Trulli signs for Benetton

AS has long been in the pipeline, Jarno Trulli will team up with his mentor Flavio Briatore at the Renault Sport team - currently Benetton - in 2002.

"I am delighted that Jarno will be driving for us next year," Briatore announced. "We all know how motivated and competitive Jarno is and I am sure he will be a major asset for the team. Jarno hasn't been able to show his full potential until now but I believe that our ambitious program for the future will give a great boost to his career."

It is believed that Trulli commands a far lower fee in the region of $3 million a year, whereas Fisichella's year-on-year pay rises have taken his salary towards the $8 million mark for performances not vastly different to those of Trulli.

"I would like to thank Giancarlo Fisichella for the excellent job he has done during the four years he has spent with the team," Briatore said, after panning the Italian for a lack of competitive edge in 2000. "He is a fast driver and a good team player and I wish him all the best for his future."

Trulli has become increasingly frustrated at the Jordan team's inability to convert his qualifying pace into points finishes, openly wondering what 'Eddie Jordan does with his money,' and is delighted to have the might of Renault - which powered Williams and Benetton to seven drivers' championships in the 1990s - behind his efforts.

"I feel very happy and honored that a big team with a winning history and an innovative technical program has chosen to invest in me," the Italian said. "With Renault, I know I will be rapidly able to compete amongst the best and I sincerely hope to contribute to their ultimate success."

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