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A two sided Friday 17th ... there will not be an Italian driver in the Formula 1 World Championship field

Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli


Maranello, 17 February

Friday 17th is considered an unlucky date in Italy by some, but for cat lovers, the opposite is true as today has been deemed the day of the cat. But there is definitely not much to cheer about if you are a supporter of Italian motor sport, because today, the last of the country’s representatives among the drivers entered for the Formula 1 World Championship found his name removed from the list. Jarno Trulli has been let go by Caterham to make way for Vitaly Petrov. However, it’s an important day for two youngsters at the Ferrari Driver Academy, with the news that Raffaele Marciello and Brandon Maisano will race in 2012 in two major championships with the Prema team: Raffaele makes his debut in the Formula 3 Euro Series, while Brandon will tackle his second year in the Italian version of the same category.

“I am very sad that, after so many years (it has not happened since 1969, Ed.) there will not be an Italian driver in the Formula 1 World Championship field,” said Stefano Domenicali. “I say this on the sporting front and on a personal level when it comes to Jarno, who only on a few occasions has had a car capable of showing off his talents. So here, I wish him all the best for the future, both in racing and away from the track. It’s a difficult moment for our sport, partly for external reasons. For a few years now, Ferrari through its Driver Academy, has established a long term plan to create a new generation of young drivers, which works also in collaboration with the CSAI and I am pleased to see that just now, we can announce that two talented youngsters, Raffaele and Brandon, will be given a great opportunity to progress in the sport.”

Among the group of drivers available to the Scuderia for racing and promotional activitiy, there are three Italians born and bred, in the shape of Andrea Bertolini, Giancarlo Fisichella and Davide Rigon, while Jules Bianchi has obvious Italian roots and will be able to make himself known this year in his role as reserve driver for Force India, as well as by racing in the World Series by Renault.