Trulli: Villeneuve Struggle Proves Me Right

Italian Jarno Trulli believes Jacques Villeneuve's failure to shine at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend proves he was right in his criticism of the Renault car.

Trulli: Villeneuve Struggle Proves Me Right

Italian Jarno Trulli believes Jacques Villeneuve's failure to shine at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend proves he was right in his criticism of the Renault car.

The Italian driver was replaced by former champion Villeneuve, but the Canadian had a disappointing race in China and finished in 11th position after qualifying down in 12th. His teammate Fernando Alonso started sixth and finished in fourth place.

"I must thank Villeneuve for his honesty: he could have said that he drove an exceptional car, but instead he said nothing but what I've been saying for a long time," Trulli told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

"I saw myself in Jacques: a struggling driver with difficulties, even though he was returning in F1 after a long time off and nothing more could be asked of him," added Trulli, who had failed to score since the French Grand Prix in July.

Renault lost out to rivals BAR in China, the Honda-powered team moving nine points clear in the standings in the battle for second place behind champions Ferrari. Trulli said he will not feel responsible if Renault fail to finish as runner-up.

"I have no responsibility if the second place in the Constructors' Championship is now difficult for them to obtain," added the Italian, who will drive for the Toyota team in 2005, although he could make his racing debut with the Japanese squad next week at Suzuka.

"At the moment we are not talking about it," Trulli, testing at Jerez this week, said. "First we concentrate on this three-day test, then we'll see. The car is better than I thought, even if there are obviously things that must be improved. But we knew that already."

Villeneuve was called to replace Trulli after he left Renault three rounds before the end of the season following an open falling out with team boss and compatriot Flavio Briatore, who accused him of having his mind elsewhere.

Villeneuve will replace Renault-bound Giancarlo Fisichella at the Sauber team next year. However, Renault team manager Briatore revealed that he actually wanted to swap Villeneuve for Fisichella right away, but that Sauber turned down the offer.

"I proposed to Peter Sauber to hire Jacques straight away and to leave Giancarlo to me," said Briatore. "We would have both taken advantage of it, by letting the drivers get settled in the teams where they'll work next year."

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