SEPANG, Malaysia, April 7, 2011 (AFP) - Veteran Formula One driver Jarno Trulli says he was surprised by the performance of the new-for-2011 Pirelli tyres at the opening race of the season in Melbourne two weeks ago.
Jarno and Heikki visiting a school in Malaysia
The Lotus driver said he was pleased with the endurance of the rubber -- after extensive winter testing had led everyone to believe that the tyres would wear down a lot more quickly.
The Italian suggested that drivers were "shocked" by how different the tyres were than expected. "The most important thing to be said is that every result this weekend, whether positive or negative, has a common cause: the Pirelli tyres," Trulli wrote in the Repubblica newspaper.
"They've left us all shocked. I don't mean they were better or worse than we had expected, I mean that they were completely different: it's as if they have been changed since the last tests in Barcelona."
Although many fans were hoping that more pit stops would add more excitement to the races, Trulli admitted on Thursday that he was actually pleased with the new tyres. "I think that came from a completely wrong translation because I see Pirelli did a good job in Australia, there wasn't degradation - one driver did a one-stop strategy!" he said.
Trulli added that nobody knew quite what to expect from the new rubber -- some drivers even struggled to warm up their tyres.He said Pirelli were adjusting the tyres to get the best performance and there was still room for improvement.