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Exclusive - Vettel and Liuzzi on 2007 09 Nov 2007

Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso celebrate a double points finish. Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday 7 October 2007. World © Sutton Toro Rosso STR02 detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 4 October 2007 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso and Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 20 October 2007 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 20 October 2007 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR2.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 20 October 2007

Sebastian Vettel started the season a BMW Sauber tester and ended it as Toro Rosso’s highest-scoring driver yet. In between, he experienced a rollercoaster ride, from the excitement of clinching a first championship point at Indianapolis, to the despair of colliding with Red Bull’s Mark Webber in Japan.

Similarly mixed emotions clouded Vitantonio Liuzzi’s second year at Toro Rosso. In 17 races, the Italian suffered seven retirements, welcomed a new team mate, found out he would not be re-signed for 2008 and scored his best-ever result. Here Liuzzi and Vettel assess their seasons and consider their future prospects…

Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber (United States Grand Prix) and Toro Rosso (Hungary onwards)
Championship position: 14th (6 points)
Best race result: 4th (x1), Best qualifying: 7th (x1)

“This was an unexpected season for me and a very pleasant surprise. I began the year as a test driver for BMW Sauber and with the new rules regarding testing, I actually did not get much time in the cockpit as the designated race drivers wanted to do as much as possible themselves. Then came Robert Kubica’s big accident in Canada and as the doctors decided he should rest for a race, I got the call to make my F1 race debut at Indianapolis.

“It was a momentous weekend, especially given the history behind the circuit there and the huge crowd. It went very well for me as I qualified seventh and finished eighth, scoring my first-ever point on my debut. Then, for the next three races I was back on the substitute bench until I got the call from Scuderia Toro Rosso.

“My first race with my new team was in Hungary and I had no testing before getting in the car. In fact, because of the summer testing rule, I did not get to test until before the Italian Grand Prix. Our package did improve allowing us to be competitive in the final stages of the season when I went through mixed emotions. Colliding with Mark Webber when it looked as though we could have both been on the podium in Fuji was really heartbreaking, but one week later, I finished fourth in Shanghai to record my best-ever finish. It was a wonderful moment. Now I can’t wait to tackle my first complete season in F1 next year.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso
Championship position: 18th (3 points)
Best race result: 6th (x1), Best qualifying: 11th (x1)

“My second season with Scuderia Toro Rosso has been a tough one with a lot of reliability problems, especially in the mid season. But towards the end of the year, the reliability improved and I was able to remind people of my abilities. The last three races brought conflicting feelings as I had a strong race in Japan to pick up a point for eighth, which looked like being the team’s first of the year, but then we lost it in the courts.

“Then just a few days later came the Chinese Grand Prix and my best-ever result, a sixth place. I was so happy to be able to do this, not just for myself but for all the guys in the garage and the factory who have worked so hard with me for the past two years. We were a good fit - me an Italian driver and them an Italian team, but sadly that is over now. As we speak I don’t know where my future lies, but I hope it is in F1, if only because it would be nice to see all my Toro Rosso crew again next year.”