JANUARY 9, 2015
Alonso to struggle at McLaren in 2015 according to Trulli
Fernando Alonso's former teammate doubts the Spaniard's high-profile switch from Ferrari to McLaren will result in instant success.
But Jarno Trulli, who was Alonso's teammate at Renault over a decade ago, does think the end of the five-year partnership with Ferrari was inevitable.
"I think after five years of marriage with Ferrari, when it did not result in a world championship, which is what Fernando expected, it is normal that the end came," the 40-year-old Italian said.
"For both sides. For Fernando and for Ferrari, who both want to win races and titles," said Trulli.
A former Monaco winner, Trulli was speaking to Spain's EFE news agency from Buenos Aires, where as a team owner and driver he is preparing for the next Formula E race.
"It was the natural end of a relationship," he added, referring again to Alonso's Ferrari split.
"But now Fernando is at McLaren and, unfortunately, it doesn't look to be a better option for Alonso than Ferrari. At the moment, there is nowhere better to be if not at Mercedes.
"There are very few options, because the quality of formula one has suffered a dramatic decline in performance. There are only a few teams that can afford to develop engines and cars, because budgets are very high and the economic situation is not helping.
"That leaves you with very few options, and that's the situation Fernando is in now.
"It is a difficult situation," Trulli explained, "and hard to accept, even for him, because he obviously wants to fight for victory. But I think it's going to be another tough season this year with McLaren.
"I don't wish that for him, but it does not look good."
Trulli admitted that the political situation for McLaren's new works engine supplier Honda, who have been left out of the controversial development 'unfreeze', is yet another problem.
"For now," said the former Toyota driver, "I think the only good thing is that Fernando is going to be paid well. But on the technical side, I do not see McLaren being able to match the two or three best teams."
But one positive for Alonso, Trulli explained, is that he will likely not overly regret his decision to leave Ferrari.
"It has been difficult times for them (Ferrari)," he said, "changing people, taking wrong decisions. They did not benefit from the rule changes and lag behind technically, and - until recently - also politically.
"Now at least they succeeded politically with opening the engine freeze, but the main problem is that they need to turn the technical side around completely.
"You don't do that in a day. Not even in a year -- it takes a long time."
Trulli therefore tips Mercedes to dominate yet again in 2015.
"They have an enormous advantage," he said, "and the others are not going to catch up yet because I think last year they (Mercedes) still had something in their sleeve."