Team Lotus has announced today that it has extended Italian driver Jarno Trulli‘s contract to the end of the 2012 season.
This extension means that Trulli, 37, will continue at the Anglo-Asian outfit for a third season, having joined the team before its first race in March 2010.
The Italian was replaced by reserve driver Karun Chandhok at the German Grand Prix in July, which led to speculation that he may be heading towards retirement. Instead, Trulli will be competing next year in his sixteenth season as an F1 driver.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to confirm today that my contract with Team Lotus has been extended into 2012,” said Trulli. “The challenge I first accepted when I joined the team is becoming more exciting every day, and I am very proud that I can keep helping the team take steps forward for at least another year. I would like to thank Tony, Kamarudin and Nasa for the chance to keep working with them, Riad, Mike and the whole team and I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead.”
Team Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes said that Trulli, who has out-qualified team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for today’s Italian Grand Prix, has been very useful to the team as they continue to chase the established players in the sport.
“We are all delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement to keep Jarno on board for at least one more year with our team,” said Fernandes. “He has shown in qualifying in Monza just how much pace he has and how he can wring every last drop of performance out of his car and since day one with us he has brought a level of professionalism, insight and raw speed to our team that has helped accelerate our development on and off track. Today's announcement will give us the benefit of his experience and knowledge into 2012, another very important year in the growth of our team.”
It is though that Kovalainen will also remain with the team for 2012, although this is yet to be confirmed.