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Jarno Trulli says he was offered Ferrari F1 drive while racing for Toyota

Jarno Trulli has revealed he was offered a seat at the Ferrari team while he was racing for the Toyota team in Formula 1

The veteran Italian is set to be absent from the grid this year after losing his seat at Caterham following a grand prix career that started in 1997 with the Minardi team.

Trulli, a one-time grand prix winner with the Renault team, raced for Toyota from the end of the 2004 season until 2009, when he moved to Lotus, now Caterham.

Speaking in an interview with Autosprint magazine, the Pescaran says former Ferrari boss Jean Todt offered him a seat to drive for the Italian squad, but he turned it down because he had committed to Toyota for the long term.

Trulli did not specify the year in which he was offered the drive, but said he felt like a Ferrari driver briefly.

"Nobody knows this, but at this point I think I can publicly thank Jean Todt for having been one of the few top team managers to consider me during my career. No one knows this, but Todt offered me a seat at Ferrari," Trulli was quoted as saying by Autosprint.

"I won't tell you when exactly: I was racing for Toyota and I was doing very well. But I had signed a rather long contract with the Japanese, and in my career I've always honoured my commitments. In 15 years of F1 I've never needed lawyers.

"I thank Todt not only for having offered me a drive at Ferrari, a chance that unfortunately I couldn't accept, but also for every time I asked for advice and received fine indications with a friendly approach.

"He has always been very honest with me. I've always kept this thing for me, but since today it's thanking time, I've felt like doing that. Regardless how things went, for a moment I felt I was a Ferrari driver."

Toyota is returning to Le Mans this year with an LMP1 programme and Trulli, who said he had a series of offers on the table, admitted he would like to return to the Japanese squad in another series.

"Toyota remains for me unfinished business," he said. "With them I started in a great way, with provisional pole in Japan. In 2005 at the second race I got on the podium, the team's maiden one, and in the first part of the season I was second in the standings behind Alonso.

"However we still lacked that development capability that was achieved later, so we lost ground. In 2009 I did everything in order to win the first race, but for many reasons we didn't manage to. Since I didn't manage to in F1, it would be nice to win a race for them in another series."

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