Jarno Trulli has admitted he is surprised his old F1 teammate Fernando Alonso did not make his five-year Ferrari marriage work.
Alonso, who was paired with Italian Trulli at Renault a decade ago, has split with Ferrari and is expected to move to McLaren-Honda for 2015 and beyond.
“It’s hard to grasp that it did not work for Fernando,” Italian Trulli, in Malaysia for the second round of the new Formula E series, told the Spanish news agency EFE.
“I think something happened like what happened to me, which is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
What is obvious is that Alonso’s growing frustration with Ferrari was accelerated earlier this year with the arrival of Marco Mattiacci as team boss.
When asked about Alonso’s exit, Mattiacci said in Abu Dhabi that Ferrari needs to “open new cycles but it was important to do it with the utmost motivation and commitment”.
Referring to the official news about his departure, Alonso is quoted by Finland’s MTV3 broadcaster: “I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone, and I believe that where I am going will also be no surprise.”
The identity of Alonso’s successor was also no surprise, as Sebastian Vettel has struggled in 2014 at Red Bull against his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, who groomed Vettel from boyhood to F1 stardom, said: “There’s more to it than just to say ‘Sebastian ran away at the first opportunity’.
“In the February tests we were four seconds off (the pace). And from the first kilometres Sebastian didn’t like the new regulations or the new car,” he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
“The fact that he suddenly needs five engineers to adjust his brakes is not what he wants — the cars have become too complex, and the potential from the drivers too low.”
Marko said those circumstances pushed Vettel, the reigning quadruple world champion, into needing a new challenge, and then came the latest huge-money offer from Ferrari.
“At Red Bull his salary was strongly performance-related,” Marko said, agreeing that Australian Ricciardo’s form also “irritated” Vettel.
“Anyway,” Marko concluded, “we never believed that Sebastian would stay with us, and in the end the timing is perfect.” (GMM)