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SEPTEMBER 12, 2004

The end for Trulli and Renault?

Jarno Trulli had a second consecutive lacklustre race for Renault and while the Italian driver blames the car and the team blame the driver, it is clear that if Renault wants to compete with BAR it needs to do something dramatic as BAR has now moved into second place in the Constructors' Championship. Our sources suggest that the most likely course of action is for Trulli to be paid off and for Renault to look for another driver to finish the second because of the breakdown in the relationship after the team's odd decision to ditch the Italian, who has won the team's only victory this year.

The big problem for Renault is that it is not clear who would be the best choice as a replacement. The team has test driver Franck Montagny but he has never raced an F1 car and there is no guarantee that he could score points. Another option would be to get the 2003 test driver Allan McNish back in the car while the team might make a radical step and go for a big risk and a massive publicity coup and go for Jacques Villeneuve, who has everything to gain from making a big impression and would be delighted to be seen in a Renault. Such a move would also keep the French press happy as the team would obviously come in for criticism if it did not take Montagny.

Whatever the case, if there is going to be a change there needs to be rapid action so that any possible replacement can get into the car and do some testing this week. There might be a shuffle with Fisichella switching early to Renault and Villeneuve (or another driver) getting into the Sauber. Peter Sauber would probably not be interested in that but a little financial sweetening would probably help to convince him.

Whatever the case we do not expect to see Trulli in China.