier Panis in 2005.


But could Trulli take Zonta’s place in China if the Italian proves rapid in the test session? FIA regulations state a team’s nominated third driver for 2005 must not participate in more than six grands prix during the 2003 and 2004 championships. Zonta, who has stood in for Cristiano da Matta since the Hungarian Grand Prix, will have competed in exactly six rounds by the end of the year. The Brazilian is not in danger of contravening regulations, but will be able to match Trulli?



Toyota team principal Tsutomu Tomita said: “There will be no driver orders at Toyota (next year). Ralf and Jarno will have equal number one status with us. We are also looking forward to Ricardo staying with the team in 2005 as our Friday driver at races. With Ralf, Jarno, Olivier (Panis) and Ricardo, I think Toyota will have one of the strongest driver line-ups in Formula 1 for next season."