Van der Garde keeps Trulli rumors bubbling UPDATE
(GMM) Giedo van der Garde is set to return to the track with Caterham during the forthcoming Barcelona tests, reigniting speculation about Jarno Trulli's future with the former Lotus team.
|Giedo van der Garde|
After the sponsor-backed Dutch GP2 driver was signed on as 2012 reserve driver, he was also drafted into the Jerez test lineup at short notice, bumping Italian veteran Trulli from Thursday's running.
And France's Auto Hebdo quotes the 26-year-old as revealing he expects to return to the wheel soon.
"It was not easy for me to fully exploit the new tires and brakes, but it will be better at the next test.
"The team is happy with my performance. I hope to do another test before the season starts," van der Garde said.
Also reportedly in the running at Caterham is the Renault refugee and Russian-backed Vitaly Petrov, with Sport Bild claiming Trulli's 2012 place is "probably not safe".
"For now I'm safe," Trulli was quoted on Monday by the Italian website Stop and Go.
Also perhaps feeling nervous at present is Marussia's new signing Charles Pic, who according to Dutch website f1today.nl is grappling with "sponsorship and payment problems".
The former Virgin team denied the reports.
"I want to prove to everyone that I have the talent to succeed in F1," he is quoted by French language RMC Sport.
"Timo (Glock) has a lot of experience and has been on the podium -- my goal is to learn from him and try to beat him as soon as possible," added Pic.
02/13/12 (GMM) F1's Italian contingent is clinging to small comforts ahead of the 2012 season.
|Jarno Trulli in Jerez with his new 'gruff' look|
With Italy once occupying grand chunks of the grid, veteran Jarno Trulli is now the last Italian driver in formula one.
And according to persistent speculation in the Jerez paddock last week, his seat at Caterham could be snapped up at the last minute by Vitaly Petrov, who is waiting on his Russian sponsors to green-light the deal.
But a report in Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport said Saturday was a small piece of good news for Trulli, 37.
With the bulk of the F1 world leaving Jerez after Friday's running, Caterham stuck around for an additional day of exclusive track use for filming purposes.
The result of the filming will be used by Caterham's marketing and promotional material throughout 2012.
Trulli was there, the report revealed.
"It is good news because it could mean that the seat of the driver from Pescara is safe, thus ensuring at least one Italian driver in the championship," said La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Although teammate Heikki Kovalainen enjoyed two days at the wheel of the new CT01 compared to Trulli's single run last Friday, the Italian said his first impression is that the car is a "definite progression" on last year.
"The power steering is good -- we can keep fine tuning it, but I think it's basically a good package with a lot of potential for us to work on," said Trulli.