Toyota unlikely to retain Trulli

Toyota team president John Howett says the Japanese squad is unlikely to renew Jarno Trulli's contract after not reaching an agreement following initial talks

Toyota unlikely to retain Trulli

"We are in negotiation (with Trulli) and we haven't reached an agreement and there is a possibility that we won't close the gap," Howett told Reuters after qualifying for the European Grand Prix.

"At the moment the gap is reasonably large. We have to say there is a very strong probability not (to renew)."

Howett, whose team has an option on Timo Glock, made it clear that Toyota is ready to wait for the driver market to move before making any decisions.

"To be honest it looks like the driver market will be opened up quite significantly," he said.

"It was said by three or four teams in the press conference and we are waiting to see if the rumours are correct of Alonso [to Ferrari] and how that affects the current line-up, and what the position will be for the BMW drivers, etc, everybody will wait to see and we will see quite a lot of movement."

Trulli said after qualifying in Valencia that money was not an issue in the negotiations, although at the same time he suggested the team was looking at cutting costs.

"Money has never been an issue," he said. "I understand the position of the team, on many things. At the moment there is a lot of cost-cutting.

"I do believe the driver has to play his role in this and I am more than happy to... for me this is not only a team but a family. So I understand that we need to save the team and save the people who work in it."

"So a cut in the budget and, let's say a cut in my budget, this is not a problem. I need to understand what the team wants."

When asked if the number of drivers available made things harder for him, he said: "It depends what the Toyota team wants to do. It is not really in my hands. All I can do is my best, which is what I have always done.

"The rest I think we can always talk with the team and understand what they want, because eventually maybe they are not happy about me, I have no idea. I don't know. We didn't talk about money."

The Italian veteran also dismissed suggestions that the key to the market was Fernando Alonso's rumoured move to Ferrari.

"I don't think Fernando is the key," he said. "I think that the teams in general are looking at the economics problem. They are all waiting to understand what they can do for next year, what their budgets are, whether they will make a move. At the moment it is hard."

Trulli still admitted he remains hopeful he will be in Formula 1 next year.

"I hope so, but in confident in this economic crisis... nothing is sure. If you look back over the last year it is a disaster. Honda has pulled out, BMW has pulled out, and probably they will not be the only one."

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