A favourite moment of 2004

You just could not help but feel sorry for him. It was Thursday afternoon at Monza and the world was descending on the hot and humid Autodromo in readiness for the Italian Grand Prix

A favourite moment of 2004

With the F1 silly season in full swing, and the Monza paddock always a hotbed of gossip and intrigue, the rumour mill was in full swing - and central to it all was poor Jarno Trulli.

The Italian has never failed to be anything but a gentleman when it came to speaking to the press and even with speculation flying around about his future he still kept his chin held high and answered everything that came his way.

The only trouble now though was that Trulli was still suffering from the throat nodule problem that had dogged his every move since his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. The whispered answers of early June had been replaced by no press calls at all later in the summer, before Trulli first started hand-writing answers for interviews. Only in the early autumn had he come up with an ingenious solution.

As the English speaking media gathered in the Renault motorhome, Trulli came in on time for his 'meet the press' session - and everyone duly sat there in silence as he indicated with his hands that he still had no voice. So how on earth were we going to do this?

Then the shout went out. "Computer? Where's Jarno's computer?" After some frantic running around by Renault's PR staff, as the table continued to sit there in silence, eventually a Sony laptop appeared.

And then the 'grande casino' began. Through a process of sign language and the odd whispered acknowledgement from Jarno, questions would be thrown at him in an orderly manner, before he keyed the answers in himself. Only then could News of the World correspondent Ian Gordon read out Trulli's answers in his finest Welsh accent...

It took about five minutes for each answer to go through the process, leading to lots of uncomfortable silences as everyone sat around politely looking around and trying not to make eye contact with each other and burst out laughing.

By the end of 25 minutes everyone was exhausted - just by the sheer intensity of the drawn-out question-answer process that was easily one of the most bizarre moments of the year.

Trulli deserved more, especially after his fine performance in Monaco earlier that year - and even more so after what happened in the following week to bring his Renault career to an early close.

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