"Formula One without Italian drivers is a shame. I'm sorry but the problem is not mine: others must take responsibility for this impoverishment, for a situation that in fact did not start yesterday and that people have not woken up to.
"In Italy there's no system to help drivers reach a high level, so it's normal that we reach a situation like this. There are talents, but if nobody supports them, there's no hope."
These are the views of Jarno Trulli, who abruptly bowed out of Formula One in February, after 14 years in the sport. Caterham's decision to dissolve their relationship with the Italian was significant, not because it effectively ended the career of a man who devoted so much of his life to motorsport, but because, for the first time since 1969, 'motorsport-mad' Italy would not have a representative on the paddock.
The timing of the downfall could not have come at a more awkward period. Italy's precarious financial position is a cause for hostility, and while it's motoring industry may not feel the pinch as much, more and more young drivers will no doubt lose out on financial support which simply isn't there anymore.
It is perhaps only coincidental that this difficult period overlaps with a renaissance of French representation in Formula One. For over a decade French F1 drivers have been few and far between, with the most recent gallic racers being Romain Grosjean and the vastly inexperienced Sebastien Bourdais (although the colourful Frank Montagny had a brief stint in 2006, but his heart was probably in his Barcelona-based hair salon, more than his racing).
A year ago, the French influence in Formula One was seemingly dead. Gone were the days of the 'Professor' Alain Prost dominating the grid, days when Jean-Marie Ballestre was the most powerful man in the sport and the days of a traditionally French circuit on the race calendar.
Fast-forward twelve months though and all of a sudden we see three French drivers on the grid, a feat unmatched since 1999 and a potential fourth if Jules Bianchi manages to switch reserve duties for a full drive at Force India.
But what has inspired this sudden turnaround in fortunes? Part of it boils down to driver development programmes, such as those at Red Bull and Ferrari, but in particular with France it can be traced to more wider reform.
Over the past six years, the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile have worked to ensure that young French drivers are given a motoring education, providing them with the support they need to progress through a programme called 'Equipe de France'.
'Equipe de France' is essentially a unique programme which facilitates the careers of emerging talent in all forms of motorsport and see's the FFSA act as a bridge to professional racing. In F1 circles, it's alignment with the Red Bull Junior Team gives talented French drivers the chance to work towards something tangible, instead of floating around in a cloud of uncertainty.
The close links of the 'Equipe de France' and the Red Bull Junior Team are now starting to bear fruit, with Jean-Eric Vergne a prime example of that partnership in synergy.
While Vergne no doubt puts in the hard yards required to secure his seat with Toro Rosso, he magnanimously gave a lot of thanks to the system which produced him. “The FFSA has a good programme that started maybe five or six years ago when they took me out of karting. Thanks to them, I went from karting to single seaters and I got the Red Bull deal as well...they followed me to F1 and they are doing this with other drivers."
Vergne isn't alone though. Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi and briefly Romain Grosjean have all experienced this system, with all working to establish themselves in F1 this season.
The work of the FFSA is not necessarily ground-breaking, but it is progressive, something Italy and even Great Britain fail to show. Young drivers are taught under the supervision of Jean Alesi and Yvan Muller and are then integrated into the eventual Equipe de France de Circuits team, by way of karting and French F4 championships, all organised by the FFSA Auto Sport Academy.
Ultimately it is a system which needed to be created and has set a blue-print of how to centrally ensure that motorsport remains rich in the veins of France. It is not necessarily a simple solution to a potential problem, but it is effective. While fingers may be pointed at the big Italian manufacturers asking what they are going to do, sadly the blame rests closer to home
Now is the time for a revolution, and as the French have proved, this one doesn't need to be bloody.