Jarno Trulli has given the strongest hint yet that he expects to be retained by Lotus Racing – or whatever it lands up being called – for the 2011 season.

The one-time Grand Prix winner, 36, recently dismissed speculation that he was considering a switch to NASCAR racing next year, but speculation linking other drivers Jarno Trulliwith his seat has not yet gone away.

Since joining Lotus after Toyota’s withdrawal from Formula 1 at the end of 2009, the Italian has had a difficult baptism with the new outfit in 2010, bearing the brunt of the team’s mechanical issues and being (at times) rather more vocal in his frustrations, while team-mate Heikki Kovalainen has rather more quietly got on with the job at hand.

Trulli’s Finnish team-mate looks a certainty to be retained by Lotus Racing next year, with rumours claiming that a contract extension has been all but signed.

But Trulli, in an interview with BBC Radio Norfolk, believes he will be staying on.

“I’ll go to the factory in a few days to get ready and prepare the 2011 season chassis, cockpit and seat,” he told the radio station.

“Some performances [in 2010] have been pretty bad compared to what I was used to,” he admitted, referring to the more successful stints he enjoyed with Renault and Toyota when compared with Lotus Racing.

“But nevertheless I have always tried to get the best out of myself and the car, I’ve still enjoyed a lot of good fights,” he added.

Lotus Racing – while currently embroiled in a naming rights dispute with Lotus Cars that could see the outfit forced to change its name for the 2011 season – looks set to have an improved second season, with recent announcements that it has secured the use of Renault engines for the 2011 season, as well as the use of Red Bull Racing’s transmission units.

[Original image via LAT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.