Formula One racing awaits its newest star
Vitantonio Liuzzi is in relaxed mood as he prepares for his first Grand Prix start at Imola this weekend. The Red Bull Racing star has taken victory at the famous circuit before and knows he will have plenty of Italian fans there cheering him on.
Liuzzi served as Red Bulls third driver at the opening three rounds of the season and made an instant impact by topping the years opening session in Melbourne. Now he has the chance to impress on a bigger stage, as he and Christian Klien swap roles for the next three races.
This weekend will be awesome and I am very excited about driving my first grand prix in Italy, said Liuzzi. It will be unbelievable and it will be good to have the support of the crowd, as my home town is only a couple of hours drive away.
I dont feel stressed or under pressure, because Red Bull Racing has always shown confidence and belief in me, and in Christian. I feel excited about my GP debut but Im quite relaxed. The fact that I won here in F3000 last year is another reason to be in a positive frame of mind.
In fact, on his way to last years Formula 3000 title Liuzzi won at all three of the Grand Prix venues he will race at over the coming weeks. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old is well aware that this is no guarantee of success as he steps on to the highest rung of the motorsport ladder.
Although I have been driving on Fridays this year, there will be some new challenges this weekend, he said. I think I will be okay with one lap qualifying, as I have practiced it during tests and I was good at it in karting. I will be the first man out in the Friday qualifying, which means I will have a dirty track and I will just have to do the best I can.
The biggest challenge will be the whole weekend, especially the race itself which is much longer than I was used to in F3000. This is Formula One and I am sure my heart will be beating faster than usual on Sunday afternoon.
While Liuzzi revels in his race debut, team mate Klien will become the first man to take advantage of the revision to the third driver rule allowing more experienced drivers to fill the role. Red Bulls sporting director Christian Horner, who sought and won the support of his rival teams to change the regulation, feels the Austrians knowledge of the RB01 will prove vital at Imola.
I am also pleased that Christian will be driving during Fridays free practice, he said. Continuity is a very important element for a Formula One team, especially as the car development moves forward. To date, only David, Christian and Tonio have driven the RB01 and I must thank all the other teams for their support and the FIA for changing the third driver rule in time for this weekend, so we can continue with our trio of drivers.
Red Bull go into the San Marino Grand Prix with some minor aerodynamic tweaks on the RB01, which has so far earned the team 12 points, putting them an impressive fifth in the standings, two points ahead of Ferrari.