The announcement of Jarno Trulli’s immediate departure from Renault has added weight to reports that Jacques Villeneuve, who will test for the French team at Silverstone on Wednesday, will make his F1 comeback in China. But what will happen to the Italian driver?

The announcement of Jarno Trulli’s immediate departure from Renault has added weight to reports that Jacques Villeneuve, who will test for the French team at Silverstone on Wednesday, will make his F1 comeback in China. But what will happen to the Italian driver?


Renault F1 team and Trulli announced that the Italian driver had been released from his obligations to the team with immediate effect. Trulli's early departure followed a mutual agreement that this course of action was in the best interests of both parties.


"Once again, we would like to thank Jarno for his contribution to the team over the past three years," said Renault boss Flavio Briatore. "The team and Jarno feel that an early separation will allow both parties to conclude the year in the most positive way."


Trulli added, "I am grateful to the team for releasing me from my obligations, which will give me the opportunity to start with my new team sooner than expected."


The “new team” Trulli referred to is widely believed to be Toyota, which has been using test driver Ricardo Zonta as a stand-in for the recently dismissed CART star Cristiano da Matta. Does this mean that Trulli might replace Zonta at the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix?


That remains to be seen, as Toyota has surprisingly not made a formal announcement about Trulli’s recruitment. However, Villeneuve, who conducted a seat-fitting at the team's Enstone base on Tuesday, and has begun acclimatising himself to the Renault R24 ahead of a test session at Silverstone, is expected to replace Trulli for the rest of the season if he performs adequately on Wednesday and Thursday.


Renault's Briatore said: "We have reached an agreement for Jacques to test for the team at Silverstone on Wednesday and Thursday. This test might lead to Jacques joining the team for the final three races of the season beginning next week at the Chinese Grand Prix."


Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher made a very successful return behind the wheel of his Williams FW26 by setting the fastest time of the day at Silverstone on Tuesday afternoon.


“I couldn’t be happier with the test," said Ralf. "The most important thing was that I had no back pain at all, which helped me feel confident and push hard. Finishing the quickest made me feel very positive and I am also delighted with how the car has progressed since the middle of the season. I got up to speed very quickly and I was pleased to find what I could get out of the car’s developments.”


Schumacher finished in front of Alex Wurz (McLaren) in second position and Anthony Davidson (BAR Honda) in third place. Some drivers were not able to achieve competitive lap times because of the intermittent rain falling on the British circuit.