Jarno Trulli says he is confident his seat at Caterham is safe going into the 2012 Formula 1 season, despite ongoing uncertainty over his position.
Vitaly Petrov was linked with Trulli's drive during the winter, with the team known to have held discussions with funded drivers. Caterham's new reserve Giedo van der Garde has also been rumored to be a candidate for Trulli's race seat. The Dutchman tested the new Caterham CT01 at Jerez last week, the day before Trulli's first run in the car. But asked if he would be racing in F1 this year, Trulli replied: "We are safe, yes."
He acknowledged that economic considerations might play a part in Caterham's driver decisions at some point, but said he had no indication so far that he was in jeopardy.
"I do understand the position of some teams and that, unfortunately, economically we are going through a very tough time worldwide and there are some teams that are running into trouble," Trulli said. "I don't know the real situation of the teams but I do know that they have to look for sponsors and paying drivers, so, at the moment, all I can say is I am contracted with the team and I will be testing.
"If something different happens, I hope that someone from the team comes and talks to me earlier, but so far we never had a talk about it through the winter."
Trulli played down the significance of van der Garde trying the car before him.
"At the last moment they signed van der Garde and it is important for the team to have a third driver with a bit of experience, so they let him drive," Trulli said. "He did a reasonably good job in mileage and from there we will start programming the next few tests, because I was scheduled to drive at the beginning."