sport

Italian absence upsets Domenicali

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is sad there will be no Italian driver in Formula One this season for the first time in 40 years.

That follows Caterham's decision today to axe 37-year-old veteran Jarno Trulli in favour of Vitaly Petrov just four weeks prior to the start of the new season.

The move has brought to an end Trulli's 15-season F1 career in which he made 251 grand prix starts.

Speaking on Ferrari's website, Domenicali said: "I am very sad that after so many years there will not be an Italian driver in the Formula One world championship field.

"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."

Domenicali, however, appreciates the current economic climate and Caterham's desire to offer Russian Petrov a seat given the opportunities for sponsorship from his homeland.

Domenicali added: "It's a difficult moment for our sport, partly for external reasons."

Rubens Barrichello is another F1 veteran who recently lost his drive with Williams, with younger Brazilian Bruno Senna taking up the seat, partly due to the sponsorship he brings with him.

Speaking on his Twitter account, Barrichello said: "Sad to see Trulli won't be on the 2012 grid...money is dominating everything."

Luca Filippi, runner-up in last year's GP2 championship, outlined the state of the Italian economy as he is without a drive this year for financial reasons.

"Sad day for Italian motor sport," said Filippi.

"From being the most represented country in F1, to this year we are just going to be spectators.

"We all knew this day was going to come. Nobody did anything about it, probably nobody cares about it. Sad, sad day."